Here are six facts that you might not know about the hotly debated England rugby anthem ‘Swing Low’.
The RFU have launched a review into the ‘historical context’ of the song – which is regularly belted out by England supporters and has its lyrics written on the walls at Twickenham.
The facts were shared on Twitter by radio/TV presenter Tim Cocker.
1. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written by Wallace Willis after his emancipation. About the railroad which helped slaves escape to freedom.
2. Oklahoma State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre from Tulsa proposed a bill nominating “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as the Oklahoma State official gospel song in 2011. The bill into law on May 5, 2011, at a ceremony at the Oklahoma Cowboy Hall of Fame; making the song the official Oklahoma State Gospel Song.
3. It was performed at Woodstock in 1969
4. In 1939, Nazi Germany’s Reich Music Examination Office added the song to a listing of “undesired and harmful” musical works
5. It had a resurgence during the civil rights movement in the 1960’s in America
6. Although previously thought to have been started in 1988, the World Rugby Museum in 2020 unearthed archive footage of it being sung at Twickenham when Martin Offiah (nicknamed “Chariots” as a play-on-words referencing the 1981 film Chariots of Fire), played in the 1987 Middlesex Sevens tournament
LIST | 9 of the Biggest Transfers That Never Happened
1. David Pocock to Wasps
Hot on the heels of landing fly half Danny Cipriani for next season, Wasps reportedly made an audacious attempt to bring David Pocock to the Premiership in a potential deal that would make the Australia flanker the highest paid rugby player in the world. According to The Telegraph, they would offer him a package in excess of the £1.4 million. This would have been one of the biggest transfers ever.
2. Jonny Wilkinson to Lyon
French Top 14 club Lyon reportedly sounded out England rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson over a potential short-term move back in 2015. Despite reports that Lyon was set to offer the World Cup winning fly-half a deal that would have made him one of the league’s top earners, the former Toulon playmaker ‘politely refused’ the offer. Would have been great to see him do his stuff one more time.