Culture

The Welsh football songs to soundtrack your Euro summer

30 May 2021 10 minutes Read
Gareth Bale in action for Wales (CC BY-SA 3.0).

David Owens

We are less than a fortnight away from the start of the postponed Euro 2020 tournament and hopes are high that Wales could emulate their glorious passage to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

A young crop of talented kids and some world class experienced heads mean we have every chance of making this another summer of footballing excellence.

As always there are no end of fine football anthems from the Land of Song to get your ears round.

The fans may not be able to travel in numbers this time, but as always we’re adept at making a cracking racket.

Here then are the Welsh football songs that will soundtrack your Euro summer…

The Red Wall

Chris Phillips – The Red Wall

In the summer of 2016 Chris Phillips released one of the football songs of the summer in ‘Let The Good Times Roll’. Now he’s aiming to emulate that particular Welsh anthem with another.

‘The Red Wall’ came out of lockdown, with the singer saying that he hadn’t intended to write another football song, but with Euro 2020 postponed it got him thinking should he write another.

The answer thankfully was ‘yes’.

He was in the middle of writing and recording four brand new EP’s that will be released this year, and one of those songs lent itself brilliantly to a football song. So he set off on changing the lyrics and reshaping the song into another anthem.

“It’s very hard to write a football song,” says Chris. “There’s a fine line between good and cheesy. Get it wrong and it can be disastrous. When I wrote the last one I wanted to write a cross-over track, something that would be related to football, but ultimately could be played at any time of the year and at any occasion. I think I partially succeeded in that.

‘Tricky’

“So when it came to re-writing lyrics for a song I was already deeming as one of my finest, I found it very tricky. My biggest fear was devaluing the original song.

“After a few sessions I gave up. I was sat in my studio, on a rainy Sunday evening at the time of giving up on that idea. So I picked the guitar up and thought “let’s see if I can write a new one”.

“Within 20 minutes I was recording it and ‘The Red Wall’ was born.”

However, he adds when he heard about the official song also using ‘The Red Wall’ in the title, he had a moment of panic.

“A month later the official track was announced by The Alarm. They’ve used pretty much the same title. My heart sunk.

“It was too late to change anything and my song couldn’t have been called anything other than The Red Wall.

“The ironic thing is I was in the next dressing room to Mike Peters at the homecoming event in 2016, as we both played before the Manics that day at Cardiff a city stadium.  So I could claim that I started writing this song that day and Mike had a glass against his dressing room wall listening to me. But I won’t claim that, as it didn’t happen, and I’ll just put it down to a big coincidence!”

Released – June 6

Find out more here.

Match Stick Heads – Tails For Wales

This mysterious duo describe their song  as ‘The Unofficial ‘Official’ Anthem for Wales in Euro 2020.’

What we do know is that despite this pair of music makers being permanently balaclavaed, (giving off major KLF vibes into the bargain) their brand of lo-fi electronica has bags of charm, a hooky chorus and an excellent, most humorous video.

Best Welsh musicians wearing a balaclava since James Dean Bradfield’s infamous appearance on Top of the Pops.

Released: Out now

Find out more here.

When Wales Play Away

John MOuse – When Wales Play Away

Much loved Welsh singer John MOuse, aka Welsh super fan John Davies, is known for his larger than life stage shows and songs to match.

Thankfully, his new single ‘When Wales Play Away’, John’s unofficial anthem for the Wales team at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, ticks all the right boxes.

‘When Wales Play Away’ is inspired by the Wales travelling fans, The Red Wall/Y Wal Goch, which he experienced for the first time while playing to a sold out show in Budapest during the qualifying campaign for this tournament.

The tracks nostalgic guitar driven sound is a return to previous John MOuse albums and football themed songs, such as ‘I Was a Goalkeeper’ and the connection with Wales ‘Whole in my Heart (An Area the Size of Wales)’ and a departure from the last longplayer, ‘The Goat, an electronic Krautrock affair, which John has promised to return to for next years follow up album.

“I hope that this song really connects with the Welsh fans, and we get to sing it together soon at a live show, or in the terraces,” says the musician.

Released: June 4

Find out more here.

Happiness

SKAPA Collective – Happiness

Recorded by Cardiff ska band the SKAPA Collective, in conjunction with the anti-racist charity ‘Show Racism The Red Card Wales’, this fun-filled, ska-fuelled take on the timeless tune, ‘Happiness’, popularised by the late comedian comedian Ken Dodd, is a joybringer of a tune, and is accompanied by a brilliant video recorded in and around Cardiff.

The song is available in two versions – Welsh and English, with the Welsh version sung by musician, DJ and actor, Gareth Potter.

According to the SKAPA Collective’s guitarist, Stephen Bick, it was a collaborative effort.

“The song was started one week before lockdown at the University of South Wales, then emailed over to Grangetown community centre and finished there over a one year period ducking in and out of lockdown.”

The song features a couple of prominent guests stars including Roddy Moreno and Duck from legendary anti-racist punk/skinhead band The Oppressed.

“The mission of the song is to support our team after an incredible few years and also to push the anti racism sentiment,” says Stephen. “The video was filmed partly by myself on an iphone 11 and Go Pro but mainly by Steve Johnson of Dragon Fruit Films who also expertly edited the video. It was all a juggling act and mainly filmed outside by necessity but actually turned out great and we are over the moon.

“We are pushing 20,000 views on social media and have had only positive comments, which is rare these days.”

Released: Out now

Find out more here. 

Cymru Rydd

The Barry Horns – Cymru Rydd

In 2016, Wales’ house band The Barry Horns soundtracked the unforgettable Euro summer with their song ‘This Is Wales’. The incendiary new single from the band is sure to do the same.

“The track is an existential meditation on the past, present and future of Wales,” says the band. “A call to arms that asks a nation which direction it wants to take.”

Featuring a groove-laden, symphonic brass arrangement with distorted guitars and bilingual vocals, this anthemic and decidedly funky recording also aims to inspire Wales’ football team to light up the European Championships in the summer.

Sonically influenced by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Dog Eat Dog and Dafydd Iwan, it also features a middle eight vocal sample kindly permitted by none other than Hollywood star and all-round champion of all things Welsh, Michael Sheen.

We’ll miss the Horns in the stands fuelling the Welsh fans’ singing, but this track will act as an able substitute for their notable absence.

Released: June 5

Find out more here.

Yws Gwynedd – Ni Fydd y Wal

Singer and TV presenter Yws Gwynedd’s latest single celebrates that Wales can (finally) play in Euro 2020… even though it’s 2021.

The song was written by Yws and his band back in March 2020, and it is BBC Radio Cymru’s anthem for this year’s campaign.

The track is exactly what you’d expect to hear from Yws – a  summery and positive track that’s perfect for raising everyone’s spirits before, during and after the competition, no matter what happens.

The song is also accompanied by a most excellent video featuring Yws being put through his paces in readiness for the Euros.

“Most of the video was filmed before the song was composed,” he says. “The idea of creating the video was an inspiration for me to lose the weight I’d gained over Christmas 2019 – but because of the international pandemic which led to postponing the tournament and two lockdowns, the story of creating and adapting the song has been a lot more complicated.

“Coming up with the concept for the video was easy, but in order to film it I had to lose about a stone. So six weeks before shooting the last scenes of the video, I watched YouTube videos to lose the weight.”

Released: Out now

Find out more here. 


The Pumpers – Wales Away

Not content with providing the brass accompaniment to the official Wales Euro single ‘The Red Wall Of Cymru’ with Mike Peters and The Alarm, the ska band  from Machynlleth, have penned their own tilt at a joyfully uplifting Wales song.

Inspired by The Specials, Bad Manners and Madness, the track ‘Wales Away’ is a message of the unity and togetherness of the colourful Wales’ travelling support all set to an energetic and euphoric ska soundtrack and a chorus – “Wales we’ve done it again, we’re through to the Euros, come on Page’s men. Wales united we stand, together stronger this is our chance” – that will embed itself in your brain in seconds.

Released: Out now

Find out more here.


The Alarm – The Red Wall Of Cymru

The official Wales song has been written by Alarm frontman Mike Peters, who has involved fans from across Wales as part of the recording process.

Peters and The Alarm recorded the song in Wales’ legendary Rockfield studios (with backing vocals from Skindred’s Benji Webbe and brass accompaniment from The Pumpers) Following the recording, the inspirational musician, a three time cancer survivor who has shared the stage with rock legends including Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, travelled the country, meeting fans in 11 different locations, from Cardiff to Caernarfon, to be part of the song.

‘The Red Wall of Cymru’ celebrates the fan base of the Wales national team and the importance of the fans, whilst celebrating past glories and acknowledging an exciting future for the national side.

The song will be released as part of a three track Alarm EP available on CD, stream and download, which also includes the tracks ‘Red Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘Spirit of ‘58’ – a special reworked version of The Alarm’s classic song ‘Spirit of ‘76’ which lyrically celebrates Wales only appearance at a World Cup in 1958.

All three songs were written by Peters and well known Wales fan, author and commentator Bryn Law.

Released: Out now
Find out more here.

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Nerazzurri90
Nerazzurri90
14 days ago

The Match Stick Heads one is legit brilliant.

Robbie Savage
Robbie Savage
13 days ago

Agreed, match stick heads is classic

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
12 days ago

Diolch yn fawr i chi, Mr Entrepreneur!

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
12 days ago

Before I read this I wasn’t feeling even slightly excited about the Euros but now I feel a cyffro in my stomach! C’mon Cymru!!.

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