Knockout: tribute song to support Ken Buchanan statue camapign
Statues of sporting heroes can be found in many towns and cities across the UK . Former Scotland football captain Billy Bremner’s sculpture stands proudly in Leeds, Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn is similarly commemorated in the centre of his home city while a statue recognising Olympic gold medallist Steve Ovett’s achievements can be found in Brighton.
In Scotland, statues of sporting greats are displayed in Glasgow (Jock Stein, John Greig, and Jimmy Johnstone amongst others), Dundee (Dick McTaggart), Aberdeen (Denis Law) and Hamilton (Davie Cooper) but Edinburgh, despite its proud sporting tradition, has been surprisingly reluctant to pay similar homage to sons and daughters of the city who have similarly excelled.
A statue of legendary athlete Eric Liddle does stand within Edinburgh University but the Capital’s public areas are largely devoid of such recognition despite the achievements of the likes of sprinter Allan Wells, cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy and boxer Ken Buchanan.
Leith-born Buchanan could arguably be described as the city’s greatest ever sportsperson, having achieved the coveted title of undisputed world boxing champion (at lightweight level) in 1971, the only Scotsman in history, and one of only four British fighters to have held this accolade at any weight division.
A campaign has been ongoing for some time to erect a statue, at either the bottom of Leith Walk or outside Meadowbank Stadium, in Buchanan’s honour. And adding his support to the initiative lately has been local musician Kevin Gore (above), who has recently written and recorded a song dedicated to the 72 year old boxing icon.
“My father was a great admirer of Ken, and I also met him at boxing shows and bars in Leith,” said Kevin, a singer/songwriter and a well-known figure in many of Edinburgh’s music venues. “A friend of mine, Stef Aitkenhead, heard I was thinking about composing a tribute song for Ken and he made me aware of the statue campaign and also of the Ken Buchanan MBE Foundation, an organisation geared towards helping young people to become involved in sport. That gave me the inspiration to write and record the song and I’ve decided that any proceeds from it will be donated to the Foundation.
“I knew Ken was a regular at the Central Bar in Leith so I managed to get into conversation with him there one night. We had a good chat and I was able to get some insight into his life as both a boxer and as a person – this helped me to ensure that the song (which he knew nothing about at that stage) would do him justice. Once I recorded it I sent the CD to Owen Smith, a lifelong friend of Ken who is chairman of the Foundation and he told me that Ken was moved to tears when he first heard it played.”
The song, entitled Ken Buchanan – Edinburgh Man, will shortly be available for download via various internet platforms and the official launch of the CD will take place at the Leith Folk Club, Victoria Park House Hotel, Ferry Road , Edinburgh on Tuesday 27th February at 7.30 pm.
The venue is fitting – some readers will know that the Victoria Park was once Ken Buchanan’s hotel