U2’s “Put ‘Em Under Pressure”

“Put ‘Em Under Pressure” can best be described as a football song and more specifically a celebration of the Irish national soccer team. The lyrics serve two primary purposes. One is to celebrate the fact that Ireland qualified for the 1990 World Cup in the first place.  And secondly, it is to encourage the national team to confront their opponents vigorously, primarily through the utilization of “pressure” and “defense”. And also there is a shoutout to “Jackie’s army”, which is a moniker for the Irish football team as coached by Jack Charlton.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for U2's Put 'Em Under Pressure at Lyrics.org.

Facts about “Put ‘Em Under Pressure”

This classic was produced by U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., who is also acknowledged as one its creators. There is no evidence that the other members of U2 participated in its creation, but it was still credited to the entire band in order to increase its popularity. And of course Mullen himself is known as a strong supporter of his nation’s football team.

This tune, whic is widely recognized as a novelty song, was released in 1990.

This track interpolates a number of other, older football tunes, including “Ally’s Tartan Army” (1978) and “Olé Olé Olé” (circa 1958). And the music is said to have been derived from a track by an Irish band called the Horslips which is entitled “Dearg Doom” (1973).

Moreover the vocals on “Put ‘Em Under Pressure” are actually samples of the late Jack Charlton, who was managing the Irish national football team at the time, as well as recordings of football fans at soccer games.

“Put ‘Em Under Pressure” came out as a single. It went on to set a record for most weeks (13) on top of the Irish Singles Chart.

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