A Brief History of Music

Frankly, I blame the Italians.

Back in 1990, when they hosted the World Cup, someone had the clever notion to commission an "anthem", a sort of musical signature for the event.

What they came up with was a typically bland piece of overproduced 90's Euro-pop performed by a greasy, blowdried lounge lizard and the type of oddly androgynous "performer" the genre used to specialize in.

The result was, to say the least, unlistenable:


Fortunately, being Italians, they also had the good sense to hire a then little known (outside the opera world) tenor to sing some Puccini. And boy, could the man sing the hell out of Puccini:


Go ahead; play it again. You know you want to. Even with bad 1990's monaural recording on videotape, it's breathtaking.

Of course, the BBC wasn't going to be outdone by the Eye-ties. Anything they could do, the British could do badly.

So they used Pavarotti for their Italia 90 TV opening sequence, which started out sort of like Leni Riefenstahl (what, exactly, do those two dancing bints have to do with anything?) but then segues into some wonderful soccer clips:


A recent article tried to juxtapose this "popular soccer theme" deal into something like a comparison with The Lightning Seeds "Three Lions" from Euro 96.

Maybe it's just me, but I find it a pretty weak thread:


Although I'd have to agree that even that was better than the "offcial" Euro 96 theme, by Simply Red:


(Of course, nothing beats 2000 tuned-up England fans singing "10 German Bombers" in the streets of Stuttgart)


(Sorry - just couldn't resist)

All of which brings us to Euro 2008 and it's "Official Anthem", the dreadful Can You Hear Me? by Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias:


Now it's possible it gets better as it goes along; I'll never know because I've never made it past the first minute and a half.

The "Official Anthem" is not, however, to be confused with the "Official Song" done, for some reason, by Shaggy, who holds the distinction of being the only man to ever successfully incorporate the word "incarceration" into a popular song:


Does anyone know which one is "Trix" and which one is "Flix" and why anyone would care?

SO of course, as these things go, the song which has taken over the tournament is White Stripes Seven Nation Army:


All of which goes to prove something or other, I'm sure.

I've been trying to think of an "Official Anthem/Hymn/Song/Tune" written specifically for an event that was anything less than gag-inducing, and although I'm sure there is one, I'm not coming up with it.

Better by far to just ask the Italians to handle it.