Music of the World Cup Final

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Yesterday we did a kind of musical half time report on the best of 2010, so far.  And in yesterday’s blog I mentioned a few recordings in several genres that stood out for me.  If there had been a category for “music I never thought I’d hear again, especially not on a major TV ad campaign,” we’d have a clear winner.

“Hocus Pocus,” by the Dutch prog-rock band Focus, is a tune that became a hit in the wild woolly days of early FM radio, in the early 70s.  How wild a time was it?  Well, this was a time when, for example, a rock instrumental with a flute solo and a guy shrieking in falsetto could actually become a radio hit.

Now that song has been heard by millions, as the soundtrack to the soccer World Cup’s “Write the Future” campaign.  At this point, with only the Dutch and the Spanish teams still in the hunt, those commercials are an almost comic reminder of how many of the supposed superstars of the game went back home empty-handed.  But Spain (my pre-tournament pick) and The Netherlands will duke it out for the Cup on Sunday, and one of these great soccer powers will win the ultimate prize for the very first time.

As the tournament closes this weekend, I think this might have been one of the most music-heavy (or at least sound-heavy) sporting events ever.  We had an official World Cup song (“Waka Waka [This Time for Africa]” by Shakira), an official World Cup Sponsor song (“Waving Flag,” by K’Naan), even an official World Cup Mascot song (what, you haven’t been grooving to Pitbull’s “Game On”?).  And then of course, the enduring sound of the first-ever African World Cup – the vuvuzela.  That may well turn out to be the most indelible memory left by this tournament, at least for soccer newcomers.  Unless Sunday’s final turns out to be a true classic…

If the World Cup were decided by musical talent rather than athletic prowess, which country would win, Spain or Holland?  Leave a comment.