In another post I will be taking a look at the return of the World Cup to Mexico, but before that an instrumental track from a band who if they walked down the street you probably wouldn’t recognise…


…But if you heard their music – and especially their collaborations you’d know exactly who they were.

Colourbox were on the seminal 4AD label from the early-to-late 80’s and were proto-trip hop. The combined and drew on influences as varied as blues, soul, rock, dub and funk.

Their releases hit the charts with four of their singles reaching the top 10. Their only proper (self-titled) album went to number one.

Then in 1986 they released two different singles simultaneously on the same day. A rare thing for an indie label and a big risk. But the gamble paid off as the single Baby I Love You So reached No.4 and the other single, which got to Number 6 in April of that year wasn’t even originally written as a football-related tune:

This from their profile on 4AD Records:

“…Alongside this (Baby I Love You So) release, in an entirely characteristic change of tack, they issued “The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme”, timed to coincide with that year’s football tournament in Mexico. And it damn nearly lived up to its title, too – the BBC seriously considered using it to soundtrack its national TV coverage of the event. The track remains Martyn’s favourite Colourbox recording, although, he says, they’d originally written it as a baseball theme. “I’m not even that interested in football, but I do know the BBC came very close to choosing it.”

As you will see from the cover scans below, the front cover of the single featured a vintage pic of Jimmy Hill and the back had Bobby Robson:

» The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme (7 inch)

» Phillip Glass (7 inch version)

» The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme (12 inch)

» Official Colourbox World Cup Theme/Phillip Glass

But it doesn’t end there…

There was a post over on The (old) Vinyl Villain a few years ago which talked about Colorbox and in the comments someone mentioned how this had inspired Saint Etienne to create the following track (as a B Side) four years later:

» Saint Etienne – The Official Saint Etienne World Cup Theme

…and of course we have to have the A Side too (12 inch version mind) because with the name of the band and the name of the group this will complete some…sort…of…trifecta….or something…

» Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves)

4 Replies to “The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme”

  1. I have always wanted to write a blog post about the process behind M/A/R/R/S and “Pump Up the Volume,” but everything I read suggests it’s too convoluted!

  2. This song has to have been in the back of my mind when I had the Eureka moment when I decided to call up Tony Wilson and ask him if New Order fancied recording England’s 1990 World Cup Song. In less than an instant he’d said “Yes.”

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