In October 2009 I was shocked to hear that Billy Birmingham aka The 12th Man was finally retiring from the game bringing his remarkable innings to a close. Sad news for his many fans, old and new 🙁
To mark the occasion he’s releasing a definitive “The Box Set” complete works of The 12th Man in a 7 CD pack. It’s your chance to own a piece of Australian recording history because I can guarantee we will never see his like again.
If you, your friends or family enjoy watching cricket on the TV you’ll be quite familiar with the Channel 9 commentary team and Billy Birmingham aka “The 12th Man” who has impersonated their voices and savagely mocked and exaggerated their mannerisms in The 12th Man Again! (1990), Still the 12th Man (1992), Bill Lawry… This is Your Life (1997), The Final Dig? (2001) and his latest work Boned! (December 2006).
The Twelfth Man is the name for a series of comedy productions by Australian satirist Billy Birmingham. Birmingham, a skilled impersonator, is generally known for parodying Australian sports commentators’ voices.
As befits the name (a reference to the non-playing reserve in a cricket side), Birmingham particularly focuses on cricket commentators such as Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Tony Greig. This is also due to the fact that many of Australia’s cricket commentators have distinctive and easily-identifiable voices and accents.
The parodies, released periodically on CD, are designed as a look “behind the scenes” of the Nine Network’s cricket commentary.
Birmingham traditionally plays all the roles with the exception of minor female characters, such as Richie Benaud’s wife. Benaud himself is known to have a very low opinion of the recordings, due predominantly to Birmingham’s use of profanity.
A highlight of the recordings is the cricket commentary itself, generally featuring wildly improbable match results – teams scoring 600 runs in a one-day international match, for example. Birmingham is noted for his creation of humorous names for players of other countries, particularly Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Some are designed as thinly-veiled references to the players themselves, such as the Pakistani bowlers:
- “Wasee A-Crim” (Was He A Crim, a reference to Wasim Akram during the match-fixing controversy)
- “Hafeez Andmissin” (Half His Hand Missing, a parody of Azeem Hafeez who was born without two fingers on his right hand)
- “Ahkeep Myteefina Jahbesidabed” (I Keep My Teeth In A Jar Beside The Bed, a reference to Aaqib Javed)
- Their captain “Ahbroke Meandad” (I Broke My Hand Dad, a reference to Javed Miandad
- “Javed Gemiteformeandad” – Jar Vegemite for me and dad
As well as the Sri Lankan batsman “Ramatunga Downathroata” (a reference to former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga). Others simply parody the general sound of Urdu or Sinhalese names.
An Australian Christmas and The 12th Man have gone hand in hand now for over 20 years and The 12th Man’s cricket loving fans have not had anything new from him since his multi Platinum No 1 “The Final Dig?” where Ritchie announced his retirement from the commentary team captaincy and then retracted it after he learnt he’d be replaced by Max Walker
So the release of a new double album had fans salivating with anticipation – especially when they learnt that the new album was titled “Boned” and contains over 150 minutes of 12th Man mayhem.
The 2 cd Set features Eddie McGuire ‘boning’ the entire Channel 9 Cricket Commentary team with The 12th Man taking over the microphone. Listen as Richie, Bill, Tony and the boys do whatever it takes to get their jobs back.
All 7 albums from The 12th Man have reached #1 on the Australian Charts, making The 12th Man the only Australian recording artist to have achieved this milestone.
Readers can purchase 12th Man Cd’s from Chaos Music at bargain prices and enjoy guaranteed laughs whether you buy them for yourself or for others as a gift
Please note: Several people have contacted me with questions for Billy – I have no contact with him. I am just a fan like you and this page is a review of some of his best work