|Released 1 June 1998|
|Format CD single|
Genre Pop rock
Label Universal Music London
"(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World" is a song by the British supergroup England United – formed by the Spice Girls, Echo and the Bunnymen, Space and Ocean Colour Scene. The song was released as official theme of the England national football team for the 1998 World Cup.
Background and release
In 1998 Universal Music Group and the UEFA European Championship called a group of artists to record the official theme of the England national football team for the 1998 World Cup. The supergroup, credited as England United, was formed by the Spice Girls, Echo and the Bunnymen, Space and Ocean Colour Scene. The song was the final single by the Spice Girls released with Geri Halliwell's vocals, until the group's reunion in 2007. It was overshadowed however by "Three Lions 98" and "Vindaloo". It was released on 2 CD single formats on the same day, the first featuring the standard versions of the song, including an instrumental. The second featuring remixes by Perfecto and an alternative instrumental version. The sleeve designs were of the white home kit (CD1) and the away red kit (CD2).
Although the song was a substantial chart hit in the UK, peaking at #9, critical reception to the song was largely negative. Chris Evans was quoted as saying: "It is a good pop song, but you can't sing it on the terraces. You can't really get your teeth into the lyrics." Charlie Porter in The Times said that it was "a snivelling apology for an official song" that "washes over you". Matthew Wright, writing in The Daily Mirror quoted footballers Ian Wright and Rio Ferdinand describing it as "bollocks" and "rubbish" respectively. In 2006 Guardian readers voted it the second worst England football song ever, after 1982's "This Time (We'll Get It Right)". BBC reporter Mark Savage describes the song as "clumsy and boring". When it was played at Wembley Stadium, it was booed by fans.
The song was first performed on TFI Friday. It was also performed on Top of the Pops on 5 June 1998.
An official music video was released featuring footballers of the National Team, including David Beckham, Ian Wright and Rio Ferdinand.