writes on June 12, 2017
For athletes, competitors, and go-getters of all kinds anthems inspire. They motivate. They lift the spirit and make far-fetched goals seem attainable—hell, even guaranteed. Come game day, entire stadiums will rock out to them.
For artists, anthems make careers and launch musicians into historical legend. If you can create a song that becomes an anthem, you’ve secured your place in the music lexicon for decades–maybe centuries–after you’re gone.
Wagner’s orchestral classic “Ride of the Valkyries” was crafted in 1854, yet can still be heard on college game days across the country to this day.
While anthems seems deceptively simple in their structure and lyrics, they’re catchy enough to remain stuck in the brain in perpetuity. This makes anthems incredibly lucrative for musicians, songwriters, and producers alike. Not only played in the headphones of athletes hyping themselves up during pregame time, anthems are blasted in stadiums, brands feature them in commercials, they’re the background of movies—the list is endless, i.e. endless cashflow for the song creators.
The NBA finals could end tonight with Game 5 of Warriors vs Cavs. So prep your playlists with the Top 5 Game Day Anthems.
For the purpose of not re-listing the same songs from a thousand prior “Best Songs” list, we’re showcasing from the past decade only. Keep reading for some of the Top Game Day Anthems today and their influence on the culture that spawned them.
Khaled’s third single from his fourth album, released in 2010, has been certified 3X Platinum. It features Ludacris, T-Pain, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg and was produced by Nasty Beatmakers, LVM and DJ Nasty.
“All I Do Is Win” is the perfect example of how profitable an anthem has the potential to be. You can’t go to any sporting event without hearing it. The 2010 national champion Auburn Tigers, the Brewers and Orioles, Knicks, Nuggets, Cavaliers, and Caroline Panthers are only a few of the teams that play it regularly after home game victories.
Pitch Perfect 2, Magic Mike XXL, and The Peanuts Movie have all featured it. It was on the NBA 2K16 soundtrack, a Coca-Cola and pasta sauce commercial, and former President Barack Obama was even introduced with it at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Nearly a decade later the song is just as popular, while Khaled continues to churn out solid hits.
Released in 2007 from Kanye’s much-celebrated Graduation album, “Stronger” won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and was named one of the best songs of the year by Rolling Stone and Spin magazine. It’s been certified 7X Platinum by the RIAA and features a remix of French house duo Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster Stronger.”
West reportedly worked with eight audio engineers and eleven mix engineers, before calling in Timbaland to pin down the drum programming.
And he still wasn’t completely satisfied, though Daft Punk felt the opposite and continued to collaborate with Kanye on future tracks.
“Stronger” has reached number one in five countries, including Canada, the UK, Turkey and New Zealand. Kanye performed part of the song in Wembley Stadium for the Concert For Diana in front of 63,000 and online simultaneously to over 500 million viewers from more than 140 countries worldwide. To date, “Stronger” has over 235,600,000 plays on YouTube on the KanyeWestVEVO channel alone.
Combining elements of dubstep and alternative rock to create an intensely unique electronic rock sound, Imagine Dragons released “Radioactive” in 2012 on their debut studio album Night Visions. It has been certified 10X Platinum and holds Billboard Hot 100’s record for most weeks spent on the chart at 87.
It is one of the best selling singles of all time. Period.
The single garnered two Grammy nods: one for Record of the Year and a win for Best Rock Performance. The song was remixed with Kendrick Lamar for a Grammy performance and later released to iTunes.
“Radioactive” has found its way into video games, tv shows, sporting events, movies and commercials—even making it into a Hyundai Super Bowl commercial. It’s the promotional song for Assassin’s Creed III and made the soundtrack for games MLB 13: The Show and NBA 2K14. Chicago Fire, Graceland, Defiance (the show and video game) and the History Channel have all used it.
For the music video, Imagine Dragons stepped outside the box to include puppet-fighting in an underground fight club arena and features actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Alexandra Daddario. It has over 654,600,000 views on YouTube.
Debuting in 2010, “Sail” spent 79 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, beaten only by our number 3 artists, Imagine Dragons.
The anthem has found placement in shows like The Vampire Diaries, Vikings and The Walking Dead, in the Aaron Eckhart movie Incarnate, a BMW commercial aired during the Olympics, and the video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The song has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
Really, we could have picked any one of the 6 God’s biggest hits to fill the number five spot on this list. Drake has become the go-to hitmaker for athletes and stadiums.
According to billboard.com, Drake’s are the most popular walk-up songs in MLB at 17—and another 13 on top of that in which he’s featured.
Few rappers, singers or band of any genre are as athlete-friendly as Drake. He regularly gives shoutouts to teams and players in songs and spends time with them off the field/court.
No one needs to be reminded of Drake’s commercial successes, so we’ll just add that “Energy” was Drake’s highest-charting single from his 2015 album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Go Drake go.