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Tubular Bells star's joy as fans attempt to get his Portsmouth song to No1

A ditty called Portsmouth composed by Tubular Bells maestro Mike Oldfield could hit the top of the charts in honour of Pompey's FA Cup success.

Pompey fans have started an online campaign to get the popular sea shanty, which is played at Pompey's home games, to number one.

The two-minute folk tune was a surprise hit for the musician in 1976, reaching number three in the charts.

Now, almost 30 years on, fans hope it will top the charts on May 15 - FA Cup final day and its composer's 57th birthday.

The campaign has come as a complete surprise to the musician, who now lives in the Bahamas.

The multi-instrumentalist, who is famous for his album Tubular Bells, had no idea his song had been adopted by the Fratton Park faithful.

On hearing that it had also been played at Pompey's recent Wembley outings - including after the 2008 victory against Cardiff City - Mr Oldfield said: 'I had no idea. Cup finals are always a great occasion and it's very humbling that Portsmouth are using my song.'

Mr Oldfield, who grew up in Berkshire and used to watch Reading play at Elm Park, added: 'I live a long way away now but I've always liked Portsmouth. It was always a special day out to go and visit Portsmouth and go to the dockyard and see HMS Victory.'

He added: 'I'll have to track down somewhere to watch the final - I'll be supporting Portsmouth for certain. I hope the spirit of Lord Nelson will be with the team at the cup final and bring them victory.' Pompey fan Dave Clarke started the campaign online by setting up a Facebook page called 'Get Portsmouth To No.1'. Within days, it has the backing of more than 2,000 fans.

Mr Clarke, who works as a music publicist, said: 'I want to get as many people to join the group and download Portsmouth in the week from Monday, May 3.

'The song will hit the charts on Sunday, May 9 and then be everywhere in the week leading up to the cup final. The perfect-world scenario would be to see Pompey walking out at Wembley for the FA Cup Final with the number one single blaring out - that would be phenomenal.

'Fittingly, nobody gave the tune a prayer of being a hit when it was originally released in 1976.

'However, it defied the odds and was huge success - sounds just like Pompey's cup run.'

Visit bit.ly/portsmouth to join the Facebook group and find out how to download the track through iTunes, Play and Amazon.

Tubular Bells star's joy as fans attempt to get his Portsmouth song to No1

FACTFILE

Mike Oldfield's Portsmouth was actually an arrangement of an old folk dancing song dating back to the 18th century.

Its origins are unknown. It appeared in the 11th edition of John Playford's The Dancing Master in 1701. The book was a dancing manual containing the music and instructions for English Country Dances.

The song is said to be sea shanty in style, but has no lyrics.

Oldfield's adaptation of Portsmouth was recorded with his friend Leslie Penning playing the recorder.

It reached number three in the charts in 1976.

Mike Oldfield was the first artist to sign to Richard Branson's Virgin Records label in 1972 after he played him a demo recording of Tubular Bells, which later became his most famous work.

Oldfield recorded the album in 1972 and launched it in May 1973 as the inaugural album of Virgin Records.

The album quickly reached the Top 10 of the UK album chart and has spent 279 weeks on the chart to date – a figure bettered by only ten other albums.

 
 
 

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