Workmen’s sacrifices inspire new song devoted to Forth crossings

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THE M25 has Chris Rea’s Road to Hell, Route 66 Bobby Troup’s classic of the same name and now the Forth bridges old and new have also been immortalised in song.

Songwriter Kenny Herbert has dedicated “Three bridges – Queensferry Crossing” to the men who died building the links between the Capital and Fife.

Kenny Herbert - singer/songwriter' has written about the crossing.

Kenny Herbert - singer/songwriter' has written about the crossing.

And for Kenny the song has personal poignancy, as three generations of his wife’s family all worked on the Forth Bridge.

“After hearing of the sad accident causing the death of [contractor] John Cousin last April, it made me think of him and all the people and families who gave so much to build these structures,” said the 63-year-old.

“I’ve hopefully written a song that celebrates the memory of these people and all three bridges.

“It’s also been released to celebrate the opening of the latest crossing and the people who built it.”

Kenny’s wife Caroline’s dad, Joe McKay, now 86, was a “length man” responsible for maintenance on the rail crossing from 1957 to 1965.

Her grandfather, David Rendall, was the bridge carpenter for 30 years until 1969 and her great-grandfather, Thomas Rendall, was a painter and lamp lighter for 40 years from 1903.

Living in the shadow of the bridges in Queensferry, it was an obvious choice for the former Sir Paul McCartney impersonator to turn his creativity to.

Crafted last August and now released on iTunes with a video on Youtube, Kenny describes the track as “contemporary with timeless lyrics”.

Over the strings of Kenny’s guitar, it opens with: “From the shoreline of the Forth, ‘cross distant water – a nation’s pride was realised back then.”

The ditty goes on to capture the landscape of the Forth, and the sacrifices made to bridge its divide.

“Brothers, Sons and Fathers gave their everything – building these three doorways to the north,” it continues.

The tune’s chorus goes on to lionise the three bridges for “standing in the skyline ever tall – here for evermore”.

Hailing the crossing as “Scotland’s greatest landmark”, the song signs off with: “Re - member, what they had to give On high, their trials and their pain.”

Kenny, who names The Beatles as his inspiration, has performed the number live with his band, the Apple Beggars, getting a warm reception from music fans.

They played January’s ‘wake’ at The Caves venue for iconic music store Ripping Records, which closed after 41 years.

Kenny is the latest crossing-inspired musician, following in the footsteps of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge and Elton John’s The Bridge.

Its release marks the latest venture for Kenny, 16 years after he toured Japan with an album recorded at Abbey Road studios.

The professional musician hopes his efforts will become a lasting tribute to the blood, sweat and tears behind the crossings. “I’ve sent it to Transport Scotland and the response I got was pretty solid,” he said. “I can only hope they pick it up and go with it.”

No-one from Transport Scotland was available for comment.