While the England team prepare for the match that will determine whether they finish third or fourth, the unofficial theme of this year’s World Cup has come out on top: Three Lions is the UK’s No 1 single.
It is the fourth time that the Lightning Seeds, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel’s football anthem has topped the singles chart since its original release for Euro 96. The song has become one of the UK’s 30 best-selling singles ever and is the first song to have four separate spells at No 1 with the same artist line-up.
“Well, this is awkward,” Baddiel told the Official Charts Company (OCC). “I must say, as consolation prizes go ...” Skinner added. The Lightning Seeds performed the song in Hyde Park on Wednesday night ahead of a screening of England’s fateful match against Croatia.
Three Lions beat George Ezra’s Shotgun, which previously held the top spot for two weeks, by more than 3,500 units (incorporating sales, audio and as of 6 July, video streams). As a new song Shotgun also had an advantage: per a June 2017 update to the OCC’s rules, as an older hit, Three Lions requires 1,200 audio/video streams to equal one unit, while Shotgun only required 600. There are, however, no hard feelings as Ezra had endorsed fans’ bid to send Three Lions to No 1.
A Facebook campaign to send Green Day’s American Idiot up the charts in honour of Donald Trump’s UK visit was less successful, with the song reaching No 25. The song originally reached No 3 in September 2004.
It is not the UK’s first attempt to push an old song back into the charts to take advantage of its newfound political resonance, a grassroots tactic made possible by the incorporation of downloads into chart data in April 2005. Following the death of Margaret Thatcher in April 2013, Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead reached No 2. The BBC declined to play the song on Radio 1’s weekly chart countdown.
England play Belgium in the third-place play-off tomorrow.