Posted: Tuesday July 11, 2006 4:13PM; Updated: Wednesday July 12, 2006 11:14AM
by John Rolfe
While some athletes' forays into the world of music have produced strong results (Bernie Williams, Wayman Tisdale), others haven't been so lucky. Here are five "can miss" albums that may have passed you by.
This is what they meant when they said records were made to be broken.
1. Ali and His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay (1976): Crooning pugilists Oscar De La Hoya and Roy Jones Jr. have nothing on Muhammad Ali, who released I Am the Greatest on Epic in 1964 and this mind-bender 12 years later. It features the likes of Frank Sinatra as the evil shopkeeper who attempts to rot the molars of unsuspecting children with free ice cream, and ultra-pompous broadcaster Howard Cosell, who calls the title bout between the Champ and Mr. Tooth Decay. The following year, Ali knocked out drugs on Dope! The Dope King's Last Stand.
2. Terry Bradshaw Sings Christmas Songs for the Whole World (1996, Dove Audio): Believe it or not, the platinum-domed broadcaster has recorded two best-selling gospel records and scored a top 10 hit on the country charts with a cover of Hank Williams' eternal classic I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. This holiday extravaganza for the stout-of-heart includes a surreal All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth. Judging by the satisfied customers on Amazon, William Hung's Hung for the Holidays and the Chipmunks sound like Bing Crosby by comparison.
3. I Bite the Songs (Freddie Blassie, 1977, Rhino): Rock and wrasslin' have long had a connection, and no self-respecting record collection is complete without Blassie's follow-up to King of Men, the four-song EP by pro wrestling's legendary villain of the '50s and '60s. That one contained the hilarious classic Pencilneck Geek, which is well-known to listeners of the Dr. Demento Show. The title of this one refers to Blassie's penchant for biting opponents, a tactic that earned him the nickname The Vampire. The 13 tracks include such works of art as Thank Heaven Those Awful Pains Are Gone and Where There's Blood, There's Blassie.
4. Captain Lou (NRBQ with Captain Lou Albano, 1983, Rounder): "Some say the man's not wrapped too tight," begins the legendary cult band's homage to its manager (at the time), WWE Hall of Famer Lou Albano, who rants, raves and cackles gleefully about being "the guiding light." The original vinyl 45 is a collector's item, but the tune and the B-side (Boarding House Pie) on which Albano also, um, sings is included on NRBQ's Tapdancin Bats CD and best-of compendium Uncommon Denominators. They also did a 1986 album called Lou & The Q.
5. Perfect Sense, Part II (Roger Waters, Columbia, 1992): Fifteen years after Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto's play-by-play while Meatloaf canoodled with Ellen Foley in the epic Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Marv Albert took a turn describing an oil rig being torpedoed by a nuclear sub as part of a macabre sport on this track from Amused to Death by Pink Floyd's bassist and conceptual mastermind. Waters is no stranger to sport: The Floyd had its own soccer club and used a Wembley Cup crowd singing You'll Never Walk Alone at the end of Fearless, a track on their 1971 album Meddle.