Tom Hark The Piranhas
Song Title: Tom Hark
Artist: The Piranhas
Date of release: 1980
Description: ” Tom Hark ” is by The Piranhas, a former British ska-influenced punk band from Brighton,England. Formed in 1977, they were originally part of the Brighton punk scene and came to prominence when British DJ John Peel started playing their single ” I Don’t Want My Body ” on his BBC Radio 1 programme.
The original line up consisted of Bob Grover on guitar, lead vocals and trumpet, Dick Slexia (Richard Adland) on drums, Johnny Helmer on guitar and vocals, Reginald Frederick Hornsbury on bass and Zoot Alors ( Phil Collis) on saxophone.
” Tom Hark ” was written by Rupert Bopape and originally recorded by Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes in 1958. The band’s leader, Aaron ” Big Voice ” Jack Lerole, was a South African penny whistle player and singer , he was a leading performer in the style of music known as kwela. The style of music, which came to international prominence in the 1950s, is a pennywhistle-based street music from southern Africa with a jazz underpinning blended with a distinctive, skiffle-like beat.
The Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes original version entered the UK Singles Chart at number 30 on the 25th of April 1958, reaching a peak of number 2 for one month from the 24th of May, the song spent a total of 14 weeks on the UK chart.
The Piranhas cover of ” Tom Hark ” had new lyrics which were written by the band’s frontman ” Boring ” Bob Grover. The song was released in 1980 by record label Sire Records ( Warner Music Group ) with Pete Waterman as executive producer.
Zoot Alors, the band’s saxophonist, found a copy of the original in his mother’s record collection and talked the other members into doing a cover version. Bob Grover wrote the lyrics in the back of a van on their way from Brighton to a recording studio in London. Bob recalled ” The original was an instrumental so we brought it up to date with some lyrics, i could say the words were deep and meaningful, but they don’t really mean much. I scribbled them on an envelope in about an hour “.
The song was the first to feature on Top of the Pops when the show returned in 1980 after industrial action blacked out the show for nine weeks. During the mimed performance on the show, Dick Slexia, the drummer, played using a pair of plastic fish as drumsticks. Top of the Pops was a popular pop music programme aired on the BBC which ran from the 1st of January 1964 to the 30th of July 2006 and attracted regular audiences in the Millions. The show became a significant part of popular culture in the United kingdom.
” Tom Hark ” was a commercial success for The Piranhas. In the United Kingdom the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 2nd of August 1980 and peaked at number 6. It spent 4 weeks in the top ten and a total of 12 weeks on the UK chart. The version by The Piranhas later went on to become a popular chant amongst British football fans.
BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: N/A
UK Highest Chart Position: 6
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Ireland 26
Official Website: Piranhas4.co.uk
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/PiranhasFour
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/ThePiranhas