Three Lions breaks records to top the UK singles chart for a fourth time

Campaign to get Green Day’s American Idiot in the charts to mark Donald Trump’s UK visit falls short as single stalls at No 25

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 (Football’s Coming Home) – video

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.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
‘That’s a belter!’ Three Lions and football singalongs storm the charts
Volley of fan favourites including Sweet Caroline and Atomic Kitten’s Whole Again climb the table ahead of Sunday’s Euros final

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

09, Jul, 2021 @5:00 PM

Article image
'It's coming home': the meaning behind the Three Lions lyrics
An old football refrain echoes through the streets of England as the 1996 song roars again

Jamie Grierson Home affairs correspondent

08, Jul, 2018 @1:31 PM

Article image
How we made Three Lions: David Baddiel and Ian Broudie on England’s Euro 96 anthem
‘I heard German fans singing it after they knocked England out. I had to resist throwing a TV out of the window’

David Baddiel and Rich Pelley

07, Jun, 2021 @1:47 PM

Article image
Three Lions anthem could be ‘put to bed’ after Euro 2022 win, says David Baddiel
Women have reset clock after more than five decades of pain, says comedian who co-wrote 1996 song

Geneva Abdul

01, Aug, 2022 @9:46 AM

Article image
No expense spared as England prepares for World Cup semi-final
From private jets to M&S waistcoats, open mosques to closed supermarkets, football fever grips the nation

Nazia Parveen, Alexandra Topping and Henry Jones

10, Jul, 2018 @6:07 PM

Article image
From New Order to Chris Kamara: England’s best and worst tournament songs
England football songs have run the gamut of emotions from misty-eyed hope to the musical expression of deep psychological malaise

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

09, Jun, 2021 @5:00 AM

Article image
‘It’s a song about losing!’ Skinner, Baddiel and Broudie on 26 years of Three Lions – and bringing it up to date
As a new version of the England anthem is released to coincide with the World Cup, the trio talk about the glory days, patriotism and why they won’t be going to Qatar

Sam Wollaston

20, Nov, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
‘One more go for the blokes’: Skinner and Baddiel record festive Three Lions track
Pair say they ‘could not resist’ revamping track before Qatar World Cup, after Lionesses’ victory in summer

Tobi Thomas

18, Nov, 2022 @9:04 AM

Article image
Never stopped me dreaming: how Euro 96 illuminated our world
Twenty-five years ago, when football last came home, the Euros captured the hope and spirit of the time. Is there any chance this year’s tournament can do the same?

Simon Hattenstone

05, Jun, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
UK’s top 10 singles of 2022 were all by British artists
A clean sweep led by Harry Styles was an ‘astonishing’ high note for the music industry – but the domination of older songs reflected the impact of streaming

Laura Snapes

04, Jan, 2023 @12:01 AM