it or hate it, the fact remains that for 3 weeks from 9th
January 1971, Clive Dunn sat at the top of the UK pop charts
with the record "Grandad".
by legendary bassist Herbie Flowers and Ken Pickett from
60's band the Creation, Record Collector magazine
took up the story of how the single came about.
to Pickett, Flowers met Dunn at a party, their conversation
following the lines of, You're a songwriter, eh? Write
a song for me! So he did. "Clive was playing an
old chap in Dad's Army, so it seemed ideal. Herbie gave
me the tape which sat in my machine for weeks before he
called to say he was about to play the song to Clive,
did I have the lyrics So I quickly sat down..."
thing on TV about old flying machines gave me my first
inspiration. ' I've been sitting here all day, thinking
/ Same old dreams 10 years away, thinking / Now my days
are gone, memories linger on, thoughts of when I was a
boy / Aeroplanes tied up with string, flying'.
had a box of Quality Street on the table; the picture
round the edge got me further, 'Radios were funny things,
sighing / Bowling hoops and spinning tops, penny dreadfuls,
lollipops...' Do you know, I can't remember the next line."
Dunn recalled in his 1986 autobiography:
Grandad, Yer luverly,' it trilled on. and I guessed it
was just what I needed . a few days later, with Herbie
playing bass and then euphonium, we put the track down;
the children and I then sang our bit and we all listened
in the control box.
think we've got a monster, Clive," Herbie said, looking
round and positively beaming confidence and goodwill.
I didn't know at the time but monster meant an enormous
long I was booked into every possible children's show, appearing
with Ed Stewart and Basil Brush and on many radio shows.
It was all plug-plug-plug, and Tony Blackburn decided it
was his favourite record."
Clive's appearance on BBCtv's Top of the Pop's the
record reached Number 9 in the chart, but then ran into
it reached this exalted position, the power workers became
totally sick of being underpaid and went on strike. During
this absolutely justified action one of the places that
ceased production was the EMI factory where the records
for the single was high, but the strike probably saw off
any hopes of a Christmas Number One, but the single eventually
made it, to the hailed position in the New Year.
record went on to sell in million's, and was featured on
Clive's "Permission To Sing Sir!" album.
single had been in the charts since 28 November 1970 and
would ultimately spend 27 weeks on the chart (and would
also reenter for a further week on June 27th 1971 - a feat
that most number one records find hard to achieve over 30
with his role as Corporal Jones in Dad's Army, the
song has become eternally linked with him, however it has
also brought its share of dodgy fan mail...
I wrote the song 'Grandad' and have never received any money.
If I hear you sing it again I shall kill you.
Ward B, East Block."
Written and compiled by Andy
With thanks to
David Noades and acknowledgment's to Record Collector and
Presentation: Copyright: www.dadsarmy.tv 2003