Fans are the life blood of sport across the world, and when they all come together in one place to support their team it can create a unique atmosphere. Popular songs can often be taken by these fans and turned into chants to back their team, or a song can become synonymous with a sport as an anthem. Here is a look at 8 of those classic sports songs.
“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
Written and recorded by Neil Diamond before being released in 1969, “Sweet Caroline” became a cult classic years after it entered the charts. The song was borrowed by countless sports team fans over the years. In 1997, it was played at a Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball game at Fenway Park. It has been played in the 8th inning ever since. Diamond himself even performed live at Fenway Park on the opening night of the 2010 season. It has since been used by a number of other supporter groups to motivate their teams. In 2013, the song was used as a tribute for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Since then, it has grown in popularity with sports fans all over the world. Fans at ringside have been seen regularly singing along to the song at major boxing fights, particularly in Britain. It has become so infectious that it has transcended into other sports including rugby, cricket, and tennis.
“Chase the Sun” by Planet Funk
Darts has long been a sport that has enjoyed a raucous cult following of fans. The rise of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) since its inception in 1992 has seen the sport move to another level. Revenues have increased and the profile of the sport is bigger than ever. Every year, the PDC World Championship is held and comprehensive television coverage has exposed it to a whole new audience. One of the highlights every tournament is when “Chase the Sun” by Planet Funk is played when there is an interval in play. The score master calls it, the music plays, and the fans sing along (drunk or not). Oi! Oi! Oi! It’s mesmerizing… in a chaotic kind of way.
“Freed From Desire” by Gala
The 2016 European Championship will be fondly remembered as the most inclusive Euros ever held to date. 24 teams participated and it allowed fans from all over Europe to come together in celebration of the beautiful game. There were many highlights from the tournament. Portugal sealing a shock trophy win, the Icelandic Viking chant, Hal Robson-Kanu pulling off that Cruyff turn against Belgium, and Steve McClaren making a fool of himself live on Sky Sports News as he commentated on the England v Iceland game. However, undoubtedly, the best chant of the tournament went to Northern Ireland who turned Gala’s “Freed From Desire” into “Will Grigg’s On Fire!”. The striker had earned the chant due to his prolific goal scoring form at club level for Wigan. The Northern Irish fans then took the song international. What a song! What a summer! Na na na na na na na na na na na na na! Just a shame that Grigg ended up not playing a single minute at Euro 2016…
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers
One of the most emotionally charged songs to grace sport comes in the form of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Liverpudlian Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers. The song was played to Liverpool football club manager Bill Shankly during the summer of 1963. Shankly listed it as one of his Desert Island Discs choices on the eve of the club’s 1965 FA Cup Final. The fans sang it at the game and the rest is history. The song was used to pay tribute to the 96 victims of the tragic Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Other clubs such as Celtic, Feyenoord, Borussia Dortmund, and TSV 1860 Munich have also used the song.
“Delilah” by Tom Jones
Rugby isn’t really a sport that encourages the fans to chant. Supporters will cheer their team on and often resort to belting out their national anthem. Wales rugby fans decided to add some variety to their repertoire in the 1970s when they introduced “Delilah” by Tom Jones. The song was originally released in 1968 but soon became a hit on the rugby terraces. It made such an impression with sports fans that supporters of Premier League football club Stoke City decided to sing it at their home matches too. There has been controversy surrounding the playing of the song recently with critics suggesting it glorifies violence towards women, though. The debate rages on!
“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
Some songs are just born to become sports anthems. The minute the first beat kicks in on “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, you know it’s going to be epic. Unsurprisingly, the 2003 hit song by the US rock duo has been adopted by fans all over the world. It became the unofficial anthem for the Italian national football team after they won the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A number of clubs across the globe have since taken it on as a tribute to their team or players. Roma, Club Brugge, and Sheffield United all use it regularly at their games. The song is also widely used in other sports. Dominant darts star Michael van Gerwen has used it as his entrance song, the Baltimore Ravens use it as their hype song, and US college basketball teams have also started to play it at their home games.
“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac are one of the best-selling bands of all-time, so it makes total sense for one of their songs to be heavily associated with a popular sport. Enter “The Chain” and its use as the theme song for F1 racing coverage in the UK. Channel 4 still continue to use the instrumental version of the song for their shows after it was used for the BBC coverage since 1978. In fact, as crazy as it may seem, rather than the song being referred to as a Fleetwood Mac classic it is often labelled simply as “the F1 song”.
“Dreadlock Holiday” by 10cc
Cricket is one of the more civilized sports in existence. That might not seem the case right now with the recent Australian ball-tampering scandal but it is considered an honorable game. One where getting drunk and singing songs is not commonplace. That has changed over the years, particularly with the advent of T20 cricket. One song that has helped to make cricket appeal to a younger generation is the catchy tune of “Dreadlock Holiday” by 10cc. Released in 1978 it boasted the lyrics “I don’t like cricket, I love it!”. There was only ever going to be one anthem for cricket after that.