To get you psyched up for Wednesday’s U.S.-Algeria game (7 a.m. ESPN) as well as the England-Slovakia game at the same time on ESPN2 this seemed an apt post.
(The new unofficial U.S. World Cup anthem is at the bottom of the post, but I warn you – you’re going to miss a lot of um, frankly awful music, if you skip ahead).
If there’s one reason to celebrate American soccer’s lack of mainstream acceptance it’s this: no lame World Cup songs.
It’s been a tradition in England, my homeland, ever since 1966 when the well-meaning, but misfiring (on this occasion) skiffle star Lonnie Donegan produced this little ditty:
It went downhill from there.
For a while it was all the rage to have English footballers singing songs, a terrible idea to start with, but we can thank early Chelsea (“Blue is the Color”) and Tottenham Hotspur (the immortal “Nice One Cyril”) squads for that. These, um, hits that raced up the charts when I was growing up in England.
Naturally, the England World Cup squad joined the trend with this stirring number in 1982:
The name of this song was the kiss of death to England’s World Cup hopes. Obviously, they didn’t get it right (that time).
The high point of football-oriented songs came in 1990 when New Order recorded “World in Motion,” which featured a rapping John Barnes. Brilliant!
And they went into it with the right attitude:
“We thought it was the worst idea of all time,” drummer Stephen Morris told FourFourTwo. “(The late) Tony Wilson, the Factory records boss, suggested it. we suggested our careers might soon be over. A football record? How do you write one of those without it being absolute rubbish? Every football song ever is totally naff.”
Except their song:
Which brings us to Weezer’s unofficial 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team-supporting effort. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo is a soccer player and fan – he’s played in the Mia Hamm charity game at Home Depot Center the past few years – so gets the mandatory anthemic terrace-singing retro vibe. And it rocks, too:
ESPN really should play it before kickoff.
Bonus! At the risk of leaving a bad taste in the mouth (ear) this England World Cup 2010 candidate song is a guilty pleasure. Singing and dancing construction workers? Yes: