5-4-3-2-1. It was the theme tune to the iconic sixties music show Ready Steady Go! and the countdown to the start of the weekend.
Broadcast every Friday evening between 1963 and 66, Ready Steady Go! included live performances by the biggest bands of the swinging sixties.
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Small Faces, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix and many, many more performed on the show.
However it was Manfred Mann who opened every episode with their smash hit 5-4-3-2-1.
Now almost 60 years later Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones lifts the lid on the hit that sound-tracked a generation.
Ahead of his show at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre on Wednesday with The Manfreds, Paul reveals the genesis of 5-4-3-2-1.
And how the lyrics are based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem!
Paul said: “A lot of people think Ready Steady Go! took our single as their signature tune.
“That’s not true.
“What happened was we had a single which didn’t do anything but they still had us on Ready Steady Go!
“Immediately after that performance the Ready Steady Go! people asked if we would be interested in writing them a signature tune.
“They told us various things that must happen in the signature tune, and things that must not happen.
“They wanted the rhythm of the failed single we had just played on the show.
“We were given very precise directions, as happens in the world of advertising.
“When you are asked to write a jingle for a new flavour of yogurt or something.
“We wrote the song very quickly.
“And stole the words from Alfred, Lord Tennyson (The Charge of the Light Brigade).
“It was written to be the theme tune to Ready Steady Go! and after that we thought we should put it out as a single.
“And it was a hit.”
The Manfreds celebrate 60 years
The success of 5-4-3-2-1 was the breakthrough for the band, having formed in 1962.
Paul, now 80 years old, is currently touring with The Manfreds to mark the 60th anniversary of the band.
He will play Aberdeen with another original member guitarist Tom McGuiness, 81.
The duo will be joined by Pete Riley (drums), Marcus Cliffe (bass), Mike Gorman (keyboards) and Simon Currie (saxophone/ flute).
Paul said: “I auditioned for the band. It was a bunch of musicians who knew each other but I didn’t know anyone.
“I very strongly remember Manfred peering at us all over the piano and saying ‘we’re going to be bigger than The Shadows’.
“Maybe for five minutes we were.
“Manfred and Mike Hugg asked if I would like to join.
“I did and the rest is definitely history.”
Success came a year after forming
Manfred Mann racked up British number one singles with Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Pretty Flamingo and Mighty Quinn.
The band racked up 10 top-five hits in the UK during the sixties.
Do Wah Diddy Diddy also topped the charts in the United States.
Paul said: “Success came in bits. A bit here, a bit there.
“It was a whole year since we formed that we recorded 5-4-3-2-1 which was our first hit.
“Some people will think a year is pretty quick.
“Others will probably think they would have given up after a year.
“I remember reading in the paper about a group called The Police that no one had heard of.
“Their guitarist Andy Summers was quoted in this tiny newspaper article saying ‘we’re going to give it another couple of months and if nothing happens before then we’re giving up’.
“And of course, they became absolutely huge.
“Always give it another couple of months.”
Expect the hits, jazz and blues
The Manfreds, formerly known as Manfred Mann, were renowned for chart smashes Mighty Quinn, Pretty Flamingo, Do Wah Diddy Diddy and 5-4-3-2-1.
Alongside those hits the band will also play some of their favourite blues and jazz songs at the Aberdeen show, as well as tracks from Paul’s new solo album The Blues.
Paul said: “When the band first started it was a blues band with jazz undertones… and overtones.
“All those flavours will be in the show in Aberdeen.
“There will be the hits, jazz and blues.”
The Manfreds will play Aberdeen’s Tivoli on Wednesday November 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased here.