It's almost World Cup time again and the South Africa event has been plagued by problems but one thing can always squelch critics and get fans excited - a great song.   

Well, the World Cup folks messed up that one too, picking a song by South American hottie Shakira(*), despite her lack of actual singing ability, to be the 'official' song.  But it got me thinking about a good CD mix for the car and therefore past sporting songs.

The problem is I don't have enough to fill a whole CD once I eliminate tired choices like the Rocky theme song or "We Are The Champions", which have been played quite a bit so don't merit a once-every-four-years compilation.  So here is what I have.   They won't all make it because some of them are just so-so.  That is why I need help.  And they aren't all football songs, some just get me pumped up a little.

First up is the best promo I have seen for the World Cup, despite it being put together by a group of fans who were paid precisely nothing.  And the song is simply the official Coca-Cola song of the World Cup, showing once again that the private sector will always beat the pants off of stuffy bureaucracies.  

1. "Wavin' Flag" - K'naan    Who knew in my 44th year some young guy would create my most favoritest football song of all time??  He's certainly the best thing to come out of Mogadishu in recent memory.

2. "La Copa de la Vida" - Ricky Martin.  Did you know he's gay?  I bet no one saw that coming.

3. "Azzurro" - Roberto Rossini.   Because I have an irrational interest in Serie A despite the fact that their players wear long greasy hair 15 years after it was cool.

4. "Tubthumping" - Chumbawumba.  It's a physical sport.

5. "Three Lions" - Lightning Seeds.  Because it represents how England's hopes will be dashed once again this year.

6. "Right Now" - Van Halen.   I don't even count the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen, except for this song.   It's a big song in its own right but no one 'rebuilds' for a World Cup.  You win now or go home because on elite teams there are too few chances to do it again.

7. "Campione 2000" - E-Type.  If you have Sirius satellite radio, they have a northern Europe pop program on Saturdays.  It will show you one thing; Swedes and Norwegians understand classic American pop better than Americans do.   This is a classic rock anthem from Euro 2000 and it's pure adrenalin.  Plus, in live shows  Dilnarin "Dee" Demirbag had no issue at all performing in a bikini.

8. "Forca" - Nelly Furtado.  This is on the bubble because, as much as I'd like to be Nelly Furtado's dobro player, I just don't like it that much.

9. "World in Motion" - New Order.   Barely beat out "I Hear Motion" by The Models, also done in the 1980s.  Basically, if you can imply Newton, there is some chance you will make it onto a mix CD of mine someday.

10. "Mas Que Nada" - Tamba Trio.   How can you not love this song?  If you have never seen this video of the Brazil national team in the airport, in 1:32 you will love it also.

11. "You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)" - Rod Stewart.   Okay, he only mentions Celtic and United, but it still counts.

12.  "Let's Dance to Joy Division" - The Wombats.   Because I appreciate irony.

13. "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Gerry&The Pacemakers.  It's a team sport, right?  

14.  "Daydream in Blue" - I Monster. A beautiful day for a beautiful game.

15.  "That's Entertainment" - The Jam.  Soccer is, to me, an English game.  My favorite team is English and a song sung in a vaguely British accent at least makes it to the bubble.   Otherwise it is just a good song but I can make a sort-of tangential link to hopes the World Cup will be entertaining.   With no Zidane headbutting people this year, it's up in the air.

16. "Broadway Jungle (2000 version) - Toots&the Maytals.  The world needs pop singers with names like Toots more than it needs a cure for cancer.

17. "Eanie Meany" - Jim Noir.  Okay, this may be too recent and it got a lot of airplay so it is on the bubble.  But it has maybe 20 words yet became wildly famous anyway.   And who hasn't wanted to wreck a garden gnome or two with a well-placed header?

18. "Don't Speak (I Came to Make a Bang)" - Eagles of Death Metal.  Sometimes you have to make a statement and these guys go old school in their approach to rock and roll and I respect that they are not doing it tongue-in-cheek.   Plus I like when people just throw discordant words together and make it stick.  Like "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go", Eagles of Death Metal just works.

19. "Monster" - The Automatic Automatic.    That's what she said.

Not included but noticeably absent,  "A Little Less Conversation" remixed by JXL because that has definitely been overplayed, though perhaps just by me.   If you've never heard it or seen a video with it, here is the one commercial I liked, mostly because of Thierry Henry.  But since he's not with Arsenal any more, it is less fun now.


(*) If you must watch Shakira, here it is, "Waka Waka" the official song as determined by a bunch of clueless old guys.   

Right, she is not even in the video, though she is the singer, but David Beckham is in the video, even though he is not in the World Cup.    It makes as much sense as putting the World Cup in South Africa in the first place.    If you want to know why she seems to have gotten picked,  and you are not cynical enough to believe they could not find an African worthy of singing a song, this video may provide an answer: