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The Killers Pause Concert to Celebrate England's Victory

The Killers Pause Concert to Celebrate England’s Victory

Over the years, many pop and rock songs have become associated with the English men’s national soccer team. The latest to join this list is The Killers’ 2004 single “Mr. Brightside,” and it achieved this status in a particularly special way.

The song by the Las Vegas-formed band has been popular worldwide and is a staple at many sporting events, notably the Michigan Wolverines’ home football games. However, it enjoys even more remarkable popularity in the United Kingdom, where it’s a regular feature in various settings, including closing time at bars and clubs. Earlier this year, “Mr. Brightside” became the U.K.’s third-biggest song ever in terms of sales and streams. Last week, The Killers were presented with Guinness World Records for the most cumulative weeks on the UK singles chart (one song) and the longest stay on the UK singles chart by a group, clocking in at 416 weeks.

This set the stage for what happened on Wednesday night. The Killers are currently engaged in a six-date residency at London’s O2 Arena, with Wednesday being the fifth concert. However, the band faced considerable entertainment competition from England, who were playing against the Netherlands in the Euro 2024 semifinals. To manage this, the band displayed the match on the big screen behind them. Ten songs into their set, they paused to watch the last two minutes of the match with their fans.

During this pause, England secured a 2-1 victory thanks to Ollie Watkins’ 90th-minute strike. As soon as the final whistle blew, the band fired off red and white confetti cannons and broke into “Mr. Brightside,” sending the crowd into a frenzy.

This certainly isn’t the first time a song has been taken up by the English men’s soccer team, either officially or unofficially, and it’s not the first time a band has leaned into this cultural phenomenon. For instance, in 1990, New Order released “World In Motion” featuring members of the England team, including a memorable rap by John Barnes. The song marked a significant moment, with singer Bernard Sumner famously calling it “the last straw for Joy Division fans.”

In 1996, David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, and the Lightning Seeds released “Three Lions,” better known as “It’s Coming Home,” which has remained an anthem for English football. Another notable instance occurred following England’s 5-1 victory over Germany in the 2001 World Cup qualifying match. That event inspired songs like “England 5 – Germany 1” by the Business, “Sven Sven Sven” by Bell & Spurling, and “Keep On Movin’ – World Cup 2002 Remix” by the then disbanding group Five.

The latter song featured legendary announcer John Motson’s call of the match, and a snippet from the later England-Greece match that secured England’s 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification. It stands out as one of the more unusual yet mostly successful mixes of music and sports commentary, even challenging the purported innocence of Phil Rizzuto’s contribution to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”

We’ll have to wait and see if “Mr. Brightside” continues to be associated with the English team in the future and if it can join the ranks of these memorable music-sport connections. For now, it certainly contributed to a perfect moment for England fans at The Killers’ concert on Wednesday night. At this point in the tournament, at least, everyone was indeed doing just fine.

Source: NME