A bit of a change of pace today. Instead of looking at traditional club songs as I have over the past few weeks, I'm instead going to be looking at another instance in which music and football have met. This will be the first of several posts of this kind, probably done every fortnight or so.
To kick things off, here's New Order with their standalone UK number 1 single, "World In Motion".
Written for the England national team's 1990 World Cup campaign, the track also features several members of the squad, including an unforgettable rapped verse from striker John Barnes.
Comedian Keith Allen co-wrote the song, tentatively titled "E For England" before it was released. This was soon altered however, after concerns were raised by the Football Association (FA) that it could be interpreted as promoting the drug ecstasy.
It was also re-released for the 2002 World Cup campaign, with David Beckham planned to perform the rap section. Unfortunately, the FA again refused. The song did nowhere near as well upon it's second release, this time unable to even break into the Top 40. A remix was also planned for release to coincide with the 2006 campaign but the track never surfaced.
The track also samples the legendary "They Think It's All Over" quote courtesy of commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, during the England/Germany final in 1966. Other quotes are also used from that successful campaign, taken from the documentary 'Goal!'.
"They Think It's All Over":
Geoff Hurst's winning goal in the 1966 World Cup Final
(photo from The Daily Mail)
Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest and most famous football-related songs to date, largely thanks to the fact that, musically, it doesn't sound like a football song at all. It's classic New Order, from the electronic drum loops down to the trademark synth leads that give it that distinct 80's feel. Frontman Bernard Summer also manages to make some pretty awful lyrics (see "You know you can win/ Don't give up the chase") seem vaguely respectable, his liquid vocals oozing ease and effortlessness.
And then we come to the players' involvement. Paul Gascoigne and co. all join in for the chorus and backing chants, surprisingly not half bad. It gives the track an uplifting feel, embodying the spirit of togetherness. "Yes, we can win it!" it makes you think, despite being very cheesy indeed.
Speaking of cheesy, enter John Barnes. The former Watford and Liverpool striker has a decent flow to his style, although he certainly doesn't help himself with the lyrics. "There's only one way to beat them/ Get round the back/ Catch me if you can/ 'Cos I'm the England man" easily the standout.
The track rounds itself off with the classic "EN-GER-LAND!" chant that has reverberated around football stadiums for decades. It's a rousing and befitting end to, quite simply, a fantastic showcase of footballers turning to music. Stick to your day jobs boys.
Thanks for reading!