The England women’s team won Euro 2022 against Germany (2-1, ap) on Sunday July 31. During the competition, the 1969 song sweet carolina by the American artist Neil Diamond has become the anthem of the English, taken up in chorus by a whole stadium.
Sunday in London (United Kingdom), in front of Buckingham Palace, a few hours before the final of the Women’s Euro football match between England and Germany which is being played at Wembley, the musicians of the Queen’s Guard play an unusual tune in the yard. Exceptionally, sweet carolinaa 1969 song by American artist Neil Diamond, rises from the trumpets and other brass instruments of the royal guard orchestra, to encourage the players of the national team in search of their first title.
The video, broadcast on social networks by the royal family, reveals the extent of this music in England, a veritable anthem of the women’s team during the Euro (won by the Lionesses 2-1, after extra time ).
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) July 30, 2022
sweet carolina conquered the supporters with its heady rhythm and its simple words, in line with sporting emotions: “ Good Times Never Seemed So Good”, goes the chorus, literally: « Good times never seemed so good. » »
Running off with the mic mid interview to sing Sweet Caroline with your teammates, priceless. pic.twitter.com/ZwGI57gkDb
— Gareth Milner (@sw1a0aa) July 31, 2022
From baseball to soccer
The history of this tube is first American, since it is the anthem of the Boston Red Sox, a Major League baseball team. And its success owes a lot to chance. In 1997, an employee of Fenway Park, in charge of the musical atmosphere of the stadium, decided to play the title of Neil Diamond because one of his acquaintances had just had a baby, a little girl named Caroline. The reaction of the public is very positive.
But the song did not become an anthem until five years later, when Charles Steinberg became vice president of public affairs at the baseball club. By observing the reaction of the spectators to each passage of sweet carolina, he comes to the conclusion that this music has beneficial effects on player performance, transcended by the atmosphere. Today, the song is played in every game, during the penultimate inning, to produce an electric shock.
The melody has since crossed the Atlantic, to reappear regularly during darts or rugby competitions in England. In football, fans of Aston Villa or Chelsea have been singing Sweet Caroline for years, before it infused at the level of the men’s national team. Last year, a DJ at Wembley Stadium played the song after England’s semi-final victory over Germany at Euro 2021. It was a resounding success, leading to the experience being replicated for the team feminine.
Singing as an element of identity
The English are not at their first attempt. The « Three Lions » men’s football team also has its unofficial anthem, which reappears at every major competition: It’s Coming Home, It’s Coming Home, Football’s Coming Home!
Released in 1996 by a trio of Ian Broudie and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, the title Three Lions looks back on the dashed hopes of his team’s past and the hope for new success.
The English love to hum the song in the stands. An English tradition of fan singing that also irrigates Premier League clubs. In the league, West Ham are screaming to the rhythm of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, Newcastle United cover the folk song Blaydon Races, while Southampton has its anthem When The Saints Come Marching In.
In an article for The Conversation , published in June 2021, Paul Carr, professor of popular music analysis at the University of South Wales, tries to answer the question: what makes a good football anthem? According to him, the songs in the stands “give fans a means by which they can not only express their love (or disdain) for a particular football club; but also their often complex relationship to a nation, a city, a social class or a collective identity. » These melodies are taken up by the crowd because “they sometimes have the power to capture the spirit of the times […], to recall our hopes, our expectations. »
Perhaps the most famous English song is You’ll Never Walk Alone (You will never walk alone, in French). It is the typical example of a stadium success with a strong symbol. Taken from a 1940s musical, the title made a strong comeback in 1963 with a version by Gerry and Pacemakers.
The Liverpool announcer then regularly broadcasts this success of the hit parade to ignite the stadium. The song gets its symbolic character in 1989, after the Hillsborough tragedy, which claimed the lives of 96 people. You’ll Never Walk Alone is then sung to commemorate the victims and is emotionally reinforced.
Read also: Mead, Popp, favorites present, the choice of stadiums… The tops and flops of Euro 2022
Singing in the stands is not an English exception, as shown by the return to the fore of the title of Gala Freed From Desire (1997), covered by the Northern Irish in honor of their striker Will Grigg’s on fire, at Euro 2016.
In France, it is difficult not to associate France’s victory at the 1998 World Cup with I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, or Bring the Cup Homefrom Vegedream, twenty years later.