From Light The Sky to Waka Waka: Here are some of the most memorable Fifa World Cup songs

With the newest release from Emirati singer Balqees, Nora Fatehi and others, here is a look back at 5 more of football's biggest event's most unforgettable songs


Anjali Garg

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Published: Sun 9 Oct 2022, 3:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Jun 2023, 3:47 PM

"Light The Sky", the latest official song for the Fifa World Cup 2022, has arrived.

The foot-tapping number features stunning vocals from Emirati singer Balqees, Moroccan-Canadian celebrity and Bollywood sensation Nora Fatehi, Iraqi superstar Rahma Riad, and Moroco's award-winning singer-songwriter Manal.

The spellbinding ensemble of four of the Arab world’s most famous female sensations doesn't just feature English – Hindi, and a little bit of Moroccan Arabic, are interspersed in the anthem as it pays tribute to women on the field.

Here's a look back at 5 more of football's biggest event's most memorable songs – those that were universally well-received, and one that was not.

1. "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", by Shakira feat. Fleshlyground: 2010, South Africa

Written, composed and produced by Shakira and John Hill, the irresistibly catchy Waka Waka quickly cemented itself in the annals of music history as one of the best-selling singles of all time. It borrows largely from the original Cameroonian song "Zamina mina (Zangaléwa)", the lyrics of which encourage listeners to aim for their goals like soldiers on a battlefield.

Waka Waka's accompanying music video racked up a staggering 3.2 billion views, and the song has become synonymous with the World Cup in the years since its release.

2. Wavin' Flag, by K'naan: 2010, South Africa

The song was originally released in 2009, written for the people of Somalia and their aspirations for freedom – but it became a global smash hit when selected as Coca Cola's promotional song for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

A version of the pride-stirring anthem aimed at international markets was released with additional lyrics featuring and David Guetta, and it climbed to the Top 10 of more than 20 different charts around the world.

3. "Live It Up", by Nicky Jam featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi: 2018, Russia

The reggaeton-infused techno single featuring American rapper Smith and Kosovo Albanian singer Istrefi has been one of the most polarising songs to emerge from the World Cup's soundtrack in recent years. Its release was marred with controversy, with many criticising its generic sound, lyrics and overall message.

Others, however, were more lenient, praising the song's melodic chorus and zesty rap. "At the end of the day, we just want to see the world dance!", Smith had said in a statement.

Despite mixed critical opinions, the music video has since amassed nearly 40 million views.

4. "La Copa De La Vida" by Ricky Martin: 1998, France

Also known as "The Cup of Life", the iconic single was created by Ricky Martin specially for the 1998 World Cup, upon Fifa's request.

The highly well-received song burst into global prominence almost immediately, with Martin's performance in Paris at the World Cup's closing ceremony seeing an estimated 2 billion viewers tune in worldwide.

In the years after, the samba-rooted Latin pop single became known as a game-changer for Latin music globally – it was even credited by certain media outlets for ushering in the "Latin explosion".

5. We Are One (Ole Ola) by Pitbull feat. J Lo and Claudia Leitte: 2014, Brazil

Recorded by Cuban-American rapper Pitbull for the album 'One Love, One Rhythm', We Are One was the official song for the 2014 World Cup, and released to sizeable commercial success – steadily hiking up charts to reach the Top 20 in countries including France, Italy and Spain, as well as the Cup's host country Brazil, and peaking at Number One in three more countries.

The music video, intended to simulate the festive season 'Carnival' in Brazil, sees Pitbull, Leitte and Lopez celebrate football's biggest event in a parade of prismatic colours and celebration. As of October 2022, the video has amassed over 848 million views.


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