Lah, la-la-la-lah . . . I can’t stop singing it. I’ve got that England World Cup anthem Call Me A Lioness on the brain.
And I’ll be playing it on my Boom radio show after noon today — so if you tune in, it’ll be on your brain, too. Melodic, catchy, the kind of pop that puts a smile on your face and a tap in your toes, it’s a winner. Fingers crossed the team will be, too.
I must admit, though, when I first heard about the unofficial tournament anthem by 11 female artists under the banner Hope FC, my heart sank a little. Let’s face it, not every World Cup song has been a classic.
Still, I thought, they have Spice Girl Mel C (Melanie Chisholm) for their captain and that’s promising. Others include singer Ellie Rowsell, the frontwoman of indie rockers Wolf Alice, and the song’s co-writer Olivia Dean, whose album Messy is in the UK top ten. Plenty of potential in that line-up.
So I cued up the track, pressed play, and from the first shout of ‘Chloe Kellyyyyy’ I loved it. That’s a great way to kick off, because even if you don’t follow football you will have seen the joyous photos of Chloe whirling her shirt over her head after scoring the goal that sealed England’s win over Germany in the Euros final last year.
Lah, la-la-la-lah . . . I can’t stop singing it. I’ve got that England World Cup anthem Call Me A Lioness on the brain. Pictured: Englan’s Chloe Kelly
Still, I thought, they have Spice Girl Mel C (Melanie Chisholm, pictured) for their captain and that’s promising
There’s a big chant of ‘England! History makers! Record breakers! Game changers!’ from match commentator Robyn Cowen, over a cheesy organ riff — and who doesn’t love a bit of cheesy pop?
And then the song builds, with an atmospheric first verse and an irresistible hook that goes ‘Now I’m dreaming once again’ before launching into a singalong chorus: ‘Call me a Lioness. I wear it on my chest . . . We’re bringing it home again!’
And to top that, there’s those ‘Lah, la-la-la-lahs’. I can’t wait to hear a packed stadium belting it out.
This is the best footie anthem since Three Lions by the Lightning Seeds with Baddiel and Skinner, and it could be just as iconic. It’s certainly far better than some that have gone before. A few are fondly remembered, such as the 1990 New Order song World In Motion, which went to No 1 and featured John Barnes with his infamous rap.
All I can say, Barnesy, is that as a rapper, you were one heck of a great footballer.
Actually, I also have a real fondness for Vindaloo by Fat Les, a blokey belter that many fans found irresistible after a pint or two. A bit like the curry itself.
But others are best glossed over. Back in the days before Radio 1, the skiffle star Lonnie Donegan recorded a number called World Cup Willie for the 1966 tournament. England won, but Lonnie’s record sank without trace.
Then there was We’ve Got The Whole World At Our Feet, the England squad’s effort in 1986 . . . the year we went out to Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ goal. No such divine intervention for the single: it reached No 66.
I can’t help feeling that some World Cup songs struck the wrong note from the start. In 1982, the title itself harked back to previous defeats: This Time (We’ll Get It Right). We had failed to qualify for the previous two tournaments and got knocked out in the second round. Perhaps that song doomed us.
Though the Lionesses face tough competition, I’m going to be cheering them on with real optimism. Like many chaps of my vintage, I’d always thought of football as a man’s game, but the Euros victory opened my eyes.
There is sublime skill on show in the modern women’s game, and I should know. For many years I was an enthusiastic player for the Showbiz XI, a charity squad that included big names such as Sean Connery, Tommy Steele and Anthony Newley. Actor Jess Conrad regularly played in goal. We called him Cinderella because he was often late for the ball. I played as a Number 7 on the right wing.
That was David Beckham’s position and number for England — I merely state this as a fact, I’m not drawing any comparisons.
As I buzzed up and down the line, beating full-backs and putting in perfectly weighted crosses, our commentator put me off by announcing, ‘That’s Diddy David Hamilton — we got him on a free transfer from Subbuteo.’
Don’t laugh, but I once played with the World Cup squad myself. In the early 1970s, a testimonial match was held at Craven Cottage, the Fulham ground, for Alan Mullery, the midfielder who scored against Germany at the World Cup in Mexico.
Nine of his 11 international team-mates turned out for his send-off, but a couple couldn’t make it — so they raided the Showbiz XI. Jimmy Tarbuck and I were picked, and it was one of the privileges of my life to play with Bobby Moore, and Jack and Bobby Charlton. I don’t know if they said the same about me, mind you.
I’ll be remembering that day as I play Call Me A Lioness. Tune in and you’ll find yourself singing along. I think it will be a million-seller.
n ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton is celebrating more than 60 years in broadcasting. Listen to the David Hamilton Music Show on Boom Radio every weekday 12pm-2pm.
Read the full article here