The World Cup Brings the Music!

The World Cup is winding down again, and with that comes time for reflection on this year’s World Cup and previous years’. What better way to do so than to look back at the songs that defined World Cups of years past?

For 2018, the official song was Live it Up by Nicky Jam, ft Will Smith and Era Istrefi. It’s a lively song reminiscent of Latin and Reggeaton cross-over hits from recent years such as Despacito and any number of Daddy Yankee or J Balvin songs. Live it Up has a rap interlude courtesy of Will Smith, perhaps hitting on the 90s nostalgia sweeping the Western world in 2018.

But what about the first ever World Cup Song? That title goes to El Rock del Mundial by Los Ramblers, back in 1962. El Rock del Mundial is an Elvis-esque rock-and-roll song sung in Spanish with jazzy horn and guitar riffs throughout. The title roughly translates to “World Rock”, and was an early attempt at a unifying theme to bring multiple countries and teams together.

The second World Cup Song was maybe a little too on-the-nose: World Cup Willie seems bizarre to modern ears, reminiscent of novelty songs of the late 1960s or perhaps the Sergent Pepper-era Beatles. Though perhaps the oddest thing is that this song may be making a comeback! According to an article on, streaming service Deezer has chosen the song to be England’s “secret weapon” in the 2018 World Cup. According to the article,

Deezer has urged listeners to get behind the English team by “encouraging Brits to sing along to Lonnie Donegan’s World Cup Willie, the soundtrack to England’s win in 1966. A survey of 1,000 England supporters, commissioned by Deezer in celebration of its new Football Fever channel, reveals 60 per cent believe an official song has a positive effect on the national team. By reclaiming and singing along to Donegan’s anthem, England could get some much needed luck this tournament.”

Some World Cup songs have even gone on to gain fame apart from the tournament. Arrow’s Hot, Hot, Hot was a theme of the 1986 World Cup, though most today know it from as a cover by Buster Poindexter in 1987. Just try not to get this one stuck in your head!


What is your favorite World Cup song? Tell us in the comments!



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