Mackem melodies: nine of the most memorable songs with Wearside roots

Eurythmics star Dave Stewart does of course appear in our list. But there are one or two others who might surprise you.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 12:55 pm
Dave Stewart, Bobby Knoxall, the Toy Dolls and the Clash have all played their part.
Dave Stewart, Bobby Knoxall, the Toy Dolls and the Clash have all played their part.

Folk, rock, trip-hop, punk, novelty songs and even symphonies. One way or another, Sunderland has inspired or created some memorable music; even if it wasn’t always memorable for the best of reasons. Here are nine of them, in no particular order.

The Lambton Worm, seen here devouring 17 year-old Jackie Wood in 1978, was a terrifying giant invertebrate who lived partly on human flesh. Remarkably the song was written in 1867, long before the information could be gathered from Facebook.
Topping the Indie charts in 2008, this classic uplifting rocker is worth listening to for its intro alone. It was used to inspire the team as they ran out at the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately it transpired that no song is THAT good.

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Janie Jones was born in Seaham in 1941. She was a singer, but is best known as a London madam and for hosting very interesting parties in the 1970s.
Sunderland foursome A Tribe of Toffs had a 1988 hit with this cheerfully barking ditty about a BBC weather forecaster. Lyrical highlights include: 'Ayrton Senna's got the voice of a tenor; Peter Snow sings very low.'
Electronic band Olive, fronted by Sunderland singer and former Ivy House barmaid Ruth Anne-Boyle, were the toast of Britain when this trip-hop classic knocked Gary Barlow's lamentable 'Love Won't Wait' from the number one spot.
Although best known as the genius who was probably history's greatest astronomer, William Herschel was also a composer who produced six symphonies while living in Sunderland in the 1760s. We've no idea how any of them go, but never tire of reminding people of the fact.
The Toy Dolls are probably best remembered for their unabashed silliness. So you may be surprised to hear this moving depiction of a homeless man who was a familiar sight in Sunderland's bus station in the 1980s. The video was filmed at Penshaw Monument.
Recorded by comedian Bobby Knoxall, seen left with BBC presenter Jeff Brown. There was no escaping it on Wearside in 1973. Sunderland won the FA Cup as predicted in the lyrics. But the line: 'If you go to Roker Park you will see the skill; Of all the players playing when they crush the teams ten-nil' remains unfulfilled.
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox wrote this synth pop classic and global hit. It sounds like the last word in glossy 1980s sophistication; until you see that the video was shot in a cow field.