Song inspired by Zidane hits No. 1 on French charts

Head-butt, the single

Three weeks after France’s World Cup final soccer defeat, the song inspired by captain Zinedine Zidane’s fateful head-butt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi has hit number one in the nation’s singles chart.

“As of today, it’s No. 1 in the French charts. It has had an exceptional start, better than we could ever have hoped for,” said Thierry Chassagne, president of Warner Music France, which distributes the song.

Coup de Boule, the French for “head-butt”, was written by the three associates of Plage Records, a small label specializing in jingles and sound effects, the day after France’s July 9 defeat in Berlin.

Zidane, one of the finest footballers of his generation, was sent off for head-butting Materazzi after exchanging comments with the Italian defender in extra time with the score at 1-1. Italy won the final after a penalty shoot-out.

The label’s founders, brothers Emmanuel and Sebastien Lipszyc, and composer Franck Lascombes, penned the catchy reggae-style song and its chorus “Zidane, il a tape” (“Zidane, the hit man”), as a cure for their post-defeat blues.

Initially e-mailed to about 50 friends, the song quickly invaded the Web, with French radio SkyRock putting it on its play-list and ringtone sellers and music labels fighting for the rights.

Warner Music France eventually bought the song from the trio and two days after its release on July 20, the tune was No. 2 in the French charts, selling 17,000 copies.

More than 75,000 copies were sold in stores in the last 10 days and the tune has been downloaded more than 110,000 times.

“It’s all really thanks to the Internet and the very speedy release of these products. Five years ago this would not have been possible,” Chassagne said.

Coup de Boule is already the best-selling ringtone in the country and Warner is preparing Spanish, Japanese and even Italian versions of the song.

Zidane, who has now retired as a player, was fined $6,000 and handed a three-match ban by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.

The Italian defender, who admitted insulting Zidane, was handed a two-match ban and fined $4,000.

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