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"World in Motion" is a song by British musical group New Order (credited as England New Order).

"World in Motion"
Single by New Order
  • "The B-side" (1990)
  • "Such a Good Thing" (2002)
Released21 May 1990
FormatCD, cassette, 12", 7"
RecordedThe Mill, Buckinghamshire, March 1990
GenreSynth-pop, dance[1]
LabelFactory - FAC 293
Songwriter(s)Keith Allen, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert[2]
Producer(s)Stephen Hague
New Order singles chronology
"Run 2"
"World in Motion"

It has been New Order's only number one song in the UK Singles Chart.[3] The song was produced for the England national football team's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign, and features a guest rap by England footballer John Barnes and additional vocals by several members of the English team of 1990, and comedian Keith Allen, who had co-written the lyric.

One of the band members even described the single as "the last straw for Joy Division fans", noting how its upbeat sound had inverted their former band's famously gloomy image.[4] The song was originally announced as being called "E for England", but the Football Association vetoed the title, realising that it sounded suspiciously like a reference to the drug ecstasy.

Allen claimed that his original draft lyrics ran "E is for England, England starts with E / We'll all be smiling when we're in Italy."[5] After being internationally released, it was shown before the movie Die Hard 2.[citation needed]



The Football Association Press Officer at the time, David Bloomfield, who had been a fan of Joy Division, contacted Tony Wilson, the head of New Order's label Factory Records, with the suggestion that the band record a track for the forthcoming World Cup in Italy. Without any hesitation, Wilson agreed. Bloomfield had seen and heard England's previous World Cup tunes and thought them uniformly dull, with the possible exception of the 1970 single, "Back Home".

Bloomfield had been inspired by a track by Colourbox called "The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme", and he had noticed that the respected BBC Radio DJ John Peel occasionally played tracks by American football teams, deeming them good enough to play on his show without a hint of irony.

Watching television one night, Bloomfield found himself watching "Best and Marsh", a concoction of football chat and action clips. When the credits ran at the end of the programme, he noticed that the theme music was provided by New Order. In a eureka-like moment, he knew in an instant that he needed to contact Wilson and get the ball rolling.

There was a bit of a stand off between the agent acting on behalf of the England squad and Wilson with Bloomfield acting to get the parties talking once more. The players were by no means all willing to get involved. They were of the view that World Cup records were all dire and many didn't want to be associated with a band that few of them were familiar with. Gary Lineker was an absentee, not wishing to add his support to the official track because he was working on his own World Cup single, the poorly received "If we win it all".


Fewer than ten players turned up for the recording session, which took place before the squad met up on a Sunday afternoon, prior to an international match at Wembley. However, there was a good mood in the studio as the players added their vocals to the backing track that New Order had put together. The FA placed no restrictions or indeed gave any guidance to New Order, although Bloomfield had warned that he didn't want anything associated with hooliganism.

The backing track for "World in Motion" bore some similarities to the instrumental theme tune for the DEF II current affairs programme, Reportage,[6] which had been written for the show by Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order. "World in Motion" was produced by Stephen Hague, who had also produced one of the group's earlier hits, "True Faith". The single was released in May 1990, with the catalogue number FAC 293. It was New Order's last release on Factory Records.

The "They think it's all over" quotation, uttered by football commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme at the end of the 1966 World Cup Final, between England and West Germany, is utilised at the beginning and end of the track (though not the original; Wolstenholme re-recorded the phrase specially for the producers), and somewhat less known samples, such as "A beauty scored by Bobby Charlton" and "We Want Goals", are taken from Goal!, the official documentary film of the tournament of 1966; the voice is that of actor Nigel Patrick.

The squad with Allen shout "Express yourself" in the verses and sing the refrain at the end; in the "Carabinieri mix" they are also heard providing backing vocals in the chorus.

John Barnes RapEdit

A rap is performed by England player John Barnes towards the end of the track. Barnes was selected to perform the rap, after a contest with other players including Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne, and Chris Waddle.[7] The rap was improvised on the spot with Liverpool's Craig Johnston, who was not involved in the England set up in any way, penning the rap on a scrap of paper. The sleeve credits Barnes, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Waddle, Steve McMahon and Des Walker as providing vocals, though the entire squad is seen miming to the refrain in the video.

The rap is the most remembered part of the original song, becoming an iconic piece of English football culture in its own right, familiar to subsequent generations of England football fans not even born in 1990.[8]

"The B-Side"Edit

The single's B-side, an early version of the A-side, was titled "The B-Side", extending the football theme of the release. It was produced by former Swans member Roli Mosimann. Besides a different arrangement and some different lyrics, this version lacks the commentary samples and squad vocals, with Keith Allen's "naff football chants and JB impersonation" (as credited on the sleeve) in their place.


Like "True Faith", "Fine Time" and "Round & Round" before it, the single was issued on two separate 12" singles, the first featuring the original mix of the song, the second containing reinterpretations by outside remixers. This would be the last New Order single released in this way. Remixers Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley were supplied with an alternative chorus vocal, with the result that the chorus hook on their mixes runs "We've got the world in motion" rather than the original "Love's got the world in motion".

In 1996, LFO's Mark Bell remixed version of the song appeared on The Beautiful Game, which was released to tie in with Euro 96.

In 2010, one reworked version of the song was used in an advert for the Mars Bar.[9] The A side features heavily in the film Butterfly Kiss; both the song itself is heard as well as the two main actresses singing versions of it.


The single was re released for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, this time with the track "Such a Good Thing" replacing "The B-Side". It failed to enter the UK Top 40. This version was planned to have David Beckham performing the rap, but the F.A. vetoed the idea.[10] It was due to have been re released again in remixed form for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but despite a release date in the United Kingdom of 29 May 2006, an last minute decision was taken to shelve this release, and the remix has never surfaced.


In 1998, New Order performed the song live for the first time at the Reading Festival with Allen. In the interim time Allen had written another England football song, the unofficial release "Vindaloo". Allen performed it with the band again at the Move Festival at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in 2002,[11] and in 2005 at Glastonbury.

Writing on the song in retrospect, Pitchfork writer Tom Ewing commented that "I sometimes get the feeling New Order fans – Americans in particular – see “World In Motion” as a novelty or an aberration, when really it’s a validation: this is a band at their peak."[12]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Keith Allen, Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner; except where indicated.

12" #1: FAC 293 / 7": FAC-7 293 / Cassette: FAC 293C (UK)
1."World in Motion..."4:30
2."World in Motion..." (The B-Side)4:48
12" #2: FAC 293R (UK) / 12": Qwest 9 21582-0 (US) / Cassette: 9 21582-4 (US)
1."World in Motion..." (Subbuteo Mix) (Remixed by Graeme Park and Mike Pickering)5:08
2."World in Motion..." (Subbuteo Dub) (Remixed by Graeme Park and Mike Pickering)4:13
3."World in Motion..." (Carabinieri Mix) (Remixed by Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley)5:52
4."World in Motion..." (No Alla Violenza Mix) (Remixed by Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley)4:12
CD: FACD 293 (UK)
1."World in Motion..."4:30
2."World in Motion..." (The B-Side)4:14
3."World in Motion..." (No Alla Violenza Mix) (Remixed by Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley)5:19
4."World in Motion..." (Subbuteo Mix) (Remixed by Graeme Park and Mike Pickering)5:08
CD: NUOCD12 (UK) - 2002 release
1."World in Motion..." 4:30
2."Such a Good Thing" (Produced by New Order and Steve Osborne, BBC Radio Five Live World Cup Theme)New Order4:10
3."World in Motion..." (No Alla Violenza Mix) (Remixed by Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley) 4:12

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1990) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart[13] 21
German Media Control Singles Chart[14] 21
Irish Singles Chart[15] 7
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 8
UK Singles Chart[16] 1
UK Indie Chart 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 10
US Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales 5
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 5
Chart (2002, NUOCD12 release) Peak
UK Singles Chart[16] 43
Chart (2010) Peak
UK Singles Chart 22
Chart (2018) Peak
UK Singles Chart 48

References and footnotesEdit

  1. ^ Osborne, Ben (19 June 1998). "A decade of dance 1990". The Guardian. p. 17.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 February 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 515. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Astley, Conrad. "Main event: Rising from the ashes". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  5. ^ "'World In Motion' 25 Years On". NME. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  6. ^ Jones, Ian (October 2001). "Everyone Must Be Young and Beautiful: DEF II Revisited, Part One: "I Want To Subvert Mainstream TV"". Off the Telly. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2010. The current affairs show [..Reportage's..] title music, meanwhile, was by Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order and was later reused, not without some controversy, as the basis for the hit single World In Motion.
  7. ^ Hart, Simon (30 May 2010). "Perfect backing track as Barnes rap hits target". The Independent. London.
  8. ^ CNN, Tom McGowan. "World Cup: When football met rap". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  9. ^ Mark Sweney. "John Barnes to reprise World in Motion rap for Mars ad". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  10. ^ Interview with Peter Hook on Soccer AM - 10 October 2009
  11. ^ "Red carpet for Move". Manchester Evening News. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  12. ^ Ewing, Tom. "World in Motion". Freakytrigger. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  13. ^ " > England New Order - World In Motion..." Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Charts Surfer - UK, German and French charts". Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts". IRMA. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  16. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - New Order". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 October 2008.

External linksEdit