Super hit “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey” writer Paul Leka dies
Admit it. You’ve sung ‘Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey…Goodbye’ for years, right. Whatever the event, mostly sports, when the opposing player or team is beaten, get kicked out, or leaves for any reason, the crowd starts singing Na Na Na Na……..! It has become a sort of sports anthem.
I have the sad duty to report that songwriter and producer Paul Leka, who wrote the chorus of the song ‘Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),’ died of lung cancer on October 12 near his home in Sharon, Connecticut. He was 68 years old.
It’s really a wonderful story of how ‘Kiss Him Goodbye’ came to be, accidentally.
Leka and co-writer Gary DeCarlo made it a B side of another song. They wanted to make sure the A side got played, so they kept adding nonsense words, ‘na na na na’ and ‘hey hey’ to fill up space. Back in the 60’s if a song was too long it wouldn’t get played on the radio and with the additional words it ran over four minutes.
Guess what? It got played by radio anyway and reached number 1 in 1969. Go figure. Who even remembers what the “A” side was. Several years went by, and then in 1977, an organist for the Chicago White Sox started playing it to taunt opposing teams, and a sports anthem was born.
Leka wasn’t exactly a one-hit-wonder. He wrote and produced ‘Green Tambourine,’ a 1967 number one hit for the psychedelic soft-rock band the Lemon Pipers, signed REO Speedwagon to its first record contract, and produced four Harry Chapin albums.
Here’s Steam with ‘Kiss Him Goodbye’ from the 60’s.