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Shakira and the 10 'Greatest' World Cup Songs

Ryan BaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2014

Shakira and the 10 'Greatest' World Cup Songs

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    After treating us to her ubiquitous 2010 official World Cup song "Waka Waka," Shakira has taken another bite of the football tune cherry with an anthem for the 2014 tournament, entitled "La La La."  

    Essentially, it's one of her regular songs that has been re-worked to include tenuous football references, but you will probably hear it more than a billion times before June.

    In honour of the Colombian pop princess' latest ditty, here are some of the "greatest" World Cup songs from the annals of the event. The word "greatest" is in quotation marks as one man's enjoyable World Cup anthem is another man's unspeakably terrible World Cup anthem...  

'We Are One (Ole Ola)' by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez

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    Shakira's 2014 song is being touted as "official," but most sources suggest "We Are One (Ole Ola)" by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez is the official tune.

    (Is Shakira being allowed to release an "official" song because of a longstanding pro-Barcelona conspiracy? Cristiano Ronaldo probably thinks so.) 

    Anyone who has been on the dance floor when "Timber" comes on will know that Pitbull is the greatest pop luminary of modern times, so we should feel honoured that he has lent his craft to this down-tempo jam. 

'The Cup of Life' by Ricky Martin

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    Before releasing pop behemoth "Livin' La Vida Loca," Ricky Martin recorded the official song of France 98.

    The extremely catchy Latin-flavoured tune caught the public's imagination as it went to No. 1 in several countries. Australia, for example, couldn't get enough of it as it stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks and was the most popular song of 1998. 

'Futbol' by Maryla Rodowicz

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    The official song of the 1974 World Cup in West Germany was belted out by Polish popstar Maryla Rodowicz.  

    The lyrics are primarily Polish but there are also some German and Spanish lines thrown in for good measure. Rodowicz had the honour of performing the disco-style song at the opening ceremony in Munich. 

'Un'estate Italiana (To Be Number One)' by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini

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    Italia 90 will forever be intrinsically linked with Pavarotti's epic version of "Nessun Dorma," but the official song from that year was actually "Un'estate Italiana (To Be Number One)" by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini.

    It reached No. 1 in Italy and Switzerland, apparently. 

'Back Home' by the 1970 England World Cup Squad

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    England headed to Mexico in 1970 with a strong belief that they could win back-to-back World Cups—not only did they have an even stronger squad than four years previously, but they were sent on their way to the very merry tune of "Back Home."

'Mundial '82' by Placido Domingo

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    Many World Cup songs attempt to fuse musical styles and languages into one big melting pot, but the official song of the 1982 tournament in Spain was instantly recognisable as a direct product of the home nation. 

    Placido Domingo was one of the Three Tenors, who uses his classically trained voice with aplomb on this track. 

'World Cup Willie' by Lonnie Donegan

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    Skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan—the man who brought us "My Old Man's a Dustman"—provided the official song for the 1966 World Cup.

    "World Cup Willie" starts off like a song you would expect to hear in the background in an episode of Boardwalk Empire and goes on to suggest that the eponymous tournament mascot is the favourite to win the World Cup. Not to be too pedantic, Lonnie, but that's impossible! 

'Boom' by Anastacia

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    Anastacia's song "Boom" appears to have absolutely nothing to do with football, but it was selected as one of the official anthems for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. 

    It failed to make much of an impact in the charts anywhere in the world, but it did manage to reach No. 5 in Belgium. Those crazy Belgians. 

'Greatest Day' by Gary Barlow, Gary Lineker and Friends

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    England's official 2014 World Cup song has been produced on behalf of Sport Relief.

    It's a re-working of the Take That song of the same name, featuring the likes Emma Bunton, Mel C, Pixie Lott, Katy B and Gary Lineker on vocals. Yes, that's Gary Lineker bringing the autotune software to breaking point.

    Lineker—joined on the recording by ex-England stars including Michael Owen, Peter Shilton, Glenn Hoddle and Sir Geoff Hurst—told The Mirror the song was produced in the spirit of Band Aid, and they even used the same studio.

    Even if Lineker's pipes don't live up to his sporting prowess, it's a strong tune and it's for a very good cause.  

     

     

'World in Motion' by New Order

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    Let's finish with a World Cup song that is still brilliant 24 years later: the classic "World in Motion." 

    With the exception of "Three Lions," an England song hasn't come close to matching this 1990 World Cup anthem, written by New Order and Keith Allen.

    Not only do New Order lend some credibility, but frankly, any song is improved by a John Barnes rap. 

    It reached No. 1 in the charts upon its initial release in May 1990, but a re-release for the 2002 World Cup failed to break the Top 40. 

     

    Follow me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey

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