Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, you can’t deny the catchiness of some of the football-inspired tunes out there, or even just tracks affectionately adopted by some of our favourite teams. Our writers celebrate a few of their favourites here!
K’NAAN – ‘Wavin’ Flag’
Originally written as a song for Somalia as an anthem of freedom and happiness, singer-songwriter K’NAAN‘s ‘Wavin’ Flag’ became a tune connoted with football and celebrations after being popularised at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in host country South Africa.
The track, taken as a promotional song by Coca-Cola instantly became a worldwide phenomenon, reaching across all corners of the globe who tuned into the event. Its reggae fusion style differed greatly from what usually hit the charts, but reaching the Top 100 for a world music track shows just how impactful K’NAANs original tune was. It even prompted a wealth of alternative versions, such as a Spanish cover, a version with will.i.am and David Guetta and many other country-specific versions.
‘Wavin’ Flags’ ‘Coca-Cola Celebration Mix’ will always be a memorable tune with its connections grounded in the football celebrations of groups worldwide. The track was altered to fit the “beautiful game”, yet it is a brilliant tune to promote peace and prosperity amongst everyone and anyone, holding its place as a top sports anthem for many.
‘Wavin’ Flag’ is available to listen to now via Interscope Records.
Shakira – ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’
Despite the controversy that usually surrounds ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’, there’s no denying it’s an absolute beast of an anthem. Teaming with energy, powerful lyrics and genuine drive behind it to get you up and ready, this football world cup anthem became popular even for those who don’t like football (myself included). Distinctly unique for using native African instruments and infused with the life of Soca music, ‘Waka Waka’ celebrated football in a beautiful way that brought into focus the many cultures of Africa. What’s most remarkable though are its lyrics which compare footballers to soldiers with lines like: “you’re a good soldier, choosing your battles, pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and back in the saddle.” In a great use of lyric writing, Shakira attaches the importance that football has around the world while imbuing it with a cultural sensibility. While Shakira may not be African herself, she certainly brings a slice of the beauty of Africa in her short song.
‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’ is available to listen to now via Sony Music.
Tina Turner – ‘The Best’
This is a very untraditional football anthem and was not directly made for or by the football industry, however it’s an iconic anthem sung by Glasgow Rangers fans. In the 1990s, Rangers won 9 titles in a row leading to the supporters adopting ‘The Best’ by Tina Turner as their anthem. When Rangers win important games, beat their rivals Celtic, or simply whilst playing Celtic, fans can be heard in Ibrox Stadium (Rangers Football Stadium) or pubs across Scotland chanting “Simply the best, better than all the rest”. A campaign led by Rangers fans made the 1988 song reach the UK top 10 singles charts in 2006 to commemorate Rangers 53rd title win. As a born and raised Rangers fan, this tune has become a family anthem and a song that I was born and raised on.
‘The Best’ is available to listen to now via Parlophone Records.