Mouldy Old Dough

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"Mouldy Old Dough"
Single by Lieutenant Pigeon
from the album Mouldy Old Music
B-side"The Villain"
ReleasedFebruary 1972 (1972-02)
RecordedWinter 1971[1]
GenrePub rock[2]
  • Nigel Fletcher
  • Robert Woodward
Producer(s)Stavely Makepeace
Lieutenant Pigeon singles chronology
"Mouldy Old Dough"
"Desperate Dan"

"Mouldy Old Dough" is an instrumental single, which was a hit for Lieutenant Pigeon.

It was written by Nigel Fletcher and Rob Woodward and first produced by them under the name of their other band, Stavely Makepeace.[3]

Recorded in the front room of Woodward's Coventry semi-detached house, it featured his mother Hilda Woodward on piano,[4] in a boogie-woogie, honky-tonk, ragtime style. The only lyrics are the growled title "Mouldy Old Dough" and "Dirty Old Man" by Fletcher. When Fletcher asked what they meant, their author, Rob Woodward, said he had no idea.[5]

It is the only British number one single to feature a mother and son.[4]

Originally released in early 1972, it flopped on its first release. It was picked up in Belgium and used on a current affairs programme, and became a hit there, reaching number one in the Belgian singles chart. Decca, encouraged by this success, re-released it and with the backing of then BBC Radio 1 DJ Noel Edmonds, it finally became a hit in the UK, spending four weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart in October 1972.[6] It sold 790,000 copies. In New Zealand, the song was number one for five weeks.[7] The song also reached number one in Ireland and reached the Top 10 in Canada and Australia, but did not chart in the United States.

"Mouldy Old Dough" (the title being an adaptation of the 1920s jazz phrase, "vo-de-o-do")[3] became the second biggest selling UK single of the year, behind The Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards' bagpipe version of "Amazing Grace".

The tune was also used by LOTTO New Zealand as a successful advertising routine.

As of April 2019, Hilda Woodward's piano is an Exhibit at Coventry Music Museum,[8] where other artefacts belonging to the band are also on display.

Chart history[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mouldy Old Dough (Lieutenant Pigeon)". Jon Kutner. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  2. ^ Ewing, Tom (3 June 2007). "Lieutenant Pigeon – "Mouldy Old Dough"". Freaky Trigger. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 147. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 43. ISBN 0-85156-156-X.
  5. ^ Ian Gittins (2007), Top of the Pops: Mishaps, Miming, and Music, p. 78, ISBN 978-1-84607-327-4
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 321. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ a b Flavour of New Zealand, 5 February 1973
  8. ^ exhibit in Coventry Music Museum
  9. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. {{cite book}}: |format= requires |url= (help)
  10. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 3 February 1973. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 27 January 1973. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mouldy Old Dough". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Lieutenant Pigeon" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  18. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough". VG-lista.
  19. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Lieutenant Pigeon – Mouldy Old Dough". Swiss Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  22. ^ South Africa's Top 20 Hit Singles of 1972
  23. ^ 1972 in British music#Best-selling singles
  24. ^ McCready, John. "Beats International are a Pop Group of Their Time (interview in The Face, November 1990)". Rock's Back Pages. Retrieved 9 January 2019.