The British are whining, the British are whining — about some Minnesota Twins fans stealing the anthem of one of England's professional soccer clubs, Leeds United.
The Yorkshire Evening Post reports (hopefully in half-joking fashion) that Leeds fans have "cried foul" about the "cheeky hijacking" of "Marching On Together," a spirited and catchy tune released 40 years ago that became Leeds' anthem and reportedly a top 10 hit in England in 2010.
The umbrage is directed at songwriters Andy Sturdevant (and someone humorously called "Chairman Mauer"), who adapted the song to fit Twins themes, and at the Minnesota Culture Club, which released a YouTube video assembled via Skype of fans singing the retooled tune. The newspaper bases the supposed resentment on two fan tweets, along with some fairly non-confrontational comments made by the original authors, pop songwriters Les Reed and Barry Mason. (The pair also wrote "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.")
The Post writes :
In it, they replace the original's line of 'Leeds, Leeds, Leeds' with 'Twins, Twins, Twins'.
Its exhilarating opening blast of 'Here we go with Leeds United' has also been changed to 'Here we go with Minnesota'.
Bollocks! (Can we say "Bollocks!"?)
If we're talking lawsuit — which at least one of the fans wants to see happen — it would be class-action with multiple defendants. Except you can't sue someone for covering your song (no matter how much the Rolling Stones should want to take Guns N' Roses to court over "Sympathy for the Devil.")
A precedent could have been set if England sued the U.S. for adopting "The Star-Spangled Banner," which ripped off the melody of an English drinking song. If Francis Scott Key never got sued, the Minnesota Culture Club surely is safe. (And it's not like British pop musicians haven't been strip mining American blues for 60 years. Don't think we haven't noticed!)
There's no reason we can't share the song, our two great nations. If disaffected Leeds fans don't like it, they don't have to click on it. And with the Twins so awful right now, their fans need something to rouse themselves. This song might be it. Well, it had better be it, because Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti aren't coming through that door. Leeds fans should be able to relate; it wasn't that long ago Leeds got relegated to the third tier. That'll give you something to cry and sing about in your beer.