In less than a couple of hours thousands of people across Europe will lose their sanity as they spend the next few weeks shouting at their televisions whilst a bunch of grown men, who can't hear them yelling, chase a ball around a bit of grass in France, trying to kick it in between two white posts and a column from which a net hangs, whilst another bunch of men try to stop them doing it.
To celebrate Euro 2016, just like every international football tournament before it, some musicians have had their own goes at celebrating the madness with what they do best - a song. This year I’m convinced that whilst Wales might be rank outsiders in the tournament, they’ve won when it comes to the tunes. They’ve got not one, not two, but three big songs for Euro 2016:
1. Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger (C’mon Wales)
The Manic Street Preachers tune may not have found favour with every listener, but from my perspective Together Stonger (C'mon Wales) is excellent, for the following reasons:
1. It’s recognisably the Manic Street Preachers sonically and carries the tradition of some of the 'classic' football tunes like Three Lions and World In Motion.
2. It’s the most stirring of all the Euro 2016 tunes I’ve heard.
3. Thematically it fits very well with the rest of the bands output, namely name checking historical figures (in this case sporting ones) that many people won’t have heard off, injustice, dissapointment and managing to fit in lines that (in theory) don’t go with the music - something the Manics have made their trademark.
4. It manages to make reference to the song Can’t Take My Eyes Off You which has become an adopted tune of Welsh football fans.
2. Helen Love – A Boy From Wales Called Gareth Bale
“To be honest it’s the best football-inspired single since Eat My Goal by Collapsed Lung. And you can quote us on that,” say Helen Love’s label Alcopop! Records. Well I just did. “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na – he’s a boy from Wales called Gareth Bale!” proudly sing the band in this rather wonderful hooky punk pop explosion of fun. Sing-a-long with the video below.
3. Super Furry Animals – Bing Bong
The first of two unofficial welsh tunes, the band have described Bing Bong as “A Welsh folk idiom that we have appropriated, but its pronunciation has been partly inspired by the sonic motif of the talking robot, Twiki, in the 1979-81 sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” The song was originally demoed for Euro 2004 in Portugal when Wales just missed out on qualification in the play-offs but has been resurrected now that the team are in the finals. It’s a bit bonkers, but kind of brilliant and sung in Welsh language.
Three winners. Well done Wales. You deserve to do well in the tournament just because of these.