documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Murgatroyd Band – Magpie (Decca) 1971

“Magpie” / “Twice A Week” (Decca F 13256) December 1971

Magpie was a British children’s television programme shown on ITV from 30 July 1968 to 6 June 1980. It was a magazine format show, intended to compete with the BBC’s Blue Peter, but it attempted to be more “hip”, focusing more on popular culture.

The show’s creators, Lewis Rudd and Sue Turner, named the programme Magpie, as a reference to the magpie’s habit of collecting small items and also because of “mag” being evocative of “magazine” and “pie” being evocative of a collection of ingredients.

The theme tune was played by the Spencer Davis Group under the alias of The Murgatroyd Band, and co-composed by three members, Eddie Hardin, Ray Fenwick and Spencer Davis.

The main lyric is an old children’s nursery rhyme “One for Sorrow”

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight’s a wish and
Nine a kiss
Ten is a bird you must not miss.

“One For Sorrow”

The rhyme refers to an old English superstition concerning the portent of the number of magpies seen together in a flock, and an older version of the ending runs: Eight for Heaven Nine for Hell Ten for the Devil himself.

The Murgatroyd Band single on Decca is extremely difficult to locate and rarely turns up for sale. Quite how the rockin’ “Magpie” wasn’t a huge hit in Britain is anyone’s guess.

I can’t understand why the kids didn’t lap this disc up like they would have been wrecking their local Woolworths for copies of Slade, T-Rex or Sweet records.

Current value of a mint copy with picture sleeve, according to Record Collector Price Guide is £40 but some have sold for over a hundred quid in the past.

Fortunately for the collector without deep pockets full of pretty green “Magpie” turned up on “The World Of T.V. Themes”, a cheap Decca compilation released in 1972.

Other themes included on the album are “The Onedin Line”, “The Sky At Night” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. It’s well worth scouring charity shops for a copy.

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