'Hearts, Hearts, glorious Hearts': Frightened Rabbit's Grant Hutchison on their unexpected cover

Opinion: Frightened Rabbit's Hearts Song

Band release cover of the Tynecastle faithful's beloved anthem

The fortunes of both of Edinburgh's big football teams have swung over the decades, but recent times have seen the Gorgie-based Heart of Midlothian doing better on the park, the past two years' Scottish Cups aside. Yet if Leith/Lochend's Hibernian have the upper hand on anything, it has to be the quality of their anthem, with The Proclaimers' 'Sunshine On Leith' an acknowledged classic of the after-match singalong genre.

Hearts' 'The Hearts Song' is a mighty anthem in its own right, especially when sung by the crowd at a packed Tynecastle Stadium, but it's more of a fan's favourite than a widely acknowledged classic. Sung by the Paisley-born, St Mirren-supporting comedian Hector Nicol (who had a sideline in writing football anthems, also turning them out for Dundee United, Dundee and Hibs themselves), it has a lived-in, traditional arrangement which only the chorus of the crowd can really blow the cobwebs from.

Until now, because the song has finally been given a contemporary makeover by Frightened Rabbit – two-fifths of whom are Hearts fans – and it combines the folksy, traditionally Scottish tone of the original with the proper note of heartfelt, yearning expectation which every football fan knows.

'We didn't take much convincing to do it,' says the band's Grant Hutchison, the true Hearts die-hard of the group. He was asked to record the song by his friend and fellow 'Jambo' (short for 'Jam Tarts', rhyming slang for 'Hearts') Jordan Laird of Edinburgh promo producers Something Something (their credits include Twin Atlantic and White as well as FR), who wanted to use it as the soundtrack to a short film commemorating the recent demolition of Tynecastle's 103-year-old main stand.

'Myself, Scott (Hutchison, Grant's brother, a less dedicated Hearts fan) and Billy (Kennedy, a Newcastle United fan) played on it, and Andy (Monaghan) recorded it,' says Hutchison. 'Simon (Liddell) is a Hamilton Accies fan, so we didn't even bother inviting him to the studio that day! Lyrically it's a very passionate song, especially if you've heard it sung at Tynecastle, it really gets you. We replaced the accordion sound with an organ, but it all just came naturally, really. It's got a brilliant melody – we shifted the tempo ever so slightly, but it's pretty much as true to the original as possible.'

Born in Edinburgh but raised in Selkirk, the Hutchisons fell into supporting Hearts when their older brother Neil decided to, despite their dad's allegiance to Hibs. 'I don't have a lot of great memories of matches at Tynecastle,' says Hutchison, 'just a lot of draws and defeats, I think I must be bad luck. But I was at the 5–1 game in 2012 (Hearts' famous cup final win over Hibs), so that will be hard to beat.'

Hutchison wants to give current coach Ian Cathro the whole season, although he hopes results improve – but mainly, with Laird and the club in contact less than 24 hours after Frightened Rabbit's update of the song was revealed, he's already dreaming of it being played as the team takes to the park at Tynecastle.

Frightened Rabbit

Folk infused indie rockers from Selkirk sweeping all before them.

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