Grandad

Album: Complete Kids (1970)
Charted: 1
  • songfacts ®
  • This song was written by the ubiquitous Herbie Flowers, who is most famous for being the bassist on Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" two years later. Flowers co-wrote "Grandad" with Creation's bassist, Kenny Pickett.
  • "Grandad" is possibly the cheesiest song ever, sung by (and written for) English actor Clive Dunn, who played Cpl. Jones in the BBC TV comedy series Dad's Army (character catchphrase: "Don't panic, Captain Mainwaring!" [pronounced "Mannering"]). Dunn was actually in his forties then, but was very well known in the UK for his character roles playing men in their seventies. The story goes that Dunn met Flowers at a party and on learning that Flowers was a composer, Dunn challenged Flowers to write him a novelty song, hence "Grandad."

    Flowers claims he was completely stuck for a hook until a friend came to visit and rang his doorbell: one of those models popular at that time which had two small "tubular bells" which played a high-low two note "Ding-Dong." The moment Flowers heard that, it was his Eureka! moment: he had his "Gran-dad" hook, and the rest is history.
  • Flowers claimed in a BBC TV interview in the early 2000s that "No-one will EVER cover 'Grandad!'" but this is not true! The Edinburgh Alliance, a fan club for the SF TV series Babylon 5, released a cover version with a parody lyric titled "Zathras" (a gravelly-voiced alien character from the show) on their equally obscure CD Songs From Down Below, Vol. 5. How do I know that bizarre fact? Simple! I was the producer of that CD!
  • "Grandad" was a #1 single in the UK in January 1971. It would have had a shot at becoming the 1970 UK Christmas #1, but production was held up because of a power worker strike that disrupted work at EMI's pressing plant.
  • In 1980 (perhaps inevitably), the song "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma," written by award-winng producer Gordon Lorenz, was recorded and released by St. Winifred's School Choir, and became the 1980 UK Christmas #1. It is not known whether or not Lorenz intended it as an "answer" to "Grandad" or merely a money-spinning shot at a Christmas #1 single. I'll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide which of the two songs is the cheesier! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cad - Edinburgh, United Kingdom, for all above
  • This was produced by Ray McIntyre, who was the father of English comedian Michael McIntyre. It was the only big hit that he was ever involved with.
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Comments: 1

  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThe flip of this song is I Play The Spoons. Also "sung" in character!
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