Red Rum Club march to tune of Aintree great
If a band have played on BBC Radio 2 then they have made it in my book, and racing fans may have pricked their ears recently whenever Eleanor has been played; not just because it is a catchy number, but because it is sung by Red Rum Club.
The band, whose music is “Indie/pop/Americana with a bit of a Mexican thing going on” has something in common with the Beatles, other than singing about someone called Eleanor – they are six lads from
Liverpool. But it is the name which interests us.
They all went to school together and formed a band aged 16 so, according to lead singer Fran Doran, they could play in pubs and “get free beer and attract girls”. But things have moved on and 10 years later they are in the charts.
For some time they had no name, but Red Rum Club came about during a spell of writing dark songs. Advised to watch a dark film, they picked The Shining.
There is a famous scene in which the child, Danny Torrance, with a kitchen knife in his hand, chants “Red rum” in his mother’s bedroom, before writing it in lipstick on the door. (The film was made in 1980, so it clearly was not a tip for that year’s Grand National.)
It is my nine-year-old daughter’s favourite fact about Red Rum that, as Mrs Torrance discovers when she wakes up, seen backwards in a mirror it spells murder.
Fast forward a couple of years and at one of Red Rum Club’s gigs is Carmel Wilson, wife of George
Wilson, who is the top exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist at Liverpool John Moores University and the go-to expert in those fields for jockeys. Indeed, he is the man to whom Jim Crowley went and said if he could lose 7lb he would be champion jockey.
Wilson replied that not only could he help him do that, but that he would be fitter and stronger too and, further proof that he is not stupid, backed him at 33-1 for the following season’s championship.
Anyway, Carmel returned home saying the band were good and, having had his own band, George got in touch and suggested he manage them. They said OK.
As part of his pitch he had told them the story of his first day as a lad working for Ginger McCain, when the head lad sent him to feed the retired Red Rum. He walked in with the feed, whereupon Red Rum threw him out of the stable.
“You can’t just walk in,” said the head lad. “He knows you’re just a scruffy little lad, you have to go in there telling him he’s the greatest.”
The head lad then demonstrated this, telling Red Rum how great he was, and George remains uncertain to this day whether it was a wind-up or not but, like Crowley, Red Rum Club are going great guns under his management.
Their next single, Ballerino, is about to hit the airwaves, dates for a nationwide tour in the spring have just been announced and, to square the Red Rum circle, the cover of their new album The
Hollow of Humdrum has been shot on Southport Beach where, throughout the 1970s, the footsteps in the sand were all Rummy’s.
Poignant: The band pose on Southport beach, former stamping ground of their namesake