In the spring of 1962, Liverpool were promoted as Champions of Division Two back to the First Division and while The Beatles were about to change the music scene of the country, the Kop was busy changing football crowds forever.
The summer of 1962 saw for the first time extended coverage of the World Cup from another continent as the South American nation of Chile hosted the tournament. But whilst watching the football was different, so was listening to the Brazilian supporters who had made the short trip across their continent to back their side. Not only did they cheer in the time-honoured way but they also chanted! Now this was new and what they termed as the Samba Beat was suddenly heard in living rooms throughout the land. It was just a plain, "BRA-ZIL - Cha, Cha, Cha" or rather that's how it came across.
I remember thinking at the time; this will be heard on the Kop soon. Liverpool's first game of the new season was against Blackpool and over 51,000 turned up to fill Anfield almost to its limit, with nearly half the number congregated on the Kop. Everyone was there with their rattles and scarves all intent on making a noise when suddenly someone started to shout "LIVER-POOL" followed by what they called staccato clapping.
Pretty soon most of the Kop had picked up the chant and the sound of "LIVER-POOL - clap, clap, clap" hit the air and the chanting Kop was born.
Before long it seemed as if the entire Kop was participating in this new trend and from small acorns things quickly grow. The chanting Kop suddenly became a singing Kop and as Beatlemania hit the rest of the country, the Kop would perform impromptu sing-a-longs prior to each game as the latest top ten hits were belted out over the PA system. Singing to the hits of the local bands was one thing but the Kop had to be original.
One of the first songs that started to hit the airwaves was, 'When the Saints Go Marching In', better known today as 'When The Reds...', and by the time the 1963 season came to a close it was getting a regular airing on the Kop.
At the time it seemed as if the Kopites could take hold of anything and almost rearrange the words to suit within minutes. For fans everywhere else, it mattered not where you came from or who you supported, you copied the Kop.
Of course, other supporters sang songs and it wouldn't be in keeping with the Liverpool style to try and say that we were the first crowd to sing. However, we were the first crowd to sing as a matter of course.
Those who stood at Anfield in 1963 and sang along with the local group Gerry and the Pacemakers' 'You'll Never Walk Alone' could never have even begun to imagine what they were unleashing. The song would take on so many different meanings at so many different occasions. Occasions that were tragic but also occasions that were triumphant. It became a song that millions of football fans throughout the world would often sing but always recognise that it was 'The Liverpool Song'.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 undisputed Kop Classics.
- You'll Never Walk Alone
- Fields of Anfield Road
- Liverbird Upon My Chest
- Poor Scouser Tommy
- When The Reds Go Marching In
- L I V
- Red & White Kop
- Bill Shankly From Glenbuck
- Underneath the Floodlights
- Scouser in Gay Paris
Special thanks to John Pearman.