51 Weeks: 51 Songs From The Past: Week 9: Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough

One of my favourite musical instruments, in a song, is the piano. I’ve never been able to play the piano because I’ve never really been interested in learning to play it, preferring instead during my school days, the recorder and the xylophone.

51 weeks 51 songs from the past poster

Like last week’s song, we’re sticking around in the 1970s and a song which only included the words ‘Mouldy Old Dough’, although some do say that the phrase ‘Dirty Old Men’ can also be heard. Check for yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I was not liking the way that pigeon was looking at me while I watched the video.

Playing the piano is Hilda Woodward, who at the age of 60, was one of the oldest females to have a number one hit in the U.K. Her son, Rob, was also in the band and both Hilda and Rob hold the record for the only number one song in the U.K that feature a mother and son.

Originally released in early 1972, the song flopped. It was then picked up in Belguim and used as the theme music to a current affairs programme and went on to become a number one hit on the Belguim pop charts. Encouraged by this, the song was rereleased in the U.K and spent four weeks at number one in October 1972. By the end of 1972, it was the second highest selling single of 1972 in the U.K, selling over 790,000 copies. Wow! Not bad, Hilda.

And, just in case the first video didn’t play, here’s another video that features the song.

Thank you to everyone who left a link to a favourite song in the comments section of last week’s post. And a big thank you to Ruth, Marie, Barbara, and Kat who all joined in with publishing a blog post of a favourite song.

Want to join Hugh in building up your 51 favourite songs from the past? Leave a link in the comments section below and showcase your next song.

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  1. Uhmmm, Hugh……. I am struggling to find words here. This song is certainly original. But words just fail me. All of it- the pigeon, the guy’s voice, the satin bell bottoms and boots….. I just can’t….


    1. You won’t believe what else I’ve dug up for this feature, Kat. Does bring back some Happy Memories, though. I think Hilda is what made this song a massive hit. 790,000 copies sold. – Wow! an author can dream, can’t he? 😀

      1. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got coming, Hugh. I have to agree- in all that was going on in that video, Hilda was the best! 🙂

  2. Sadly, I remember this well – and the question mark over the few words song. As Geoff has already said, Hilda did put you in mind of Mrs Mills (another forgotten artist from those dim and distant years).
    The inspiration I’ve taken from you this week is from the song title. I did contemplate picking up on the military theme and sharing a Captain Sensible song, but I instinctively went for a song by Bread. They’re a band most people either don’t know or have forgotten about, but whose songs are known by pretty much everyone. Here I’ve picked out their first hit. When I saw them live, David Gates told the story of the radio DJ who hadn’t heard the title properly and announced he was going to play “Naked With You”. I’m afraid the story stuck in my mind and that’s what I tend to call this classic song.

    1. I’m not sure which title I like best, but it’s a great song, Graeme. Shame about how wrong titles can sometimes stick, but that certainly doesn’t take away the fact that this is a classic song. Nice choice for this week and one I’d certainly add to my playlist.

  3. Hi Hugh,
    I don’t think I can add anything to the above responses. All I can say is: “…you Brits’ have weird sense of humor…” Now what’s with the dead bird on the piano? Every time I replay it I can’t stop laughing. Keep them coming.

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, Marie. I agree, listening to music can stir so many memories. You are certainly sharing many with us with your posts for this feature. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    1. I only caught the last few seconds of the song you picked, Judy, but I know the song very well. The video seems to start 2 minutes 39 seconds in.
      Those were certainly the golden days of frocks and hairdos. And, I just about remember them. 😀

  4. Haven’t heard this one, Hugh. Loved it, mostly for the contrast between the boys in their 70s style and Hilda in her traditional concert gown. Perfect.
    Do the words, “Mouldy Old Dough” have any particular meaning?

    1. Hilda was fantastic. She reminded me of my Gran at the time. My Gran could also play the piano, but not as good as Hilda could and she never had a number one hit on her hands like Hilda did.

      Having looked into the song a little more, I think, originally, ‘Dirty Old Men’ were the lyrics, but the group had to change them and choose ‘Mouldy Old Dough’ instead. I’m sure Hilda would have had something to say about it as well. 😀

      1. “Dirty Old Man” would have worked with that gargling voice.
        The music, though, is so upbeat and happy it doesn’t seem to go with the image of an old man cackling to himself in a rocking chair with his fly undone… or maybe, he is happy 🙂

        1. No, it doesn’t, does it? I think those boys were having a bit of fun, considering the song was written in somebodies living room in a house in Coventry. Maybe, that’s why it flopped the first time around? 😀

  5. Okay, since an animal, okay bird, was mentioned in this song. I have shared the song that nearly cut my life short as I sang this constantly. Or so I’m told. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you “Lilly The Pink.” which until I grew up thought was about a pig.

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