We already have World Cup fever over here and it is beginning to drive the neighbors batty. We have the steady drone of stadium horns going on in our head when we wake in the morning and can’t help but hear “olé, olé, olé, olé…olé, olé” as we try to tuck in to sleep (or maybe that is the sound of the boys playing football out front). And just in time, the new 15 track record – 17 on the bonus edition – One Love One Rhythm – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album was released on May 8th, by Sony Music Entertainment.
The official theme songs are those adopted for use as warm-ups to the event, to accompany the championships during the event and as a souvenir reminder of the events. The songs chosen are usually multilingual using a combination of English, the official language of the organizing country for that year, as well as other world languages, most notably Spanish. Though it might take years for me to still decipher what the difference is between “We Are One (Olé Ola)”, The Official FIFA World Cup Song, and “Dar Um Jeito (We Will Find a Way),” The Official 2014 World Cup Anthem (to say nothing of “Tatu de Bola”, The Official 2014 FIFA Mascot Song), the reality is it doesn’t matter much: you are going to be hearing them for the next month (or few), so get ready. We have scoured the annals of World Cup history—and the occasional Billboard Music chart—to come up with these top 5 songs ever to be made for this quadrennial event.
And, though they did not make our list, as frankly the song is not a very good one, we give an honorable mention shout-out to English band, New Order, for their offering (though not an official song of FIFA, it was England’s official song in 1990) “World in Motion”. Here are the top 5 songs of World Cup history…
#5 World Cup Willy – Lonnie Donegan, England 1966
If you don’t know what Skiffle is don’t let the “Skiffle King” steer you wrong with this novelty song—it’s actually pretty cool. Still, for his 1966 song dedicated to the mascot of the World Cup in England, you will be hard pressed to find a funnier novelty tune about a World Cup mascot.
#4 The Cup of Life – Ricky Martin, France 1998
I know, Ricky Martin?! We didn’t want him on here either, but the boy did cause a worldwide sensation with this song, so what could we do? This song brought football 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.
#3 Wavin’ Flag – K’naan South Africa 2010 (Unofficial)
K’naan’s celebratory version of his uplifting song inspired by the stories of refugees was used in Coca-Cola’s 2010 World Cup campaign. Not an official World Cup theme, but was subsequently adopted by football fans around the world. It’s got a nice feel to it, the video is full of kids playing football…what’s not to like?
#2 El Rock del Mundial – Los Ramblers, Chile 1962
I don’t know who these guys are, but this is a serious tune. The Chilean rock band, Los Ramblers, who are still performing today after more than fifty years, sang this rockabilly anthem accented with handclaps and refs’ whistles. This is the kind of song that would be good whether it is a World Cup song or not.
#1 Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – Shakira, featuring Freshly Ground South Africa 2010
If there is one time of the year that cultural appropriation is encouraged, it is World Cup time! Once the criticism of Shakira taking the spotlight away from African artists died down, however, the song became a global hit that transcended the time of the mundial. It is now the sixth most-watched video of all time on YouTube. The popularity of the most listened to World Cup song ever hints at the massive power of songs associated with 2014 Brazil could have. (No, Fozzie Bear of The Muppets fame is not featured on the Waka track).
These top World Cup Songs are from the 2014 bazaar magazine World Cup mix tape! Make your own copies accordingly!