There’s no doubt that music and sports are intrinsically linked, with song lyrics often capturing moments of both success and failure, the feelings of victorious jubilation, the frustration and disappointment of losing, or even just the thrill and excitement of participation in sporting events.
These are three iconic songs – that can justifiably be called anthems – which are regularly used in sporting montages, given how aptly they encapsulate the intensity and vibe of sports events and the emotions of fans or just the thrill of participating and viewing the game itself.
It is probably one of the most frequently used songs to celebrate sporting achievements, particularly when teams lift trophies, yet We are the Champions by Queen is arguably the most suitable song for just such occasions. Back in 2012, it was used by the BBC in a closing montage to celebrate the phenomenal triumph of Wales at the Six Nations Championship, after they demonstrated absolutely “no time for losers” by winning all five of their matches.
Don’t be surprised if the popular rock anthem is utilized again to celebrate the eventual winners of the 2019 Six Nations Championship, with England the -137.5 outright favourites to be champions at Betway, after the first weekend of fixtures. England won their opening game in Dublin against Ireland, while +260 second favourite Wales narrowly beat France in Paris, and +1100 outside tip Scotland secured a comfortable victory against Italy in Edinburgh.
Composed by Albert Von Tilzer and written by Jack Norworth, with his lyrics inspired during a subway train journey that passed by a “Baseball Today” sign, the first known recording of Take Me Out to the Ballgame was back in 1908 and sung by Edward Meeker. Since then, the song has become firmly embedded in American sporting culture, which makes it a popular choice on playlists at stadiums and for baseball montages, particularly highlight reels of World Series game montages.
This one is definitely a golden oldie that has become timeless, with the chorus inspiring the 1949 movie of the same name, featuring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra singing the titular song. Carly Simon (who was a guest on Gorillaz’ album Human) in 1994 and Billy Joel in 2005 have both recorded their own versions, while Take Me Out to the Ball Game was also ranked by Fox Sports as the top sports song of all time in 2016, in a special sporting top 40 to celebrate the life of iconic radio presenter Casey Kasem.
There are plenty of great songs around that capture the essence of winning, or participation in sports, but few perhaps capture the agony of defeat quite like Everybody Hurts by REM. The song has become a staple addition to sporting montages by TV producers during a variety of sporting events, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when Australian network Optus Sport used it to perfectly highlight how Mexico fans were feeling, following an undeserved 2-0 defeat against Brazil. Others used it amusingly to poke fun at Neymar for his antics, feigning injury several times during the same game.
Despite being voted as one of the most depressing songs around, and the most likely to make men cry according to theatre producer David King, there’s also a powerful message of hope in this REM classic that can’t be ignored, which is what makes it so ideally suited to sporting montages. “Everybody hurts, sometimes, everybody cries,” perfectly captures those moments of defeat in sports, but the words “hold on, hold on,” also convey the aim of keeping going, to rely on those around you and maybe next time, you could be the winner.