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Chalk Dust - The Umpire Strikes Back

Chalk Dust - The Umpire Strikes Back is a 1982 novelty song by The Brat, which was a collective pseudonym for British comedians Kaplan Kaye and Roger Kitter. The song satirizes tennis champion John McEnroe who was notorious for his temper tantrums. It managed to reach number 19 in the British hit parade in July 1982.[1] Its B-side was a track named "Moody Mole".[2]

The songEdit

"Chalk Dust – The Umpire Strikes Back" is a satire of American tennis player John McEnroe and lampoons his infamous angry behaviour on the tennis court to a synthesizer beat. The entire song is a conversation between McEnroe (played by Roger Kitter) and the referee (played by Kaplan Kaye). They bicker and bicker until the referee finally loses his patience and just shoots McEnroe dead. The line "The ball's in, everyone can see that the ball's in!" was an actual quotation McEnroe used to shout. As McEnroe dies in the song his final words are: "I was talking to myself!", which also a genuine excuse the real-life McEnroe used whenever a referee scolded him for being insulted.[3] The title is a pun on the film The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and the tennis term umpire. Released on the Hansa label,[2] the single entered the UK Singles Chart on 10 July 1982. It reached a peak of number 19, and remained in the chart for 8 weeks.[3] The song was a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa too.


  1. ^ 'What becomes of the one-hit wonders?' - The Guardian
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b Rice, Tim; Rice, Jonathan; Gambaccini, Paul (1990), Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness World Records and Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-398-8