The Wise Men Say team have curated The Road To Wembley playlist based on contributions from social media, including all of the Sunderland AFC peak run-up music played at the Stadium of Light, and some classics.
Earlier in the week, Richard Easterbrook was joined by Stephen Goldsmith, Jimmy Reay and Jonny Lambert to decide on three songs each, and why they mean so much as Sunderland supporters.
Here’s some selections from the Wise Men Say team and what these tracks mean – and just why it makes us think of the lads in red and white when we hear them.
Wise Men Say Playlist Selections
Ray Of Light – Madonna: Similar to a few of the lads on the pod the other day, I’ve gone back to a song I can remember hearing on the way to some of my early away games, and of course, the Play Off Final in 1998. Helps too that Ray Of Light absolutely slaps. Always feel we should have a chant to this song, but I’ve no idea why.
Perfect 10 – The Beautiful South: I seem to recall this bonafide banger being played lots in the early days of the Stadium of Light? Might be wrong, but I always do associate it vaguely with the football. Regardless, Heaton is a legend and this, once again, just completely bangs.
The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala: Not football related, but I’ll often argue with people that this is the best song ever recorded. It has it all, and it’s an essential addition to any playlist, so why not this one?
Erasure – Breath of Life: I used to take frequent camping trips to the Lake District with my Dad when I was a kid, and journeys were often soundtracked by Erasure.
A distinctive memory of one of these trips involved my Dad driving around the fells near Buttermere, attempting to gain radio reception to listen to 5 Live updates of our 0-0 draw at Anfield in 1996. The previous Tuesday I’d been tasked with taking trips to the campsite phone, ringing my Grandma to get updates on our 4-1 win at Forest. The next day we found a shop and picked up a paper, and I read the match report aloud in the car on the way back to the campsite.
Whenever I think of Erasure I think of the Lakes, and these things always come to my mind first.
Lump – The Presidents of the United States of America: Remember those Soccer Camps of the mid 90’s? Well I went to one at Durham in 1997. Marshalled by Nick Pickering, in my freshly unboxed pair of Adidas Predators, I was still pretty average at football. We stayed in the halls of Durham Uni, and during the week my Mam dropped off a ghetto blaster for me with a freshly taped copy of PUSA’s self titled album I’d received as a birthday gift. I always associate this song with that trip.
Springtime – Leatherface: The band are from Sunderland and Frankie Stubbs is an MLF. So there’s one reason. And they lent us our podcast theme tune too. But for me, this is just a great song. When I listen to it it fills me with warmth. I always think it reflects hope and the short moments in our lives when we can bask in some sort of happiness for a short while. Something to reminisce about when time passes. Surely a victory on Saturday would make that list of things worth remembering.
Queen – We Will Rock You: I know this was played as walk-out music at several grounds at the time, as well as being synonymous with the TV show Gladiators, but no other song reminds me of Roker Park quite like this one. From drinking panda pop in the family enclosure to standing on a plank of wood hooked over the front railings in order to see the pitch (I’m only mid-thirties, honest), hearing this song takes me right back to those days.
The Futureheads – Meantime: I went to uni in Scotland in 2004 just as The Futureheads debut album came out. Obviously feeling a little homesick I remember buying this from HMV and taking it back to my halls to listen. It provided me with the connection to home that I needed at the time with the comforting sound of Wearside accents! I’ll always associate The Futureheads with visiting Sunderland and going to games and this particular song reminds me of nights out back home during breaks from uni.
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony: Is this the best non-football, football song ever? It’s hard to pin down why I make this connection. Maybe it’s the orchestration that hints towards Nessus Dorma and the 1990 World Cup. Maybe it’s the way it builds towards a sense of euphoria that seems to encapsulate the emotions of football… or maybe it’s just because ITV use it for their England coverage. Either way, no song gets me in the mood for football quite like this one.
Field Music – If Only The Moon Were Up: Sometimes a song can immediately take you back to a period of time in your life which was memorable. Back in the summer of 2005 Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland AFC had just achieved promotion to the Premier League on 94 points and a brighter, national spotlight would soon shine on the Lads as a result. Similarly, not to be outdone, the local music scene here on Wearside was also having an upswing and getting some national recognition too. Field Music’s If Only The Moon Were Up appeared on their debut LP released in August 2005 and that track in particular has become entwined with that whole period for me – Sunderland music and football team in the ascension.
The Teardrop Explodes – Reward: I’m not a massive fan of the Teardrop Explodes if I’m honest. The track was released when I was barely out of nappies so there aren’t any vivid memories of hearing it at the time either. However, as it features on a playlist I’ve had favourited for years the song has become a regular staple for me as it accompanies my amble over to the Stadium of Light. It usually appears in my ears just at the point I’m approaching the Davy Lamp and as such if I think of my matchday, Reward has made its way into that experience.
Roxy Girls – Trials and Tribulations: God knows this football club of ours has gone through some trials and tribulations of late. New local band Roxy Girls’ sound very much captures the intensity we’ve all experienced as a result of these long-suffering woes, but just in a more positive, musical form. They’re signed to Moshi Moshi records when last I checked and hopefully just like Futureheads, Field Music and Frankie & The Heartstrings they’ll also become the soundtrack to Sunderland’s ascendancy both on and off the pitch.