Why Do Certain Songs Become Sporting Anthems?

Why Do Certain Songs Become Sporting Anthems?

Whilst major league artists can carve themselves out a profitable musical career by pleasing their die-hard fans, for true mainstream acceptance it’s clear that they’ll need to reach a significantly larger audience.

And although getting a song on a film, TV show or advert is becoming an established way to sustain a career, there have also been a few notable ways in which some of our musical stars have become unlikely hits in the sporting world too.

From rock bands like Fleetwood Mac becoming synonymous with Formula One through their song ‘The Chain’ being featured on the TV coverage of the motor sport, to The Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions being the sound of Euro 96, it’s evident that sports fans need a good song to rally around.

Many of sport’s musical greats have a strong regional reason as to why they’ve been adopted as a team’s anthem. Gerry and the Pacemaker’s You’ll Never Walk Alone was quickly seized upon by supporters of their hometown team Liverpool and has remained a rallying cry since the early 1960s.

Even indie also-rans like The Fratellis have had their song Chelsea Dagger seized upon by Celtic’s fans, perhaps due more to the repetitive refrain rather than the band’s support for the team or any degree of lyrical prowess.

However, there are a few examples of when an officially selected song can sometimes hit a wrong note. We may all remember Three Lions, but Simply Red’s We’re In This Together was the official song of Euro 96, perhaps displaying the fact that football fans have much better musical taste than UEFA.

And there was even more controversy when an English-language song was chosen for the French national team at the current Euro 16 competition, but with France still playing strong and the odds looking good at the Betway sports betting site, it’s hoped that this musical faux-pas can be overlooked.

But working out which songs will become fan favourites is almost as hard as working out why certain tracks become top of the charts. Although Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger became closely-linked to boxing thanks to its use in the Rocky III movie, it’s transcended such origins to become a go-to for all kinds of combat sports that need an extra shot of adrenaline.

And with Swing Low Sweet Chariot somehow managing to find a way from being a folk song in Oklahoma in the 1860s to becoming an anthem for rugby fans, it shows how a song can end up in the strangest places.

In collaboration with Noah Sparrow

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