Music, without a doubt, is a great medium in its own right. However, it is also an integral contributor to the atmosphere and immersion of numerous other mediums also. It cannot be denied that the ambiance and effectiveness of an emotionally powerful film is partially dependent on the quality, and successful implementation, of a corresponding soundtrack. This is a contribution that, at least, has been shown some appreciation, with numerous awards being devoted to celebrating the best additions to movie soundtracks. From Celine Dion’s’ souring vocals that hauntingly echoed above the sinking vessel of James Cameron’s Titanic to the rousing climax of Danny Elfman’s iconic Batman theme, music has firmly established its place in cinematic history. Sadly, this cannot be said for music’s contribution to other mediums and nowhere is this truer than in the case of sport. Despite famous tracks accommodating numerous sport montages and memorable lyrics being chanted across stadiums around the world, music’s traditional place within the sport’s arena is often understated or forgotten completely. So, to somewhat ratify this, here are 3 of the best sports songs.
Three Lions – Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds (1996)
Football is an undeniably multifaceted phenomenon. From world-wide brands to international football betting, the sport has a series of successful enterprises beyond the matches themselves. Moreover, music is perhaps the most potent of all these. Football chants are an essential part of the match experience and you would struggle to find any fan worth their salt who couldn’t preform numerous variants at will. Therefore, it was highly appropriate that the most successful football related single of all time was co-written by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, the then presenters of football-themed comedy show ‘Fantasy Football’. This popular single has sold 1.53 million copies in the UK and is still a staple on the radio during every World Cup. This classic track contains an addictive hook, containing a chorus of voices instantly recognisable to anyone who has ever graced a stadium’s stands, and undeniably British lyrics of equal self-deprecation, witty cynicism and undying hope.
I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly (1996)
This R. Kelly hit may have originally featured on the soundtrack of cinematic misfire Space Jam, but this inspiring track, celebrating the eternal and bottomless self-believe of sportsmen and women, is most definitely a winner. Although originally intended as a tribute to the outstanding career, and inner-strength, of legendary NBA player Michael Jordan, this timeless R’n’B Ballard’s message is universal. Kelly’s smooth yet expressive vocal deftly rides the understated arrangement, delivering an effortless yet determined resolution, that nothing can stand in anyone’s way as long as they believe in themselves.
Philadelphia Freedom – Elton John (1975)
This platinum-selling record was originally written by Elton John at the request of tennis, and women’s rights, legend Billie Jean King. King, who had long been a promoter of player’s rights to fairer pay, had recently set-up World Team Tennis (WTT), a professional league that awarded players with the liveable wage that the, then amateur-only, Grand Slam tournaments had refused to provide. Therefore John, an avid tennis fan, was brought-in to write the theme-song for the WTT’s premier team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. Whilst this song is rich in tennis history, not to mention a political track in some respects, this doesn’t prohibit John’s rich vocal delivery and the catchy tune from making the track a worthy addition to this musical legend’s impressive canon.