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Part of the Union

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"Part of the Union"
Single by Strawbs
from the album Bursting at the Seams
B-side"Will You Go"
ReleasedJanuary 1973 (1973-01)
Strawbs singles chronology
"Lay Down"
"Part of the Union"
"Shine on Silver Sun"
Official audio
"Part of the Union" on YouTube

"Part of the Union" is a song by English band Strawbs, featured on their 1973 album Bursting at the Seams and was the band's most successful single, peaking at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. It also reached No. 10 in the Irish Singles Chart.


The song was included on the album Bursting at the Seams but is not considered typical of the songs on that album. It was originally recorded without a contribution by band leader Dave Cousins and was to be released under the name of "The Brothers". It demonstrates the different, more commercial direction the writing partnership of Richard Hudson and John Ford was taking within the band.

The song (especially its chorus "You don't get me I'm part of the Union") quickly became popular as an unofficial anthem of the trade union movement.[1] Subsequently, the Strawbs have confirmed that the song was written with genuine celebratory intent, in support of the unions.[2]

The song resurfaced on the UK television advertisement for insurance company Norwich Union in 1998.[3]

The B-side track "Will You Go" is an arrangement of the Irish folk song "Wild Mountain Thyme" written by Belfast musician Francis McPeake, dating back to the repertoire of The Strawberry Hill Boys (the original name of Strawbs)

The song is played at the end of Philadelphia Union home games.

Top of the Pops[edit]

In the band's appearance on BBC's Top of the Pops, keyboardist Blue Weaver appeared with both piano and pedal harmonium and drummer Richard Hudson appeared with a marching bass drum emblazoned with the words "The Associated Union of Strawbs Workers".


Chart (1973) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 2
Canada (RPM)[5] 48
Ireland 11
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company) 2

Other recordings[edit]

The original "Brothers" recording can be found on the box set A Taste of Strawbs. Cockerel Chorus (of "Nice One Cyril" fame) also recorded the song for inclusion on their 1973 Party Sing-a-long album.[6]

Recorded by The Hindle Strikers with T.B.E. in 1984 on the Catch 22 label (CTT001A) – T.B.E being the Twombley Burwash Experience - local musicians in Bradford..[7]

From 2007 to 2016 the song has been included as a standard part of the Strawbs' live set[citation needed] and was included in their live DVD The Strawbs – Lay Down With The Strawbs, filmed and recorded live at The Robin 2 in Bilston, UK on 5 March 2006.[8]




  1. ^ Frith, Simon (6 February 1998). Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 165. ISBN 9780674661967.
  2. ^ "Part of the Union – We All Stand Together, The People's Songs – BBC Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Norwich Union 'with the union' advert 1998". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 296. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - June 30, 1973" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Cockerel Chorus – Party Sing-A-Long". Discogs. 1973. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  7. ^ "The Hindle Strikers With T.B.E. Discography – UK – 45cat". www.45cat.com. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  8. ^ "The Strawbs – Lay Down With The Strawbs – DVD". Secret Records. Retrieved 19 June 2017.

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]