Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published July 21st 2021
Winning songs from winning artists
I recently did a list of songs about competing to celebrate the Olympic Games. Well, now we are into the Games, it is time to celebrate the concept of winning. Winning! Yes! (Now, I could date this column instantly by talking Charlie Sheen here, so I won't.)
I always thought the medals would be more impressive somehow. (Image by AxxLC from Pixabay)
The idea of sporting competition at this level is to win, to be a winner. Getting a personal best, breaking a national record, achievements like that might be nice things to look back on, but in the heat of the moment, the only thing fans and crowds care about is who is on that podium having the medals put around their neck so the medal tally which apparently indicates the worth of a country is increased.
In case you haven't noticed, I feel way too much emphasis is placed on competition, and especially on winning. Because it moves from sport to all facets of life. Getting a place at university, getting a job, getting a promotion it has all been made competitive by capitalism, one of the many nastinesses capitalism has inflicted upon the world (sounds like a documentary).
Having said all that, there are some really, really good songs about winning or really aiming to win. So, we will look at the positive of winning the music! So, one song per artist (sort of?), I need to like the song, and no songs about not winning. I think this list leaves everyone a winner.
'We Are The Champions' by Queen (1977)
This classic Queen song is used so often in sporting televised broadcasts that you'd think it had been written with that in mind. According to an interview I read, it was written in order for a live audience to sing along, to feel they were all winners the idea that everyone is a champion. Who can argue with that?
'Every 1's A Winner' by Hot Chocolate (1978)
Following on from the Queen song, another song which was written to make listeners think they were all champions in life, a song of affirmation for the disco crowd, which consisted predominantly of people who the white male patriarchy tended (still tend) to put down. Yes, this was written as a political song hidden in a sex jam. Still a good one.
'She's A Winner' by Racey (1979)
From an album I've looked at before, this song is about how wonderful a man's partner is, but it could so easily be used to apply to a dominant sportsperson. Decent little song.
'The Winner Takes It All' by Abba (1980)
One of Abba's best known and most beloved songs, this song about a break-up resonated (and resonates) with a lot of people. A lovely song, with those beautiful voices in full flow.
'We Can't Be Beaten' by Rose Tattoo (1982)
Not just winning, but nobody can beat us. This hard-rocking Australian classic is such an iconic track that even now, almost forty years later, we still hear it at sporting events. Angry Anderson's sing-shouting, some great guitars and a sing-along chorus make this so very wonderful.
'Winners' by Moving Pictures (1982)
A song by this Australian band, known for 'What About Me?', that has fallen by the wayside a bit, but which is a really strong song with that ubiquitous saxophone solo so prevalent in the 1980s. A song about how you might lose everything, but can still be a winner. Triumphing over adversity. Great track.
'Playing To Win' by Little River Band (1985)
Most fans consider this version of the Little River Band as sort of a blip, as original lead singer Glenn Shorrock was replaced by John Farnham (the current American version of the band I consider a really bad tribute band, for what it's worth). Well, I am one of those who think this is the best version of LRB, with the best LRB songs, and this is one great track.
'You Win Again' by The Bee Gees (1987)
This was essentially the comeback song by the Bee Gees after their disco boom left them the butt of too many jokes. And what a comeback song it was. This is actually one of my favourites out of their entire catalogue and the whole winning thing is dominant throughout.
'Bound For Glory' by Angry Anderson (1991)
Is this a cheat? I've already mentioned his band, but here Angry Anderson is going it solo. Oh well, my column, different artists on the albums Anyway, this is one of Australia's great sporting anthems. Used in football broadcasts and, I think (if memory serves) for a Commonwealth Games as well. We are going to win. That is this song. And it soars.
'Didn't We Almost Win It All' by Laura Branigan (1993)
This only just makes it into the list based on what it's about, because it is about almost winning, but it is Laura Branigan, my favourite female singer, and so I have included it. This is such a good song, and one no one remembers.
'Medal' by Jim Johnson (2001)
Here is a track that most people do not know, written in honour of former Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Kurt Angle when he transitioned to professional wrestling. As a piece of music, it just has something about it that is triumphant and glorious. One of the better original theme songs done for a WWE wrestler.
'You Won' by Keith Urban (2002)
Some country music now, from Australia's own Keith Urban. With banjo going full-on, this song is a nice uplifting track that just moves along at a decent pace. An album cut, but one I really like.
'Stand Up (For The Champions)' by Right Said Fred (2002)
Yes, the band that gave us 'I'm Too Sexy' had other songs that were quite good, and this is one of them. I first heard it during some soccer broadcast (which is odd because soccer is one of my least liked sports), and it stuck with me. A song I would have thought would have been used more by sporting broadcasts, as that chorus is perfect.
'Survival' by Muse (2012)
First, thanks to Vanessa for pointing this one out to me. It was the theme of the 2012 Olympics, but I missed it when it came out because I avoided the opening ceremony. That's a shame because especially the version shown in the video from said opening ceremony it is an awesome song about not just winning, but surviving.
'Winner' by Jess Locke (2021)
Let's close this out with an acoustic ballad from an album I really like. Slow and sedate, I described it as a 'grower' and it has really grown on me. Beautiful track and fine way to finish this list.
And there we are, fifteen songs about winning, covering the time from the mid-seventies to today. Some great music here, making this another soundtrack for watching the Olympic Games (or any sporting contest, really); when the commentators show their lack of anything, put these songs on and enjoy the visuals.
Winning is not important, though. When I was a teacher, the one mantra was do your best. That's all. Despite these sporting contests focusing on the winners, being the best we can be and not comparing ourselves to others is really important.