5. Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Common Man (1943)
Nearly 70 years after its premiere, "Fanfare for the Common Man" remains one of the most stirring compositions in American music. Originally written to inspire patriotism during World War II, "Fanfare" has found its way into movie soundtracks, sports documentaries, and opening segments of Super Bowl games. The instantly recognizable trumpet theme has become an icon in American culture. It symbolizes courage and sacrifice, and evokes the spirit of every great champion that persisted in the face of adversity.
4. Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (Sports Chant Remix) (1999)
"Kernkraft 400" is the song of choice when feeding the crowd’s excitement after a touchdown or explosive play. Most people know it as the “whoa oh ah ooh oh” song, but in fact, "Kernkraft 400" was a major hit in Europe before making its way into American sporting events. The main melody comes from an 80’s computer game called “Lazy Jones,” and when 75,000 fans sing it in unison, it sounds like a tribal war chant. In particular, the “Sports Chant Remix” has become one of the best known “unknown” songs in the country.
3. Europe - The Final Countdown (1986)
The main chorus in "The Final Countdown" is quite possibly the cheesiest moment in 80’s hair metal. But when NFL fans hear that opening keyboard riff, it’s like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. The intro has become a rallying cry for the NFL. Stadiums often use the song for dramatic effect in the winding minutes of a close-scoring game. For example, after the Giants scored the game winning touchdown against the Patriots in Superbowl XLII, this song blasted out the loudspeakers. As cliche as it is, "The Final Countdown" works wonders in closely contested situations.
2. Carl Orff - O Fortuna (1937)
"O Fortuna" is one of the most recognizable compositions in pop culture. From movie trailers to Super Bowl promos, "O Fortuna" adds fire and intensity to any climactic film sequence. New England fans know this piece as the team’s entrance music during home games. The movement is also used in a Gatorade commercial featuring Peyton Manning. In the end, Super Bowl Sunday is the grand finale of each NFL season, and a game of its caliber requires music that can fit the occasion. "O Fortuna" is perhaps the only piece that captures the colossal scope of the event.
1. Queen - We Are the Champions (1977)
Freddie Mercury wanted to write a song that would work well in arenas and would encourage audience participation. He proceeded to write the greatest victory song of all time. To this day, "We Are the Champions" is still the reigning King of Super Bowl anthems. Like “Auld Lang Syne” or “White Christmas,” it’s a song that is woven into the fabric of our cultural tradition. It is no longer just a song, but rather, a final rite of passage for many Super Bowl Champions. Hearing that song completes the final stage of a team’s journey to the top. It closes the book on a long, hard-fought season and ends it with the sweet sounds of victory.