Soccer fans from nearly every country on earth hope to celebrate their national team bringing home the World Cup this summer. Even the United States, which usually has less enthusiastic soccer fans than most nations, has been hooked on the constant coverage of this special event. The World Cup competition has been aired on a national network as well as on cable channel ESPN.
In between games fans can take time to appreciate another pastime common to every country on earth, the beauty of music. To celebrate the World Cup, I am offering what I consider the best ten songs containing the word World in the title.
The list should be twice as long. There are many songs with World that I have omitted from the list, but one could argue that they certainly belong. For instance, two Neil Young songs, Rockin’ in the Free World and World on a String, are among the favorites in my CD collection. I also left off the very catchy REM single The End of the World as We Know It, the Oasis anthem All Around the World, and the beautiful Moody Blues love ballad In My World. I even left out a song that uses the word twice in its title, Harry Nillsson’s The Most Beautiful World in the World.
The list of quality omissions could go on, but here are the ten I finally settled on.
10. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World by Charlie Rich: The Silver Fox hit the charts with this apology from a man to the woman he somehow wronged.
9. Color My World by Chicago: No piano intro could be as simple or as beautiful as the melody in this early hit from the pop band who amassed hit after hit throughout the 70s and 80s.
8. The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie: The title track with an intoxicating guitar riff from the classic album found new life after a cover version charted during the 90s.
7. World Turning by Fleetwood Mac: Lindsay Buckingham previewed his songwriting talents on this song from the precursor to the band’s smash album Rumours.
6. Top of the World by The Carpenters: Karen sounds so happy on this track, which made her unfortunate demise even more troubling.
5. World Leave Me Alone by Ambrosia: The band’s debut album is one of the best ever, containing hits such as Nice Nice Very Nice and Holdin’ on to Yesterday. This track’s bouncy beat tries to protect a man seeking quiet isolation.
4. The World and His Wife by Elvis Costello: This track, with its jittery horns and images of incest, is the highlight from Punch the Clock.
3. Any World (That I’m Welcome To) by Steely Dan: The version on Katy Lied is solid, but the scaled down pre-mixed demo found on rarities albums is even better. Donald Fagen sings with a raw sincerity that gets lost to too much production on Katy Lied.
2. The World Is Mine by The Minor Leagues: The song exudes a confidence that was absent from Ben Walpole’s lyrics on the rest of The Pestilence Is Coming, the band’s fantastic concept album from 2006.
1. Woman’s World by Squeeze: Any doubt that Chris Difford is not a prolific writer is erased when you hear the album East Side Story. Look at the example from this track: “Fed up with the garbage she abdicates her title.” Not many songwriters can make the verb abdicate flow so naturally. The chorus is also representative of Difford’s talent: “Press the button down on the toaster, Tuck the sheets in on the bed, Take your apron from the holster, Shoot the crown off of your head.”