On the eve of the latest edition of the greatest show on earth, FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, football fans across the world have begun the countdown. The theme of the game is carried and best exemplified by the theme song adopted every four years.
Theme song was introduced first from the 1962 Chile World Cup. It did not reflect the international spirit then. The anthem that is now an integral attraction of the show, has a long history. Let's take a look into ten stirring ones among the theme songs of World Cup history.
1. The Cup of Life : Ricky Martin (1998)
Sung by the Puerto Rican singer, the music video shot in his own country in 1998 La Copa De La Vida (Spanish for The Cup of Life), is still popular across the world. "The cup of life, this is the one/ Now is the time, don't ever stop...Nothing can hold you back if you really want it" sang Ricky Martin in this one of the most successful songs in his career. Desmond Child composed the lyrics. The music video is still so popular.
2. Celebrate the Day : Herbert Gronemeyer (2006)
"Grab your drums/ Paint your soul/Feel the roar/And celebrate the day/To win again/To never stop finding" says the lyric of the 2006 FIFA World cup held in Germany. German singer Gronemeyer came up with the single that featured Malian musical duo Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, and the song topped the German charts in June that year.
3. El Rock del Mundial : The Ramblers (1962)
This was the first-ever World Cup anthem. It was authored by Jorge Rojas. The anthem did not have any international appeal. It was composed to cheer up the Chilean national team and had parochial football commentary in parts, "Get the rebound, goal, goal, by Chile." The song was released three weeks prior to the tournament and became an instant sensation in South America with millions of copies being sold.
4. To be Number One : Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini
The 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy was represented by the popular Italian song 'Un'estate italiana' (To be Number One in English). Tom Whitlock, Giorgio Moroder wrote the English lyrics and Italian artists Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini gave voice. They also wrote the Italian lyrics for the song that said, "We choose to give it all/ When competition calls/ Time records the victory in our hearts". The video of the song still attracts football fans.
5. Waka Waka : Shakira (2010)
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) was written and composed by Shakira. The pop song was adapted from a 1986 Cameroonian one. Initially FIFA stirred controversy by choosing a Latin American singer over an African one for the Africa hosted tournament. But the music video won success with the attractive cameos of football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. It has made 1.86 billion views on Shakira's private YouTube Channel as of 7 June 2018 and also stands as the 26th most watched video ever on the video sharing site.
6. "World Cup Willie (Where in this World are We Going)": Lonnie Donegan
British skiffle singer Lonnie Donegan sang the anthem for 1966 FIFA tournament in England. A mascot, Willie, was introduced for the first time in this show. Donegan authored the lyrics that depicted the mascot as, "Dressed in red white and blue/He's World Cup Willie/We all love him too". Willie was a lion presenting the typical symbol of the United Kingdom wearing a Union Jack jersey.
7. Hot Hot Hot : Arrow (1986)
Caribbean artist Arrow authored and sang "Hot Hot Hot" for his debut album in 1982. The tropical rhythm with the bits of "Rhum-boom-boom-boom" made an instant success. The long lasting appeal of the song that said "Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!/Keep up the spirit...We need...A fun-da-mental charm" led FIFA to officially adopt it for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The song also became theme song for 1989’s Miss Universe.
8. We are One (Ole Ola) : Pitbull featuring Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte (2014)
With the official anthem of "It's your world, my world, our world today/And we invite the whole world, whole world to play" the 2014 FIFA Brazil World Cup welcomed the world. American rapper Armando Christian Perez known as Pitbull featured the song with American singer Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian Claudia Leitte. The trio co-authored the song along with Thomas Troelsen, Sia, RedOne, Danny Mercer, Luke and Cirkut. It was sung in Spanish, Portuguese and English. The live performance in the opening ceremony gained attention.
9. Wavin' Flag: K'naan (2010)
"Wavin' Flag" was not an officially selected anthem in the South Africa hosted tournament. But the Coca-Cola promoted song written by K'naan, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence. It was sung by Somali-Canadian artist Keinan Abdi Warsame known as K'naan. The song originally was written to inspire the Somelese for freedom aspirations. The edited lyrics for the international audience proved a great success. The song reached one among the top ten in several countries following release. With lyrics like "when i get older/i will be stronger/they'll call me freedom/just like a wavin’ flag" and children in the music video the song created a global appeal.
10. "Futbol": Maryla Rodowicz (1974)
The then West Germany achieved the glory of holding a FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1974. No other anthem of the World Cup has words from so many languages of Polish, English, German, Russia and Spanish. Polish singer and actress Maryla Rodowicz gave vocal to the lyrics of "Football" written by Polish poet Jonasz Kofta.
2018 Russia World Cup
The official song of the latest World Cup was released on Friday. The fast-paced dance tune of "Live it Up" is sung by Puerto Rican singer Nicky Jam. It features American actor, rapper Will Smith and Kosovar singer Era Istrefi. The lyric has been authored by Nicky Jam, Will Smith, Diplo, Era Istrefi. "One life, live it up, 'cause you don't get it twice" says the lyric.
*Pieces published in Chhutir Dine, Prothom Alo print edition, based on the report published in the German-based One Football, has been used to file this article.