When 2sb relaunched, one of our promises was secret MP3s for subscribers only. We did a few but dropped the ball. Speaking of balls, England plays tomorrow, so let’s revive the “What Rocks Us” tradition with an England World Cup Anthem Spectacular. If you play all these at once, England might have a prayer tomorrow.
Italia’90: New Order:World In Motion
We’ll forget about pre-1990, when the squad itself (e.g. Kevin Keegan) would generally sing the anthem (badly). New Order and comedian/actor/singer Keith Allen changed all that with “World In Motion.” They kept the team involved for some chanting, and let John Barnes rap through the middle. This is not New Order’s best work (It features the Ibiza/House flavor of “Technique” but lacks that album’s sonic depth and creativity), but I bought it when it came out, and it actually had a lot to do with turning me into a soccer fan, so props to them.
Here are all the versions on the CD EP:
World In Motion (mp3)
World In Motion-The B-Side (mp3)
World In Motion-No Alla Violenza Mix (mp3)
World In Motion-Subbuteo Mix (mp3)
World In Motion (Video)
World In Motion (Live Video 1998)
The Result: Impressive, England eliminated in semis by winner Germany, loses consolation match to hosts Italy.
USA’94: England didn’t qualify!
We’re guessing it woulda been Primal Scream with Ian Wright and Matt LeTissier, and the song would have been called “Lion-Hearted World”
England’96: Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds:Three Lions
Originally recorded for the ’96 Euro Championships, Three Lions found new life when it was re-recorded with new lyrics for 1998, and the France’98 official song (below) turned out to be so bad. A bit overproduced, but so totally English-sounding, and one of the better, and more enduring, songs of the bunch. It’s also the most optimistic of the songs– where the others talk about the brotherhood of man and “you can do it,” this one pretty much takes it for granted that “it’s coming home.” Probably because the Euro’96 tournament was actually in England, but in the context of France’98, it sounded so sure of itself.
Three Lions (mp3)
Three Lions (video)
France’98: England United (Spice Girls/Ocean Colour Scene/Echo and the Bunnymen): (How Does it Feel to Be) On Top of the World
I remember hearing about this, but never heard it until just now. It managed to offend Spice Girls, Bunnymen, AND soccer fans, and the re-issued version of “Three Lions” (above) easily topped it in the charts. Keith Allen (of “World in Motion” fame) was back, with Damien Hirst and the bassist out of Blur, calling themselves “Fat Les” and putting out Vindaloo, which is a great anthem, even if it was meant to be an oikish parody of football anthems. Chumbawamba’s song “Top of the World” (they got the title right) was described as “better than the Spice Girls song, but not much.”
On Top of the World (video)
On Top of the World (Live TV video)
The Result: Luckless England meets Argentina in the round of 16, and loses a historic ugly-but-tight game in penalty kicks.
Japan/Korea’02: Ant & Dec:We’re on the Ball
We couldn’t find this one, and it seems generally unloved despite reaching number 3 on the charts. No fewer than 9 World Cup songs made the charts in ’02, including (again) a repackaged “Three Lions” (#16), and another dozen were recorded but didn’t chart. The de-facto anthems became Ricky Martin’s shitty Cup of Life and JXL’s remix of Elvis’ A Little Less Conversation.
The Result: Not bad, England finishes behind Sweden in group and makes it to the Quarterfinals, but gets eliminated by winner Brazil.
Germany’06: Embrace:World at Your Feet
Football fans and music lovers were so disappointed with this boring crapfest that, as in 2002, several ‘alternate’ anthems surfaced, most notably Sham69 and Graham Coxon’s sophomoric-but-rather-great “People’s Anthem” Hurry Up England, which is far more optimistic, and rhymes “John Terry” with “Wemberly.” Crazy Frog has a new single out too, but we’ll spare you that, or Wreckless Eric’s, or any of the other dozen contributions.
World At Your Feet (mp3)
World At Your Feet (Video)
Hurry Up England (mp3)
The Result:We shall see! Hopefully the quality of the song is inversely related to the quality of the football.
Thanks a million to Lucash and Cy for all their help on this, sorry I didn’t post it earlier. Everyhit.com has a bit about what songs were on the british charts for every world cup, including an exhaustive list of each World Cup’s official and unofficial England anthems and their chart positions.