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Co-writer of famous sporting chant, “Na na na na…. Goodbye,” dies.

October 25, 2011

Paul Leka, co-writer of the song which spawned one of sport’s most famous chants, “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)”, has died.

The songwriter and producer, who penned the tune with Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer, lost his battle with lung cancer at a hospice near his home in Sharon, Connecticut on 12 October, aged 68.

The now infamous song was first due to be released as a B-side to a 1969 record by DeCarlo, under its original name “Kiss Him Goodbye”.

But the “na na hey hey” was added to lengthen the piece from two minutes to four, as a means of ensuring radio DJ’s played DeCarlo’s A-side.

Leka was quoted in Fred Bronson’s book, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, saying: “I started writing while I was sitting at the piano, going ‘na na na na, na na na na…’

“Everything was ‘na-na’ when you didn’t have a lyric.”

However, the record company liked the song so much, they decided to release it as an A-side, and the anthem hit number one in America in December 1969.

But it took until 1977 for the lyrics to begin their ascent into sporting folklore, when Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust began using them as a way of poking fun at visiting fans.

As a result, the line which Leka helped ink, adapted to “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey… goodbye”, has now been echoed around sporting venues, in both America and the UK, for 44 years.