Ten classic sports arena anthems
Sporting events just wouldn’t be as fun without great soundtracks. Whether at the ballpark, a football stadium, a hockey arena, or a basketball game, there are some songs that are guaranteed to get fans out of their seats and cheering along.
Here is a partial list of some of the biggest stadium anthems:
“The Final Countdown” – Europe
Swedish band Europe’s arena anthem “The Final Countdown” was originally supposed to be just a concert opener. Lead singer Joey Tempest wrote the keyboard riff it was based on years before the song was released, and the lyrics were inspired by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.
“We Will Rock You” is almost fully a cappella, except for Brian May’s guitar solo. The percussive “stomp stomp clap” effect makes it easy for sports fans to join in with the beat. For the studio version of the song, the stamping effects were created by the band’s stomping and clapping, overdubbed and with delay effects added, to make it sound like many people were stomping and clapping along.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
Osbourne’s debut solo single features an iconic riff and a call to action “All aboard!” that makes it a popular walk-out song for many sports teams. The lyrics are notably dark for a stadium anthem – they refer to the Cold War and the anxiety about annihilation that was prevalent at the time the song was released.
“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n Roses
With an iconic guitar riff (courtesy of Slash), this song doubles as a stadium anthem and an intimidating message to the opposing team. According to Stephen Davis’s ‘Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses’, Axl Rose said the lyrics were inspired from an encounter he had as an 18-year-old hitchhiker coming to New York, during which a man told him “Do you know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby!”
“Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team
‘90s rap duo Tag Team created a stadium smash when they released “Whoomp! (There It Is)” in 1993. A similar song, “Whoot There it Is” was released a month before by Miami’s 95 South – according to a Chicago Tribune article at the time, the phrase “Whoot/Whoomp there it is” was a popular expression among dancers at nightclubs in Miami and Atlanta, where both groups frequented.
The instantly recognizable riff that starts “Thunderstruck” is certain to turn up the “high voltage” at sports events. The name “Thunderstruck” comes from a childhood toy of the Young brothers. In the liner notes of The Razor’s Edge 2003 re-release, Angus Young said that they were searching for a name for the song when they came up with the “thunder” motif, based on their childhood toy Thunderstreak. “It seemed to have a good ring to it. AC/DC = Power. That’s the basic idea,” he wrote.
“Song 2” – Blur
According to Blur founding member Graham Coxon, “Song 2” started out as a joke on the band’s record label – but the label executives actually liked it. It was originally called “Song 2” as a working title since it was song two on the tracklist, but the name stuck.
“Seven Nation Army” – White Stripes
“Seven Nation Army”’s instrumental chorus has made it a favorite sports anthem across the world – from soccer matches in Italy to NFL games in the states. It often appears in audience chants, where the crowd sings the riff on the sound “oh”, or inserts the name of a player. It was the theme song for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“Enter Sandman” – Metallica
“Enter Sandman” was one of the first songs written for Metallica’s eponymous fifth album (released in 1991), and the last to have lyrics. Mariano Rivera, who played for the New York Yankees for 19 seasons, started using “Enter Sandman” as his walk-up song in 1999. Rivera – who sometimes goes by the nickname “Sandman”, used it for 15 seasons and had a 89.7 save percentage in that time.
“Run the World (Girls)” Beyonce
In 2014, then- 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis made history by tossing a full-game shutout in the Little League World Series’ Mid-Atlantic Regional final, leading the Taney Dragons to victory. She used Beyone’s 2011 song “Run the World” as a walk-out anthem. French skater Maé-Bérénice Méité competed at the 2018 Olympics to a medley of Beyonce’s songs, including “Run the World”. The song was also used as the anthem for Great Britain’s women’s soccer match against Brazil in the 2012 London Olympics.
Are there any songs you think belong on this list? Let us know in the comments!