What Bands Would Help Teams Win the World Cup?

by David Miller Jun 14, 2010
If you could choose any band to play before a World Cup match, who would it be?

I KNEW I was going to do a World Cup Music post today.

Tom Gates suggested I do “Songs about Balls.”

I couldn’t think of enough ball-songs though. So I started thinking about certain musical experiences I’d had in different places (Brazil in particular), and wondered–could it be possible for a band to affect the outcome of a match? Has it happened in history? If so how could you verify it?

It seemed worth perusing. My only dilemma: should it be wide open full-fantasy mode: any musician alive or dead? Or should it be limited to currently active musicians? The latter makes it a lot more challenging particularly with Mexico (otherwise I would’ve gone with “El Rey” by by José Alfredo Jiménez), Argentina (“Maradona” by Rodrigo), and the US (“Star Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix, although I admit that seems cliche.)

In the end I went with currently active musicians as it seems more interesting to think that these bands / situations could actually occur.


Manu Chao / La Vida Tombola

I know Manu Chao is French, but I feel like this song played at halftime would cause the selección and crowd to go into some kind of Santo Maradona / Mano de Dios trance.

I also like how the song takes a shot at La Fifa – “el gran ladron” (the big thief) – for excluding Maradona from the 92 World Cup.


Femi Kuti and dancers

Lola Akinmade pointed out that having Femi Kuti play at halftime could cause severe dizzyness in opposing teams and crowds.

No matter what, Kuti and dancers would cause a massive energy and stoke-level increase in Nigeria’s team (which they could’ve used vs. Argentina) and crowd.


Runrig & the Tartan Army / Loch Lomond, the Hampden Remix

This was Andy Hayes‘ pick.

I don’t know if Scots would play better football after hearing a melancholic song from the 1800s, but it seems possible.



Brazil is the only country I’ve ever been where an 18 wheeler with a samba band playing on top will roll into a small town, turn the entire place into an off the top dance party – and it all feels completely normal.

I wanted to go with something stadium-esque like Diplo, but then Michelle Schusterman suggested Olodum, a much better choice for the World Cup.


Celso Piña

This was Sarah Menkedick’s call, and it feels solid.

With enough Cumbia power I can see Mexico going off.


Kodo drummers

Japan Taiko drumming seems like another form of music that could put people in trances.

These dudes just play so hard and with so much intensity.



Who could carry it for the US? It’s hard to think about any choice not being viewed in some kind of marketing context.

Putting some old school hero in there (The Boss) doesn’t seem like it would move the youth on the team. We need someone who gets so real and next level that it feels less like a show and more like reaching some kind of transcendence.

Give Chris the World Cup mic, let him represent the US.

Community Connection

These were only 7 of 32 teams playing in this year’s world cup. What other music would help teams? Who would you pick? Please let us know in the comments.

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