Although the tradition of official World Cup songs originated in Chile in 1962 with the track "El Rock del Mundial" by Los Ramblers, it was not until 1998 when the host country France hired Latin sensation Ricky Martin that they became the phenomenon they are today. His song "Copa de la Vida" debuted as No. 1 on the United States charts, which inspired all subsequent host countries to pick a fun, catchy tune for the World Cup moving forward. As the kick-off time for Russia 2018 creeps ever closer let us revisit some of the hit songs of previous World Cups. In this list you will find some of the "greatest" World Cup songs from the history of the event. Some of these are official songs chosen by FIFA or the host nation, some are productions sponsored by Coca Cola to and some that either support a team or simply the work of an artist celebrating the coming together of nations for the "Beautiful Game". Over the years, there have been some stunners and some shockers, official and unofficial, anthems and albums. Listen to these historic World Cup anthems, some paired with video of footage of beautiful games past and let us know what your ranking of best world cup song would be.
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After it was announced as the official song for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" by Shakira initially received some negative reactions. The greatest criticism of this catchy number was that the official song for the first World Cup in Africa should ideally have been sung by an African singer. However, once the criticism of Shakira taking the spotlight away from African artists died down, the song became a global hit that transcended the time of the 2010 World Cup. The song has positive lyrics making it a happy and passionate song and the music video is so colorful and vivid that it makes you want to sing along to this tune while doing the "Waka Waka" dance! The video also has historical footage of many of the greats from the past – Ronaldo, Zidane, Messi, Maradona, Pele and Baggio. The song finishes with the words: “We’re all Africa” signifying the world coming together for the World Cup. The music video is still one of the most-watched videos of all time on YouTube. The popularity of this 'most-listened-to' World Cup song ever hints at the massive power of that songs associated with the World Cup has.
For their 2010 World Cup campaign Coca-Cola chose Somali-Canadian artist K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag" from his popular album "Troubadour". The song's lyrics originally talked about growing up in war torn Somalia and aspiring for freedom but was adapted into a "Celebration Mix" to recognize the first World Cup in Africa. Apart from the inspirational lyrics, the song boasted a catchy tune and K'naan's authentic earthy vocals, which made it an instant hit around the world. While this was not the official World Cup theme (the honor of which was given to Shakira's "Waka Waka"), Wavin' Flag was adopted by football fans around the world. The celebratory international version reached the top ten in more than 20 different charts around the world. Many bilingual versions of the Celebration Mix have also been made, for use in each of their respective countries and feature stars like David Bisbal, Nancy Ajram and Jacky Cheung. These versions have gone on to become hits of their own, which goes to show why this song is one of the best World Cup songs of all time.
Before releasing pop behemoth "Livin' La Vida Loca", Ricky Martin recorded the official song of France 98 - The Cup of Life ("La Copa de la Vida" in Spanish). Both the English and Spanish versions did very well all over the world. This extremely catchy Latin-flavoured tune caught the public's imagination as it went to No. 1 in several countries. Australia, for example, couldn't get enough of it as it stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks and was the most popular song of 1998. It almost seemed like Ricky Martin was talking about something other than football in this song. But his rousing carnavalesque screamer brought soccer anthems to a new level when it made charts worldwide and officially set off the so-called Latin music explosion when he performed it on the Grammys. All of this makes this song a Classic, and forever timeless World Cup tune.
Although 2014 official Coca Cola World Cup song "The World is Ours" has several versions that have garnered huge popularity on Youtube and elsewhere on the internet, "La Copa de Todos" featuring the popular Mexican singer Paty Cantu and the former "Wisin y Yandel" front-man Wisin is definitely one of the most popular. This version put together by Wisin himself channels the good vibes and party spirit of "futbol" and the World Cup. His take on the track adds some nice hip-hop elements and heavy thumping beats that every "Wisin y Yandel" fan appreciates. This version of the song features both English and Spanish lyrics, and the guest vocals from the always beautiful Paty Cantu just makes the song all the more memorable.
Anthem by Oscar-Winning Composer Vangelis was the theme music for 2002 FIFA World Cup held in South Korea and Japan. The single was commercially successful in Japan, being certified platinum for sales of over 100,000 copies. The single reached #89 position in the UK single charts and received the "Song of the Year" award by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Several versions of the song including an orchestral and synthesizer rendition were included in the official soundtrack Fever Pitch and The Official Album of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The song mainly has two parts, the second of which is more popular as it signified the beginning of every match in the World Cup. The first part starts of somber and gives way to the drumbeats that reveals the celebratory crescendo that fans love.
"Sign of a Victory" is a song by American singer R. Kelly, featuring the South African gospel choir Soweto Spiritual Singers. It was the official anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Released on June 6 for digital download, the song received generally positive critical reception, and became a minor hit. It was later included on Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album, released on May 31 and in Kelly's compilation album Epic. "Sign of a Victory" was performed by R. Kelly and the Soweto Spiritual Singers at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off concert in Soweto on June 10, 2010.
Coca-Cola joined forces with internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, to launch ‘The World is Ours’ – a mash up of a newly written and recorded Aloe Blacc song combined with lyrics and sounds from the original version of ‘The World Is Ours’ by David Correy and Monobloco. The beat for ‘The World is Ours’ by Aloe Blacc and David Correy captures the spirit and excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and host country, Brazil, while the lyrics express messages of inclusivity, celebration and happiness.
Like many other famous performers around the world, Maltese superstar and Eurovision runner up Ira Losco also collaborated with David Correy for an English version of "The World is Ours" song. If you have not yet checked out this official Mycoke Malta Coca Cola take of the 2014 World Cup song, you are missing out on one of its best renditions!
"Oh Africa" was Akon's hit charity single featuring Keri Hilson that was featured in the "Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album:. The song was released to raise funds for Akon's charity 'Konfidence' to aid underprivileged children in Africa. The Soweto Gospel Choir and young singers from many countries are also featured on the single. The footballers Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Kaká, Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Andrei Arshavin also make cameo appearances in the music video.
"Colors", by Jason Derulo is the Coca-Cola anthem for the 2018 World Cup tournament, and hits all the right notes, making unity among all the people in the world a centerpiece of both the lyrics and the video. Jason Derulo is no stranger to delivering catchy, uptempo hits, and "Colors" is no exception. The music video was shot in both Miami and Haiti, featuring a strong international presence, with flags from all around the globe. The video was helmed by Gil Green and includes Wyclef Jean on the guitar. It features people coming together with dance and football in front of beautiful scenery from The Citadel Laferriére, a mountain-top fortress in Haiti.
Before releasing pop behemoth "Livin' La Vida Loca," Ricky Martin recorded the official song of France 98 - The Cup of Life. The extremely catchy Latin-flavoured tune caught the public's imagination as it went to No. 1 in several countries. Australia, for example, couldn't get enough of it as it stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks and was the most popular song of 1998. It seemed like Ricky Martin was talking about something other than football in this song. But his rousing carnavalesque screamer brought soccer anthems to a new level when it made charts worldwide and officially set off the so-called Latin music explosion when he performed it on the Grammys. All of this makes this song a Classic, and forever timeless World Cup tune.
"La La La (Brazil 2014)" was released on 27 May as the second theme song for the 2014 World Cup. This was Shakira's second time singing a theme song for the FIFA World Cup (the first being in 2010). The song included new lyrics and features Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown. The version was praised by music critics and fared well commercially. An accompanying video was directed by Shakira's long time collaborator Jaume de Laiguana, the music video is influenced by Afro-Brazilian heritage and tribal imagery and features cameos from a variety of football players including Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Agüero, Radamel Falcao, James Rodríguez and Eric Abidal, Shakira's boyfriend Gerard Piqué and their son Milan.
Although he was eliminated in the finals of The X-Factor in the U.S., David Correy bounced back with nothing less than the official Coca-Cola song for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country of his birth. Brazilian percussion ensemble Monobloco initially collaborated with Brazilian-born producer Mario Caldato, Jr. to record the song’s rhythm tracks, which the popular songwriting team Rock Mafia then used to craft the lyrics and melody. And Correy’s rousing vocals were the final ingredient to this mix. “The World is Ours” – fuses Correy’s soaring pop vocals with samba, baile funk and technobraga rhythms and exposes football and music fans around the world to the signature sounds of Brazil. It became a hit with World Cup viewers and is undoubtedly one of the most memorable features of the 2014 tournament.
To express their excitement for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, music stars DJ Smash, Polina Gagarina and Egor Kreed put together 'Team 2018', an upbeat track that celebrates the competition and good sportsmanship, with a healthy dose of national team support. Released together with social project #Live, an initiative focused on overcoming social barriers, Team 2018 is not just about football: in true wholesome fashion, the song applauds teamwork in all spheres of life.
"Hot Hot Hot" is a song written and first recorded by Montserratian musician Arrow, featured on his 1982 studio album, Hot Hot Hot. The song became an instant dance floor hit and was later covered by artists around the world, most notably in 1987 by American singer David Johansen under the name Buster Poindexter. The song was also the theme song of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and is about as timeless of a song as you could ask for.
Originally titled Samba de Janeiro, this is Samba at its best and a video interspersed with some fantastic footage of Brazil’s previous World Cup winning teams is one of the more popular tunes that accompanied the 1998 World Cup.
"Dar um Jeito" (We Will Find a Way) was a 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem performed by singer Carlos Santana and Wyclef Jean featuring Avicii and Alexandre Pires. The song was Executive Produced and co-written by Arnon Woolfson who was the brainchild of the project. It is an official anthem for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with one verse in English and the other in Portuguese, and is track number 2 on the album "One Love, One Rhythm" – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album. The song peaked at number 14 in US Hot Dance Club Songs.
Italia 90 will forever be intrinsically linked with Pavarotti's epic version of "Nessun Dorma," but the official song from that year was actually "Un'estate Italiana (To Be Number One)" by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini. This ode to the "magic nights following a goal under the sky of an Italian summer." was originally composed by Girgio Moroder, as "An Italian Summer". This Italian version is possibly one of the most passionately performed World Cup songs ever and reached No. 1 in the charts in Italy and Switzerland.
'A Special Kind Of Hero' by Stephanie Lawrence is certainly inspired by ABBA and deftly balances the sappiness and sentimentality that was typical of World Cup songs at the time.
American singer Anastacia, who burst onto the pop music scene in the early 2000s, was, by all measure, an unlikely choice to sing the official World Cup song of Japan/Korea 2002. Anastacia's song "Boom" appears to have absolutely nothing to do with football, but it was selected as one of the official anthems for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. It failed to make much of an impact in the charts anywhere in the world, but it did manage to reach No. 5 in Belgium. Although 'Boom' is not as catchy as her most popular electronic-soul fusion number “I’m outta love”, it is still a fairly pleasing dance number though the link to football seems very tenuous, despite the music video featuring football.
One could have expected a little more swing from Daryl Hall, but this metaphorical tribute with Sounds of Blackness does not fail to touch the heart.
Following in the footsteps of ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’ performed by Pitbull and Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’, Diplo produced this lively song to fill the stadiums around Russia with a lively atmosphere that is sure to bring fans together. The artists of this song came together through Will Smith's friendship with Latino artist Nicky Jam, who has previously worked with the likes of Enrique Iglesias and Daddy Yankee - and it has led to the pair getting in the studio in Budapest to produce this upbeat track.
Anyone who has heard "Timber" knows the sheer star-power that Pitbull brings to any song he is featured in. On top of that if you put Jennifer Lopez into the mix, you get one of the most watched World Cup songs of all time. Although it generally received positive reviews from critics, initially the song received some negative reactions from Brazilians over its lack of Brazilian feeling. To change that, another version was also released and the music changed slightly to fit Afro Brazilian group Olodum's style of drumming - that version being the one that was used in the music video for the song. "We Are One" has experienced commercial success, reaching the top 20 in countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and World Cup's host country, Brazil.
World in Motion is the glorious soundtrack to the Italia 90's World Cup campaign, that remains England’s greatest since 1966. With the exception of "Three Lions," an England song has not come close to matching this 1990 World Cup anthem, written by New Order and Keith Allen. Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Des Walker and Steve McMahon also make an appearance, mumbling along to the video wondering what they are doing. The mid-song rap break delivered by John Barnes is the best thing in it – and shows maybe the Liverpool legend missed his true calling. It contains the phrase: “We ain’t no hooligans, this ain’t no football song, Three lions on my chest, I know we can’t go wrong”. The original reached No. 1 in the charts upon its initial release in May 1990, but the re-release for the 2002 World Cup failed to break the Top 40.
"El Rock del Mundial" is the original FIFA World Cup anthem that started it all – so depending on how you feel about World Cup songs you are either very grateful or very angry at Los Ramblers, the icons of the Chilean new wave. The Chilean rock band, who are still performing today after more than fifty years, sang this rockabilly anthem accented with hand claps and referee's whistles. The song itself sounds like a South American version of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up”, although this was written seven years before Presley’s classic, perhaps it was the King who was inspired by this early pop-rock chart-topper, which sold around 900,000 copies of this single 45 RPM record, a record for the time! The film clip too is pure vintage with highlights of Chile’s previous World cup campaigns. Most of all, how can you not like a song that has the chorus “Goooool, Gooool Chile”?
Lonnie Donegan - the man who brought us "My Old Man's a Dustman" provided the official song for the 1966 World Cup. The King of Skiffle recorded this novelty song dedicated to the mascot of the 1966 World Cup in England. "World Cup Willie" starts off like a song you would expect to hear in the background in an episode of Boardwalk Empire and goes on to suggest that the eponymous tournament mascot is the favorite to win the World Cup.
"Together Now" is a collaboration between French composer/producer Jean Michel Jarre, and the Japanese composer/producer Tetsuya Komuro. It was the France 1998 FIFA World Cup theme song. Olivia was the vocalist and the lyricist for this song. Together Now also features as Track 15 for "Music Of The World Cup: Allez! Ola! Ole!". However, the single was only retailed in Japan. Surprisingly, despite both Olivia and Tetsuya Komuro being under Avex, the single itself was released under SMEJ. The single reached #32 on Oricon charts and charted for #10 weeks.
Before his career reboot with Daft Punk to produce the sound of the summer, Giorgio Moroder composed "To be number one", a World Cup song that fit right into the metal era that had just preceded it. With lyrics by Tom Whitlock, this song set the tune for the 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy.
Soulful Polish singer and actress Maryla Rodowicz tore up this song at the 1974 World Cup Opening Ceremony in Munich. The lyrics are primarily Polish but there are also some German and Spanish lines thrown in for good measure. Overall Maryla's effort is mad, quintessentially German and would have actually made a decent entry for Eurovision.
Oscar winning composer Ennio Morricone's marching band instrumental performed by the Buenos Aires Municipal Orchestra references the pomp of the ceremony with a pleasant but less-than-celebratory undertone.
Many World Cup songs attempt to fuse musical styles and languages into one big melting pot, but the official song of the 1982 tournament in Spain was instantly recognizable as a direct product of the home nation. Placido Domingo was one of the Three Tenors, who uses his classically trained voice with aplomb on this track.
"Nessun dorma" ("None shall sleep") is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot and one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. Although "Nessun dorma" has long been a staple of operatic recitals, Luciano Pavarotti popularized the piece beyond the opera world in the 1990s following his performance of it for the 1990 World Cup. Pavarotti released singles of the aria that topped charts in the United Kingdom, and it appeared on the best selling classical album of all time, The Three Tenors in Concert. Since that time, many crossover artists have performed and recorded it and the aria continues to be sung often in movies and on television.
Belgian singer/songwriter and activist joined Youssou N'Dor for this humanitarian hymn.
England headed to Mexico in 1970 with a strong belief that they could win back-to-back World Cups—not only did they have an even stronger squad than four years previously, but they were sent on their way to the very merry tune of "Back Home." Having penned the UK’s first ever Eurovision winner (Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String), Bill Martin and Phil Coulter were tasked with writing England’s first-ever official World Cup theme tune. Recorded for the 1970 World Cup – a tournament where England entered as reigning champions, of course – Back Home might didn’t win any awards for vocal ability. But, the England squad gave it their all on a jaunty tune that topped the UK charts, and was later given a second lease of life by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel’s Fantasy Football League.
Knocked out in the second round of the 1982 World Cup, England’s squad failed to deliver on the promise of its optimistic and annoyingly infectious theme. But, written by the man behind Kevin Keegan’s unlikely foray into the pop charts (Head Over Heels), This Time We’ll Get It Right very nearly reached number one. In fact, only the mighty pairing of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s Ebony and Ivory kept it off the top spot.
Although it was not the official anthem for the 1998 World Cup in France, "Top of the World (Olé, Olé, Olé)" appeared as part of the tournament's official album. Perhaps better known for their classic "Tubthumping," British anarcho-punk band Chumbawamba did a great job of tossing a 1990s twist on the "Olé, Olé, Olé" chant that can be heard at football stadiums around the world.
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