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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 16:55 GMT
When snooker went loopy
By BBC Sport Online's Mark Ashenden
Snooker might be getting popular again, but the 1980s will be remembered by many as the time when everybody was barmy about the game.
In fact, the world was positively snooker loopy and BBC Sport Online caught up with one half of England's music combo Chas 'n' Dave, creator of one of sport's greatest anthems.
London's top pop duo are responsible for classics such as 'Gertcha' and 'Rabbit', and when Barry Hearn, boss of the Matchroom stable of snooker players, approached them with the idea of a song they jumped at the opportunity.
"We spoke to Barry and wanted to find out the personalities and idiosyncrasies of the players involved in the song," Chas Hodges explained with glee, only too happy to recall his memories of the baize from 1986.
"He told us about Tony Meo and how he always cried, whether he won or lost.
"We got the boys in the studio to sing their lines and we wrote the verses around that.
"There was gentle micky-taking. Willie Thorne was on the receiving end considering his hair had all gone."
Simon and Garfunkel may not have been shaking in their composing boots, wary of the scribing genius such as "How was I to know you'd bend my ear'oles too, with you're incessant talking, you're becoming a pest, rabbit, rabbit", but Chas explained how the tune for the snooker song had evolved.
"My brother-in-law liked his snooker, so his knowledge of the rules helped with some of the words," Chas said as he broke into verse.
"Pot the red and screw back....."
"When we were writing the song we had a few different tempos, but I just felt that this was a song to be sung by the seven dwarfs."
A magical music moment then arose as Chas broke into song again. Five seconds of uninterrupted dwarf-type singing was a moment to behold.
"Hey-ho, hey-ho, it's off to work we go............."
I was truly at the epicentre of 'show biz' journalism to have found out the song, one so popular as snooker loopy, was born out of a singing animated dwarf. The single was an instant success.
"My 11-year-old son came back from school to say 'all the kids are singing it in the playground - they are all singing it," Chas said, revealing that he knew then that the song would be a hit.
"The video was shot with the Matchroom boys at Romford and they applied themselves very professionally. It was out and out fun and a real laugh with the lads."
And if you think you have seen the last of Chas 'n' Dave, apart from re-runs of Top of the Pops and archived snooker TV moments, then think again.
After 28 years of success in the UK, the musical talents of Chas 'n' Dave have finally been realised over the Atlantic.
A greatest hits album has been released and more recently a single called Flying has seized America by storm.
"We have had access to 300 radio stations from LA to New York," Chas enthused about his new found fame.
"It's nice to know the people who have heard it are ordering it by the barrel load.
"We have always done novelty songs and some love songs, but the Americans, being more broad-minded perhaps, have really picked up on the ballad."
The song is a regular request for American funerals, Chas 'n' Dave's agent assured me.
The schedule leading up to Christmas is hectic with a host of universities ready to witness the antics of the ageless stars, although Chas described the downside of such gigs was that any knickers thrown at them were coming from the older members of the audience.
The single "You are never too old to rock n roll" is soon to be released in the UK.
On this evidence, who can argue with that?
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