When in 1962 the Chilean group Los Ramblers decided to compose a song as support for the local team that played in the FIFA Cup, no one could have imagined, at that moment, that the “Rock of the World Cup” began a tradition that has spread through more than five decades. What have been the best songs dedicated to a Soccer World Cup? PanamericanWorld proposes you to approach each of the official songs associated with the most followed sporting event on the planet.
“THE ROCK OF THE WORLD” – LOS RAMBLERS – CHILE WORLD CUP, 1962
“The Rock of the World” was created by Jorge Rojas, who was the director of Los Ramblers, and the presentation of the song, in the third edition of the Viña del Mar Festival, was a great success. Chile lived intensely a Soccer World Cup that, after 1960’s earthquake, it seemed that the South American country couldn’t host. The organizers’ effort was stronger than anything and, for the fans’ joy, the Chilean team advanced to the semifinal, where it fell against the champion, Brazil; although, later, in the discussion of the third place, a goal by Eladio Rojas, in the 90th minute, gave Chile the bronze medal, its most outstanding position in the history of the World Cups.
“WHERE IN THIS WORLD WE ARE GOING” – LONNIE DONEGAN – ENGLAND WORLD CUP, 1966
In the World Cup where a mascot was used for the first time (Willie the lion), the folk ballad created by Loonie Donegan, recognized as the “King of the Skiffle “, accompanied the English team that achieved its best result in history, by winning the Cup, with Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst as great figures.
“FÚTBOL MÉXICO 70” [“SOCCER MEXICO 70”] – BY ROBERTO DO NASCIMENTO – WORLD CUP IN MEXICO, 1970
This was the anthem of one of the most offensive World Cups of all time, in that event, Brazil lifted for the third time the “Jules Rimet” Cup and Pelé entered the books as the only player who has been in three finals.
“FOOTBALL IS OUR LIFE” – WERNER DREXLER AND JACK – GERMANY WORLD CUP, 1974
As the song of the 1974 World Cup says, in Germany soccer is absolute passion and, surely, the fans effusively celebrated the surprise triumph of the team led by Franz Beckenbauer on Johan Cruyff’s “Clockwork Orange”.
“LA MARCHA DEL MUNDIAL” [“THE MARCH OF THE WORLD CUP”] – ENNIO MORRICONE – ARGENTINA WORLD CUP, 1978
Morricone is one of Hollywood’s iconic composers. His brilliant creations accompanied classic films such as “The Mission” and “Cinema Paradiso” and, although perhaps less well known, Morricone composed the main song of the 1978 Cup: “The March of the World Cup”. For the Argentine national team this event was historic, as it won its first universal title, beating Holland, in extra time, with two goals from Mario Alberto “El Matador” [“The Killer”] Kempes.
“THE WORLD CUP” – PLÁCIDO DOMINGO – SPAIN WORLD CUP, 1982
The Spanish organizers asked the great tenor Placido Domingo to perform the anthem of the 1982 Cup. In this edition, after almost five decades of waiting, Italy climbed again to the top of the podium, thanks to the goals of Paolo Rossi.
“THE WORLD UNITED BY A BALL” – JUAN CARLOS ABARA – MEXICO WORLD CUP, 1986
In the return of the World Cup to Mexico, the official song reflected how the Cup was able to unite nations in a great passion: socccer. Diego Armando Maradona was the great figure of this edition, with his spectacular goals and formidable passes that helped Argentina to add the second champion star in its colorful uniform.
“AN ITALIAN SUMMER” – GIANNA NANNINI AND EDOARDO BENNATO – ITALY WORLD CUP, 1990
This song was well received; although the 1990 World Cup was below expectations, since the goals frequency was the lowest in history. Unified Germany won the contest for the third time, after beating Argentina in the finals, played in Rome.
“GLORYLAND” – DARYL HALL AND SOUNDS OF BLACKNESS – UNITED STATES WORLD CUP, 1994
“Gloryland” was the World Cup song with the largest number of spectators in the stadiums. The song started with a gospel chorus and then went on to a pop melody. In the Romario-Bebeto World Cup, Brazil won the tetra-championship, beating Italy in the penalty shoot-out. The face of the azzurra star, Roberto Baggio, was unforgettable after throwing to the clouds the last shot from the eleven steps.
“THE CUP OF LIFE” – RICKY MARTIN – FRANCE WORLD CUP, 1998
The song performed by the Puerto Rican Ricky Martin probably ranks among the three most sang and danced in the World Cups. The sticky chorus (“go, go, go, alez, alez, alez”) and the union of different rhythms popularized a song that was linked to the victory of France, before its audience, after beating Brazil, in the final game.
“ANTHEM” – VANGELIS – KOREA-JAPAN WORLD CUP, 2002
One of the most famous compositions of the great Vangelis is related to sport: “Chariots of fire” is an icon of sports-themed cinema. The organizers of the 2002 World Cup wanted something similar from the Greek and although “Anthem” didn’t even remotely have the same repercussion, it was an interesting song of a historic World Cup, since for the first time -and until now only occasion- two countries hosted the Cup. Brazil achieved it fifth championship, when winning in the dispute of the title over Germany, with two goals of Ronaldo.
“THE TIME OF OUR LIVES” – IL DIVO AND TONI BRAXTON – GERMANY WORLD CUP, 2006
The song “The Time of Our Lives” was the official of the Germany World Cup; however, the most remembered by all, without a doubt, ended up being “Hips don’t lie”, a union between Shakira and the Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean. It was no coincidence that in the finals’ halftime, won by Italy over France, the Colombian charismatic singer put everyone to dance with her song at the Olympic stadium in Berlin.
“THIS TIME FOR AFRICA” - SHAKIRA – SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP, 2010
Shakira’s “Waka Waka” can be considered the most listened song of the World Cups. The video clip helped much to its diffusion, since several of the stars that were protagonists of the contest appeared in it. Spain won the Cup, with the unforgettable goal of Andrés Iniesta, in extra time, against Holland. Another important song of that World Cup was “Wavin’ Flag”, by K’naan with David Bisbal.
“WE ARE ONE” – PITBULL, JENNIFER LOPEZ AND CLAUDIOA LEITE – BRAZIL WORLD CUP, 2014
The Cuban-born rapper, the sensual Puerto Rican and the explosive Brazilian formed a trio that worked very well in “We are one.” Shakira took advantage of the World Cup context to present another song, perhaps less interesting than her predecessors: “La La La”. Other well-known musicians such as Carlos Santana, Carlos Vives, Wisin and Avicii also had songs linked to the World Cup. Germany added the fourth star to its uniform, after finishing with the Latin American hopes, since first they humiliated Brazil, 7-1, in the semifinals and, later, it overcame Argentina, 1-0, in the finals.
“LIVE IT UP” – Nicky Jam feat. Will Smith & Era Istrefi
“Live It Up” was a song by Nicky Jam featuring rapper Will Smith and Kosovo Albanian singer Era Istrefi. This was the official song of the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia. The track was produced by Diplo, The Picard Brothers, and Free School.