Unlike a great many football-themed pop songs, we think it’s fair to suggest that Three Lions by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds has stood the test of time.
The 1996 version is obviously and indisputably the original and best, with the subsequent 1998 re-release still serviceable but often derided by true scholars of the genre as a bit of a blatant cash-grab.
That said, 3 Lions 98 replicated its predecessor’s success by motoring to the top of the charts once again, nine rungs higher than the official song released to accompany England’s run at the ’98 World Cup –
We are of course talking about the unforgettable ‘(How Does It Feel to Be On) Top of the World’ by England United, an unlikely supergroup consisting of Echo & The Bunnyman, Ocean Colour Scene and The Spice Girls.
What you may not recall is that the mouldering cadaver of Three Lions was actually resurrected for a third time over a decade later, in the run up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In fact, there’s a very good reason you may have subconsciously wiped the 2010 offering from your memory – that being it’s unremittingly awful.
Baddiel and Skinner returned, as did Ian Broudie, along with ‘The Squad’ – a hellish supporting ensemble consisting of Robbie Williams, Russell Brand, the England Supporters Band, John Motson and an opera singer.
Produced by Trevor Horn (once of The Buggles), the results were as gutless, anodyne and miserable as you might expect…
While both the ’96 and ’98 versions of Three Lions clambered straight to the summit of the UK chart, the 2010 rehash sadly and somewhat predictably fell short.
Indeed, The Squad managed just six weeks bobbing around in the Top 100, peaking at number 21 before quickly disappearing from the collective consciousness.
In all honestly, that’s probably more recognition than it ever deserved.