Three Lions still
9 July 2021-
Music and sports get along famously well. But, beyond the actual anthem singing, certain sports, countries and teams have embraced specific songs as de facto anthems. The UK is one of them...
Before we begin, we should remind everyone that, outside of the US, football is a sport played with your feet rather than your hands, which lasts 90 minutes and can end on a draw. It is what Americans call soccer, as opposed to (American) football, and it constitutes the biggest sport on earth. Just take a look at top Instagram users: the second — and first human — on the list is Cristiano Ronaldo, the biggest star in both the Portuguese soccer team’s and Italy’s Juventus Football Club. Dwayne The Rock Johnson comes next.
Over the years, there have been a number of iconic stadium anthems, including (but not exclusively) associated with soccer. Queen had a couple of stadium-sized classics, The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” chorus makes for great crowd singing… and then you get into more topical fare: Shakira’s 2010 “Waka Waka” to celebrate that year’s soccer world cup in South Africa; France embracing Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with their first world cup win at home in 1998; Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping“, which had its moment in the late 1990’s, especially in the UK… the list goes on.
At the top of that list, at least as far as England is concerned, stands “Three Lions“. In perhaps the most successful case of a song embodying a team or a sport, that one was conceived back in 1996, as the country was about to host the Euro soccer tournament — that very event going on as we speak. To encourage their national team, Lightning Seeds leader Ian Broudie and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner joined forces to come up with an anthem going into the competition. With the line “it’s coming home” repeated as a sort of mantra in the chorus, that song was an instant success — more so than the team it was celebrating: England lost in the semi-finals to Germany, arguably a common feat in the sport.
What is interesting, however, is that the song outlived the event it was designed for and kept being associated with the English soccer team. With the downhill moments that came with it: despite being one of the most established names in the game, the team failed to win and sometimes even qualify to major events in recent years… Until 2021: in a remarkable comeback story, Harry Kane’s men have managed to outsmart everyone on their path to the Euro finals. This Sunday, they will be facing Italy for their first ever win. In London’s Wembley stadium. You can see why people have been singing “Three Lions” in the streets again…