When the King came to the Toon or the Autumn of ’67

 

This song was inspired by the visit to Newcastle in 1967 by Martin Luther King to receive his honorary doctorate from the University.

WORDS – KEITH AND JOHN GREGSON– TUNE KEITH GREGSON (PRS/MU) 2017

Teenage student memories – it’s a case of ebb and flow

As the 60s fade into a fog, some stay while others go

Of a head that was full of Beatles – of a gut that was full of ‘broon’

Of a well-remembered autumn day when the King came to the Toon

 

HE SAID HE WAS PROUD TO BE HERE

HE SAID THAT HE’D BE BACK SOON

BUT WHO WAS TO KNOW WHAT LAY IN STORE

WHEN THE KING CAME TO THE TOON

 

I’d a heart that was full of football – hippy happy without a care

Then what a change for, to quote Max Boyce, that November ‘I was there’

He didn’t need to speak out – he could take his scroll and go

Yet he spoke for people ‘of goodwill’ on that great day long ago – CH

 

A single day in England – five months and he was gone

Fifty years roll swiftly by and the struggle still goes on

For a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ – for a ‘top of the mountain dream’

Where ‘righteousness and justice’ flow down ‘like a mighty stream’ –CH

 

With his ‘symphony of brotherhood’ – with his ‘top of the mountain dream’

Where ‘righteousness and justice’ flow down ‘like a mighty stream’

 

I’d a heart that was full of football – hippy happy without a care

But what a change, o lucky man,

On that great day

‘I was there’

Unfortunately a recording of the song cannot be loaded up. If you would like a copy please email me at

sean.creighton1947@btinternet.com

2017 saw commemoration of King’s visit. See

https://seancreighton1947.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/martin-luther-king-in-newcastle-book-launch-13-september

 

Keith Gregson is a member of North East Labour History Society, which has made the lyrics and recording available.

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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