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Football might be coming home, but Trump is on his way – which should we sing about loudest?

By | Published on Tuesday 10 July 2018

Three Lions

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but football might pop round later. I heard someone shout something about it in the street. But I wasn’t really listening. And someone else was shouting about an idiot at the same time. It was all rather confusing.

Anyway, apparently there’s this song all about football’s imminent arrival and it might be number one in those pesky music charts come Friday. I’m surprised it’s not there already, though – I suppose – and despite¬†all the recent changes to chart rules, shouty renditions of songs led by drunken mobs in the street still don’t count. But all those shouty drunken renditions seem to have now motivated a flurry of downloads and streams.

‘Three Lions’ by Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and those often forgotten Lightning Seeds has been to number one before, of course. First for two weeks after its original release in 1996, when it was all about England hosting the European Championship of ball kicking.

It then managed three weeks at the top two years later during the World Cup of ball kicking. Though that particular competition was in France, meaning the song’s lyrics then took on their more conceptual metaphorical meaning about football returning from wherever it is that it’s been.

Now, as the country enjoys the best World Cup performance of an England team for the best part of three decades, I am assured once again by one and all that football is definitely coming home. And just in case anyone is in any doubt, everyone has been downloading and streaming ‘Three Lions’ at an increasing rate as if that somehow confirms it.

Last Friday, the song was at a mere 24 in the official music charts. As excitement mounts for the upcoming semi-final, the track is racing up said chart and is currently on course to be number one. Which will be a triumphant moment in itself, so long as England win their next game tomorrow of course. Otherwise, well, people probably won’t really notice. I mean, who even knows who’s number one in the charts these days?

George Ezra knows who’s number one right now, mind, because it’s been him for the last two weeks. He’s pretty keen to end that run now though. Yesterday he pleaded with fans to stop buying and streaming his song and put all their efforts into getting ‘Three Lions’ to the top instead.

“OK guys”,¬†he said. “Thanks to you lovely people ‘Shotgun’ has been number one for two weeks running. Now, of course, that is amazing. But I think it’s time we knock it off the number one spot… with ‘Three Lions’. We go out, we download and we stream ‘Three Lions’, and we get it to number one. And you know why? It’s cos it’s coming home”.

If football does indeed pay a visit to this sceptred isle later this week, I suppose it’ll be nice if there’s a song about it already sitting there at the top of the charts. Otherwise, maybe Baddiel and Skinner could record a new chorus about it fucking off at the last minute so that can be number one next week instead.¬†Although Skinner has apparently already ruled that out.

All that said, while there may be no new version of the song to confuse things, and Ezra is perfectly willing to move out of the way, there could still be a spanner in the works here. Which is to say another event that could stop ‘Three Lions’ from returning to number one. And that is US president Donald Trump’s visit to the UK later this week.

While football’s return may not yet be assured, Trump’s trip is definitely confirmed (pending the complete collapse of the British government by this afternoon, I suppose).

Due to arrive on Thursday, he will have lunch with Theresa May on Friday, followed by a meeting with the Queen. Her Maj famously likes to sit down and listen to the singles chart rundown on Radio 1 each week (you knew that, right?), so will presumably expect Trump to join her in finding out what song has proven to be most popular in the UK this week. It could be Three Lions’. But it may also be Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’.

There is – of course – a Facebook campaign to get the 2004 song, originally written about another American idiot, then US president George W Bush, to the top of the charts in protest against Trump’s visit. And unlike most ‘let’s get this to number one’ campaigns these days, it actually seems to be gaining some traction. The track currently sits at number eighteen in the midweeks but is only 4000 sales (or equivalent) away from a top ten placing. So another decent flurry of downloads and streams could possibly do it.

So, to conclude, you need to make a decision about what’s more important to you this week before you start playing old pop songs on your premium streaming account: prematurely celebrating an England World Cup win or calling Donald Trump an idiot.



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