Thursday 25 April 2024


Have you ever wondered what would happen if you brought two titans of comedy together for a disco single? Well, wonder no more!


Credited on the label to Bill Oddie And The Superspike Squad (Featuring John Cleese) but on the picture sleeve to the Superspike Squad with Bill Oddie and John Cleese, Superspike (Parts 1 and 2) was issued by Bradleys – the same label that issued the vast majority of the Goodies pop output – in February 1976.


Although best known for their individual successes in seminal comedies The Goodies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Cleese and Oddie were old friends, first crossing paths at university in the Cambridge Footlights, before going on to appear in the long-running radio comedy show I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again. Both wrote for, and occasionally appeared in, the satirical hit show That Was The Week That Was, and both wrote for the ITV comedy Doctor in the House. More recently Cleese had appeared in The Goodies Christmas 1973 episode The Goodies and the Beanstalk.


The Superspike Squad was ‘A chorus of international athletes’, including sprinter Ainsley Bennet and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sue Reeve, with support from professional backing singers the Chanter Sisters, who had worked on records for Elton John, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd and others. Doreen Chanter wrote Star, a 1982 chart hit for Kiki Dee.


Superspike, a spiked running shoe emblem complete with a patriotic, Union flag tongue, was the official logo of the International Athletes’ Club, and was used to raise funds to pay for equipment and training for British athletes. The International Athletes’ Club had originally been formed in 1958, ‘In order to provide a medium for discussing, representing and promoting the views of the body of contemporary international athletes in the U.K.’


With lofty ambitions to raise £500,000 over three years, the hope would have been that the single would bolster these funds, and help to send Britain’s elite runners, gymnasts and other sportspeople off to compete around the world, specifically the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and the 1980 games in Moscow.


Superspike was advertised as ‘The funniest and funkiest record of the year’, although as you'll soon tell it really wasn’t: funky hits from 1976 included both Car Wash and Daddy Cool, and when it comes to comedy, Richard Pryor, Rutland Weekend Television and Pam Ayers all did rather well that year too. As one contemporary reviewer put it, ‘Needless to say, this record is exactly what you'd expect from Messrs. Oddie and Cleese - complete nonsense. Bill does his Funky Gibbon bit with a little help from Basil Fawlty… all in aid of a fund to help Britain’s athletes.’ Record Mirror put it more succinctly: ‘The record could easily be called “Do The Funky Plimsoll”… Good cause, maybe, uninspired definitely.’ 

Sadly, neither the single nor the Superspike campaign were a success, and by the time the Montreal games came around, in the summer of 1976, the whole thing had been forgotten.


Anyway, here are both sides of this fascinating, if flawed, piece of pop and comedy history. 



Download Part One HERE


Download Part Two HERE

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