Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Hear the untold story of New Order creating England anthem ‘World in Motion’

Perfect timing ahead of England's second game of Euro 2024 tonight.

By Will Richards

New Order
New Order's ‘World in Motion’ video (Picture: YouTube)

New Order have shared the untold story of writing their England football anthem ‘World in Motion’ on a new episode of their podcast – listen below.

In a new episode from the second season of the Transmissions: The Definitive Story Of Joy Division And New Order podcast, the band’s drummer Stephen Morris, alongside Keith Allen, tell the story of how the iconic 1994 track – complete with a rap from John Barnes – was created.

Discussing the track, Allen said: “Basically, if you break it down, most of it is either homosexual innuendo or drug taking innuendo. ‘You’ve got to hold and give and do at the right time. You can be slow or fast, but you must get to the line.’ It’s all about referencing drugs and homosexual activity.So I’m furiously trying to write this and there was this one bit – duh duh duh duh! – and I always wanted ‘It’s one on one’ which was, the big thing of the day, ‘Are you on one? Are you on one?’ here’s a football reference, which is 1 to 1 marking.

“So it’s all quite clever, if you ask me. But there was this one bit, and I was thinking, ‘Oh what can I put in?’ And I remember saying to Tony, ‘Is arrivederci an Italian word?’ ‘Yes, it is.’ I think he masteredin classics, actually. Well, thank you, Tony. And that’s where it came from. Could have been spaghetti hoops, one on one.”

Watch a trailer for the new season of the show – featuring a clip of a scrapped version of the song featuring a rap from Peter Beardsley in place of Barnes – and listen to the full episode on ‘World in Motion’ below.

Of the song, Morris added: “The most surreal bit was getting the team in, I thought we’d get away with just doing the song. But eventually it was kind of like, now you’ve got to get the squad in to do the traditional shouting, they turn up at the Mill studio, Stephen Hague freaked out, and it turned out they were of the same opinion as me that football songs were shite and why are we doing this? So they all had to be bribed to turn up.”

Allen then recalled getting England legend Paul Gascgoine in on the recording, Allen recalled: “Who arrives late but Gazza in a Merc…and I watched him drink three bottles of champagne in two hours. So we get Gazza in and the first thing he says, “Do you see this pop cover?’ –  for the people at home, it’s a piece of nylon on a round frame that stops your voice popping – ‘Fuckin hell, Beardo, your wife’s knickers are here in front of the mic!’ It’s like, ‘Oh, here we go!’ So then he starts… and he hits it just like that! He’s got the tempo! He’s got the rhythm, everything! Bang on it…. But you cannot understand one word of what he’s saying.”

England play their second game of Euro 2024 in Germany tonight against Denmark, after beating Serbia 1-0 in their opening game of the tournament.