How does a song become a sports anthem, an enduring, effective, game changer of a tune, that gets people out of their seats and into the moment? It’s not easy. It takes a highly infectious, undeniably upbeat, often nonsense song to bring people, players, teams, and entire fandoms together.
From “Thunderstruck” to “Tubthumping,” and everything in between, here are 12 irresistible sports anthems.
1. “Pump Up the Jam” – Technotronic
From its opening whomp, all you want to do is bob along to this dance hit. Singable lyrics paired with an infectious, high energy beat, of course “Pump Up the Jam” would be on repeat in any sports arena.
2. “Let’s Get It Started” – Black Eyed Peas
The blood-pumping, hype-worthy hit from the Black Eyed Peas was used as a promotional song for the 2004 NBA Playoffs. “Let’s Get It Started” has stuck ever since.
3. “Tubthumping” – Chumbawamba
There’s something about “Tubthumping” that brings people together. Maybe it’s all in the unconquerable lyrics: I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down
4. “YMCA” – Village People
Don’t trust someone who doesn’t throw their hands in the air for the “YMCA.” It’s the communal, crowd pleasing dance moves that has made this Village People classic an enduring hit at sporting events.
5. “Whoomp! There It Is” – Tag Team
Did you even score if “Whoomp! There It Is” doesn’t play?
6. “Song 2” – Blur
The only words anyone knows are the Woo hoos, but “Song 2” is still an arena mainstay with its irresistibly head-bangable, rock heavy arrangement.
7. “Rock and Roll Part 2” – Gary Glitter
The guttural beat is invigorating. The twangy guitar riff is refreshing. Especially when your team is down 30 yards in the 7th inning and could really use a few baskets or whatever. Sports.
8. “Sandstorm” – Darude
A song this upbeat needs no words. Whether in the club or in the stands, “Sandstorm” gets the people on their feet.
9. “I Like to Move It” – Reel 2 Real (feat. The Mad Stuntman)
It may be repetitive and slightly annoying, but “I Like to Move It” makes you want to … move it. It gets the blood flowing and the job done.
10. “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” – C & C Music Factory
Featured on an ESPN-backed sports-themed compilation album from 1995, titled Jock Jams, Volume 1, “Everybody Dance Now” has endured as a game day classic. With untouchable vocal ranges and unbeatable rhythms, keeping up with the song feels almost like a sport in and of itself.
11. “Thunderstruck” – AC/DC
Manic and menacing, “Thunderstruck” brings the action to any moment. An effective song that, for lack of a better word, thunders when played, the AC/DC tune has found a home in Iron Man movies, at sporting events, and in our hearts.
12. “We Will Rock You” – Queen
“We Will Rock You” feels like it was made to be more than a song. The intoxicating, beat-driven anthem is just as powerful when stomped alone or when pummeled by a stadium’s worth of feet. Letting the other team know they’re about to get rocked, there’s a reason the Queen classic is often followed up by “We Are the Champions.”
Photo: Courtesy Sony Music