The last piece of the GWS puzzle is now in place, perhaps the piece that will leave the most lasting legacy.
Jumper designs, club captains, coaches, home grounds – all of these things can come and go – but a club song will be there forever.
GWS has broken with the trend of new teams who often seek out modern sounding songs, and deliberately chosen a song with a sound that has its roots in the past.
The composer of the song, Harry Angus, of the jazzy The Cat Empire makes the important point that a club song has to sound “timeless”, something you cannot get by using a modern sound.
He goes on to talk about the uniquely Australian music genre that is the footy club song, and it’s important to fit into that genre, to have respect for it.
The song’s lyrics open with: “Well there’s a big, big sound…” which is matched by a very big, big band sound, with fat horns that give it an almost burlesque feel.
Harry Angus has succeeded in creating a unique sound and melody that fits in well with the tradition of club songs, although it has to be said that the song takes some getting used to.
The traditional clubs songs that we are all familiar with are generally based on marching band or Broadway songs that all have that unique attribute of inviting large numbers of people to sing along.
The new clubs, starting with the Eagles, and including Freo and Port, tried to introduce a modern sound, but as Harry Angus says, they never quite sound right, and they have no longevity to them.
Adelaide ended up changing their original club song to the more traditional sounding “pride of South Australia”, coincidentally, on the eve of their first premiership, and it was the right move.
Outside of the AFL, the Brumbies have a fantastic club song based on “Click go the shears”, and it too wins in that it’s timeless and it can be sung by large groups of people.
Going back to GWS, I think they have made a good choice with Harry Angus’ composition, but it might take a while for us to get used to it, primarily because we’re unlikely to hear it played for some time to come.