England clear first World Cup hurdle - releasing tournament song in time

Andrew Flintoff, Greg James and LORYN at the launch of the official World Cup song International Cricket Council

"If you let me be the only one, you'll never be the lonely one."

You'll have to wait until May 17 to discover whether these hastily scraped lyrics to the Cricket World Cup's as-yet unreleased official song are a) accurate, and b) a fair reflection of the sport's mindset, as it seeks to win over a brand-new generation of devotees.

But one thing is for sure. In managing to launch their official anthem, in a timely and orderly fashion at an upmarket rooftop bar in Southwark on Tuesday afternoon, the CWC organisers have already managed to soar past the subterranean standards set by their forebears at the 1999 event 20 long years ago.

Ah yes, 1999. Let the cultural cringe kick in as we take a journey back in time…

When global event organisers like to tell you "it's the little things that matter", what they are actually referencing are the little things that don't matter, but go so stratospherically and calamitously wrong that they enter folklore as examples of how to make an absolute pig's ear of your event. Those are the things that really and truly matter.

Things such as holding a fireworks display in broad daylight and turning the Lord's outfield from a World Cup opening ceremony into a Civil War Re-Enactment Society gathering. Or delaying the launch of your official World Cup song to the very day after the tournament hosts have been evicted from the party at which they were meant to be dee-jaying.

"I remember the 1999 song vaguely," said Andrew Flintoff, the former England allrounder who was guest of honour at Tuesday's launch. "That World Cup didn't start that well with that first game against Sri Lanka when the ground was just full of smoke. As a player, it was one to forget - we inspired no-one."

And pity poor Dave Stewart - once better known as the half of Eurythmics that wasn't Annie Lennox, now a World Cup quiz question. It wasn't that his song, "All Over The World" was a terrible tune in itself, or even a terrible choice as an anthem - if the evocation of "cheering crowds" and "every nation" is the box-ticking limit of your ambition.

But, like the Sinclair C5 and spandex skirts, Stewart's over-fashionable spectacles and dubious coiffures had at one stage been an improbably significant part of 1980s pop-culture. By 1999, however, his moment had long since passed. In fact, he was about as relevant to the youth of the day as his name-sake, Alec, would prove to be to that World Cup's Super Sixes and knockouts.

Youth of the day such as Greg James - the radio DJ and compere of Tuesday's launch - who would have been an impressionable 13-year-old at the time of the 1999 World Cup, and precisely the sort of kid at whom such a song ought to have been targeted.

Instead, James was so scarred by what the organisers served up that, when he first heard this year's offering, "Stand By" by LORYN featuring Rudimental, he admitted that his overwhelming emotion had been "relief".

"Usually, World Cup songs... they are not that good, are they?" Flintoff added by way of moral support. "Let's be honest... but that's a proper song."

It was gloriously faint praise for LORYN - a Canadian newcomer whose existing knowledge of cricket was such that she had been forced to google Flintoff prior to their joint appearance (and ignore most of the first ream of search terms) - but both observations had been intended as the most fundamental of compliments.

Because, no matter how cloth-eared you may be as a music fan, it was clear from the first airing of "Stand By", that the tune (or "tchoooon", as the CWC organisers hope it will come to be known…) was an admirably self-confident offering, with big bass, phat beats (with a capital PH) and a funky brass section that would be perfectly capable of holding its own had a global tournament not sidled along to offer a leg-up.

As LORYN herself puts it: "There's a million other people here tonight … You should call me before I go, because I've got options, don't think I don't."

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Again, I can't yet vouch for the accuracy of the transcription, but that's what I jotted down from a solitary hearing, so that's the line I'm sticking to - her sentiments are certainly not as inaccurate as assuming that Pavarotti is singing about his love of elephants in Verdi's "Rigoletto", or that "Money's Too Tight" is about Mick Hucknell's unnatural fondness for rabbits.

After all, Rudimental have already shifted more than 2 million albums since 2011 (this in an era when no one apparently pays for music), and have a track record of finding and cultivating up-coming talent. Whatever the fate of this particular project - and death by a thousand montages would be my best guess - they have a contemporary street cred that will crack on regardless (even if most of the kids in my 'hood have long since moved on to the Drill singer, Unknown T, with his baritone underground stylings and a curious love of spinach. One to watch for the 2039 event, maybe ...)

Either way, poor Stewart never had quite the same shelf-life. Instead, after his turkey had been slow-cooked to a highest chart position of 154, his only option was to give the lyrics a subtle repackaging and flog the whole thing to Disney as part of the Phileas Fogg soundtrack.

And even that outcome was perhaps a stroke of luck - presumably my family-friendly paymasters missed the frankly baffling horror-show of a video that accompanied the official release of "All Over The World", a grotesque parody of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, complete with a mass break-out from a mental asylum, a Benny Hill-style pursuit by nurses, and a series of arrests in the midst of a very bad game of cricket.

Because when the little things go wrong, all you end up inspiring is laughter.