It was Norman Wisdom, aged 89 – in Albania!

Tony Hawks became a celebrity by dragging an old fridge around Ireland for a bet!

Then for another bet, he beat all the Muldovian football team at tennis.

After that, people used to hurl stupid suggestions for bets at him at dinner parties; usually while under the influence of wine.

In between all the stupid bets, he also had a One Hit Wonder, as Morris Minor and the Majors, singing The Stutter Rap,

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAIOzM7SsMo

 

They appeared on Top of the Pops once, complete with pencilled-on moustaches, and miming furiously.

Then one day at a dinner party, while under the influence of wine, the subject of his One Hit Wonder came up, and a woman bet him that he couldn’t have another hit in the Top 20, anywhere in the world.

Tom Hawks’ hilarious book, One Hit Wonderland, tells the story of his hopeless quest for a hit around Europe, and even in Nashville, until by chance he met up with Tim Rice and the late, great Norman Wisdom.

If you ever go to Albania, just mention Norman Wisdom’s name and watch their faces light up, whatever age they are.

He’s known as Pitkin there, because that was the name of his character in all his films, which are still being shown in Albania now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Wox8jaW_A

 

Tim Rice wrote the words and the musical production was done by friends of Tony’s.

Poor Norman struggled and struggled to remember the words, but he just couldn’t manage it. So in the end they did him behind a big furry mike.

When the group, called Norman wisdom and the Pitkins, reached Albania, Norman was instantly recognised and mobbed everywhere. Everyone wanted to have their photo taken with him, even in the middle of the road!

You’ll notice a large phone number on their t-shirts. This is because the Albanians don’t have a Top 20 of record sales; it’s how many people phone the radio station to request a song.

Yes, The Pitkins quickly reached No 18, so Tony Hawks won his bet, with the help of two Lords, Sir Norman Wisdom OBE and Sir Tim Rice. Not a bad achievement, eh?

The Pitkins was made up of Norman the lead singer, Tony on guitar, Tim Rice on small plastic saxophone, his son Donald on small plastic trumpet, Tim’s two daughter Eva, and Lucinda as backing singers, and Norman’s minder, or rather, mimer, Sylvia, on bongos.

Tim Rice described it afterwards as the best music tour he’d ever been on!

Norman Wisdom died aged 95.

Ann Evans interviewed him shortly before he died for B-C-ing-U!

 

http://b-c-ing-u.com/2016/05/16/22846/

 

Like everyone else, she said what a lovely, genuine man he was.

If you want to SingalongaNorm here are the lyrics;

From Scutari to Koritsa, from Gjirokastra to Berat

From Valona to Titana, I’m really where it’s at

From the mountains to the Adriatic shore,

I give my all and they cry for more.

 

I’ve made my name in many places

A thousand falls, a thousand faces

But nowhere’s more devoted than Albania-

Cos they’ve got Norman-mania

(They’ve got Norman –mania – he’s big in Albania)

I may be way off track but I love Albania back.

 

On the hillsides, in the valleys, in the forests, on the lakes

All Albania cries out for Norman – ‘Hey, you got what it takes!’

As I wander down each fine Albanian street

The crowd’s affection sweeps me off my feet.

 

 

I’ve made my name in many places

A thousand falls, a thousand faces

But nowhere’s more devoted than Albania-

Cos they’ve got Norman-mania

(They’ve got Norman –mania – he’s big in Albania)

I may be way off track but I love Albania back.

 

And when the leaders saw his films they told the nation

Wise up to Norman ‘wisdom’ proletarian salvation

Don’t pan him, don’t can him, don’t criticise or ban him

His struggle with the boss will be the workers’ inspiration

 

They’ve got Norman-mania

(They’ve got Norman-mania – he’s big in Albania)

(They’ve got Norman-mania – he’s big in Albania)

I may be way off track but I love Albania back

(Big in Albania) I love Albania back

(Big in Albania) I love Albania back.

 

And finally, here’s my challenge to you, Tony for your next bet.

Make Norm and The Pitkins this year’s Christmas No 1, beating the Simon Cowell manufactured potential hit. I’m sure he won’t mind!