Less than a week after Rik Mayall’s death at the age of 56, the Bottom actor’s overlooked World Cup anthem, Noble England, is set to enter the top five after an online campaign by fans helped make it the highest charting World Cup 2014 song so far.
Noble England, in which Mayall performs his own take on the iconic speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V over rousing chants, was originally released in 2010 for the South Africa World Cup, but failed to chart. However, a social media campaign featuring the “chart-hijacker” Jon Morter, who used Rage Against the Machine to prevent X Factor winner Joe McElderry from securing the Christmas number one in 2009, has seen the track soar up the top 40 and currently at number eight.
According to the Official Charts Company, Noble England is set to enter the top five this weekend, although is unlikely to beat X Factor’s Ella Henderson to number one. However, it is currently number four on iTunes and topping the Amazon chart.
It has been a dire year for England World Cup songs. After Gary Barlow’s Greatest Day was quietly ditched by the FA, there is now no official song for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Monty Python have released an updated version of their Life of Brian song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, as an unofficial contender, but it has not set the charts ablaze.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com about the campaign earlier this week, Morter said: “A lot of people have fond memories of [Rik] and they’re showing it in the way they know. I think that the chart hijacking thing is a way of people coming together to show how they feel. With Rage Against The Machine, it was a protest, with this… It’s an outpouring, but not of grief, more of a celebration. And that’s what I wanted. It’s a celebration of this crazy guy that many of us grew up watching. I think it’s what he would have wanted.”
Mayall’s death on Monday (9 June) shocked fans of shows such as Bottom, The Young Ones and Blackadder. Although there has been no official coroner verdict yet, his wife confirmed in a statement that the comic died of a heart attack after a morning jog.