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Three Lions comes out top, even if England didn’t

By | Published on Monday 16 July 2018

Three Lions

Well, football may not have come home – whatever that means – but ‘Three Lions’ is the UK number one single for the fourth time.

David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds’ 1996 song began climbing the charts again rapidly after it started to look like England might win this year’s World Cup of ball kicking in Russia. The song had become something of an anthem again for England fans, and they all got about downloading and streaming it amid hopes the team might win this time.

Of course, in the end said team ended up with the disappointing accolade of just being the most successful male England football squad for 28 years after crashing out against Croatia in the semi-final. But by then, there’d been enough downloads and streams of the ‘Three Lions’ song to put it in the top spot anyway.

“Well, this is awkward”, commented Baddiel upon learning the news. Skinner put a more positive spin on it, saying that it was a good “consolation prize”. For him, at least.

It’s the fourth time the song has made it to the number one spot – the last time being 20 years ago with an updated version in 1998 during the World Cup. The track last reached the top ten in 2010, when the original 1996 recording comfortably beat a new version recorded for that year’s World Cup.

Upon its original release, the song went to number one twice – first in the run up to the 1996 European Championship in England, and then as the tournament finished. That initial success means that ‘Three Lions’ has now become the first song with the same performer line-up to reach the top spot on four non-consecutive occasions. A record that takes quite a while to say, but a record nonetheless.

The recent campaign to get ‘Three Lions’ to number one was supported by George Ezra, which was good of him because it meant denying him a three week run at the top of the singles chart. His pleas to fans to completely stop buying and streaming his single, ‘Shotgun’, fell on slightly deaf ears though. He was only beaten to first place by around 3500 sales (or equivalent) in the end.

Of course, this was not the only novelty ‘get an old song to number one’ campaign running last week. There was also a push to get Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ to the top of the charts to commemorate Donald Trump’s visit to the UK. Although last Monday it looked like the track might break into the top ten, it finished the week at number 25.



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