Liverpool icon John Barnes recalls the brilliant story behind England’s ‘World in Motion’ song and how his iconic rap came about

World in Motion and Three Lions are easily the best songs about the England football team. If you think the best one is another song then there’s something wrong with you!

But as Three Lions was done before Euro ’96, that makes World in Motion by miles the best World Cup song about England.

new order - Liverpool icon John Barnes recalls the brilliant story behind England’s ‘World in Motion’ song and how his iconic rap came about
New Order’s hit broke the mould of England songs being slightly awkward

It was an innovative track, which reached No.1 in the UK charts for two weeks, in the sense that there was actually a reputable band [New Order] doing most of the work rather than the previously tried format of getting the England players with their limited voices to do all the singing.

It’s 30 years since World in Motion was released (feel old yet?) and former England man and Liverpool icon John Barnes, who stole the show with his iconic rap at the end of the song, recalled to talkSPORT about the story behind how it all came about.

You’ll notice from the official music video below that not everyone in the England squad was involved in it, but Barnes revealed how expectations weren’t high before it was recorded.

Barnes also revealed how that rap wasn’t in the planning until the day the song was recorded.

He told Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Drivetime: “No one else turned up. Of course, when it got to No.1 and they were all in the video but this was about three months before the World Cup and we didn’t know it was going to be New Order, we thought it was just going to be lads with arms round each other.

“So when we saw it was New Order and Keith Allen, that’s when we knew it was going to be a decent song.

“There wasn’t even a rap in it… at the end of the song Keith Allen just went ‘why don’t we write a rap?’

“We wrote the rap and then had a rap off! It was between me, Peter Beardsley, Des Walker, Chris Waddle and Steve McMahon… so I did the rap. It really was only between me and Des Walker to be honest with you!”

barnes world in motion - Liverpool icon John Barnes recalls the brilliant story behind England’s ‘World in Motion’ song and how his iconic rap came about
You can’t help but smile when you hear Barnes’ rap!
YouTube – New Order

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and there surely would have been more participants had the England players seen what a hit it was going to be.

Barnes revealed that those who weren’t so keen on taking part used it as an opportunity to go down the pub!

He added: “You play with your club on a Saturday and then you get together with England on a Sunday to play on the Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We didn’t like getting together on the Sunday with England because of course Sunday is time for the pub.

“But when Bobby Robson said ‘you don’t have to meet up with England, just go to these studios to do this song, some of the players thought the song was going to be rubbish so decided to just go to the pub!

“We’d made an album in ’86 which was rubbish and they didn’t think this one would be any good. We turned up and saw it was New Order and that’s why the song was good, not because of us!”

Listen to John Barnes’ story on how World in Motion came about above!


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