England’s Tribute to Rik Mayall
After the devastating news of comedic actor Rik Mayall’s sudden death on June 9, fans have pulled together to pay tribute to the wonderful man. A football song he recorded for the last World Cup, in 2010 – which failed to make it into the charts the first time around – has been rocketed into the UK top 10.
Mayall was best known as one of the brains behind The Young Ones and Bottom, and his roles in Blackadder and as imaginary friend Fred in the film Drop Dead Fred.
In 2008, the comedian was injured in a quad bike accident leaving him in a coma for several days, and it was claimed that afterwards he was not as quick on the uptake, but he had not lost his sense of humour or dedication to making people laugh.
Rik’s World Cup song, Noble England, revolves around a speech he adapted from Henry V by Shakespeare. “Football chants are one of the great traditions of following football, and Shakespeare is also part of our national heritage,” Mayall said at the time. “It seemed only natural that they should go together.”
He explained that the battle described in the Shakespeare play was one of a “few Englishmen against the rest of the world”, which he felt is also an accurate description of the World Cup, and that he delivered the speech in a “gutsy way” to fire up the fans. He added that by releasing the song, he was just doing his part, like every other football fan in England.
We Are One (Ole Ola) by Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte, the official World Cup song, is currently at number 29 in the UK charts, while Three Lions (Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds) has made another return to the chart at number 27. But beating them all into the top ten is Noble England, currently lying at number seven.
According to the Official Charts Company (OCC), the campaign to get Noble England to the top spot was started off by DJ Jon Morter, who is the same person behind Rage Against the Machine’s defeat over Joe McElderry for Christmas Number One in 2009.
Rik, 56, died of an acute cardiac event after his morning run last Monday, leaving the country in mourning. “We always knew that Rik was well loved,” said his wife, Barbara, “but we are all overwhelmed by so many joining us in our grief.”
You can watch the video of Noble England here.
“Once more onto the pitch, dear friends, once more, to raise up these walls with our English cheer…”