The Robin Hood Legend

ROCKIN' ROBIN - A STUDY OF THE OUTLAW ROBIN HOOD'S LINKS WITH POPULAR MUSIC

'Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen...' so goes the signature tune of the 143 episode ATV television series starring Richard Greene.

Penned by American composer Carl Sigman in 1956 the song spent 28 weeks in the British pop music charts courtesy of versions by Gary Miller and Dick James (who later became a key publisher of hit songs by The Beatles and Elton John). When Sigman died (aged 91) in October last year it prompted the World Wide Robin Hood Society to take a closer look at the legendary outlaw's unlikely links with the world of pop and rock music and the findings make interesting reading!!

Surprisingly, Robin is specifically mentioned in the lyrics of three UK chart hits, namely Marc Bolan's '20th Century Boy' (1973); Connie Francis' 'Stupid Cupid' (1958); and Five Star's 'Rain or Shine' (1986). Inevitably, over the years, the musical scores from all the various Robin Hood movies produced some memorable melodies, with Bryan Adams' '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You from 'Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves' holding the number one chart spot for an amazing 16 consecutive weeks in 1991, a record yet to be broken.

Before then it was the popular HTV series 'Robin Of Sherwood' which put Irish folk band Clannad into the charts in May 1984 with their haunting Robin (The Hooded Man) theme tune.

However, the appeal of the legendary outlaw wasn't confined to film and television music and such credible and diverse bands as Deep Purple and Ocean Colour Scene have all recorded different tracks titled 'Robin Hood'. Prefab Sprout also refer to him in their song 'Appetite'.

The Sherwood swashbuckler also gets a mention in the MGM musical 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers' where in the song 'Sobbin' Women' the brothers sing 'Just remember what Robin, Robin, Robin Hood would have done...'. But reference to our hero of the greenwood does not always ensure success as hit composer Lionel Bart found to his cost in 1965 when his musical adaptation of the legend 'Twang' was brutally panned by the critics and closed in London's West End after the first six weeks.

On a more bizarre note in the early Sixties, Decca Records signed Robbie Hood and His Merry Men as recording artists and Mike West (Robbie) recalled that he wore a Lincoln Green outfit and his backing group had boots, feathered hats, jerkins made from sacks and bright red, blue or yellow tights!

In 1979, Canadian folk rock outfit 38 Special put out an instrumental b-side entitled 'Robin Hood' which, in a quirky, toe-tapping way sounded like Mike Oldfield meets Guns 'N' Roses. Even Abba tribute band Bjorn Again have a clip in their TV documentary/video which shows it's two female singers limbering up their vocal chords with a Robin Hood/Merry Men voice exercise.

So if you had ever wondered what on earth Robin Hood and pop music have in common, well now you know.

And if anyone knows of any other popular music links with Robin Hood then get in touch by e-mailing Bob White on: info@robinhood.ltd.uk

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