Everyone's a critic, including us, so we've taken a crack at picking the 10 greatest sports songs of all time, judging them entirely on their merits as music. Some were written specifically about sports, others have acquired their power by association, but all make for good listening even when you're not at a game -- which is why we've nixed Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Arguably the greatest sports song by dint of its longevity, familiarity and popularity, "Take Me Out..." has been croaked by Harry Caray, butchered by Ozzy and warbled by crowds everywhere since Jack Norworth took 15 minutes to scribble the words in 1908 and Albert Von Tilzer tacked on a melody. But do you really want to hear it when you're not standing with a head full of warm, flat ballpark suds in the middle of the seventh inning? Didn't think so.
So here's our Top 10 countdown. Feel free to agree, argue or add your own.
10. My Old Kentucky Home, Stephen Foster (1853)
If you don't get dewy-eyed during the post parade for the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May, either the ponies have yet to Hoover your wallet or your heart is missing. For those who've blown the rent money by the fourth race, there's Randy Newman's curdled version (Brother Gene is big and mean and he don't have much to say).
9. Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, Alan Courtney and Ben Homer (1941)
The hit version by Betty Bonney, backed by the Les Brown Orchestra, swings as sweetly as the Yankee Clipper did during the 56-game hitting streak that inspired the song.
8. Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen (1984)
This rockin' ode to better days gone by is still as infectious as athlete's foot.
7. Centerfield, John Fogerty (1985)
A No. 1 hit that's as crisp and sunny as a day on the diamond. This song benched Terry Cashman's Talkin' Baseball as THE modern standard. You can smell the cut grass and pine tar whenever you hear it.
6. Bugler's Dream, Leo Arnaud (1958)
Better-known as Olympic Fanfare, the horn-and-tympani intro to The Charge Suite is all stirring pomp and circumstance. Updated and embellished by Star Wars composer John Williams for the 1984 Summer Games, it truly conjures the magnitude of the occasion and rivals Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man for sheer infectious grandiosity.
5. Winners, Joe Raposo (1973)
Recorded by Frank Sinatra for his Old Blue Eyes Is Back album, this is the epitome of class -- Ali in Madison Square Garden, Lombardi at Lambeau. Here's to the winners, lift up the glasses/Here's to the glory still to be. Brilliant!
4. Gonna Fly Now, Bill Conti (1976)
Of the renowned cinematic tunes, Chariots of Fire by Vangelis is a little too sleepy and now a cliché. The theme from Rocky is more accessible than the Olympic anthem, which it summons, and twice as rousing. It makes you want to drink raw eggs and run five miles while tossing jabs.
3. Sweet Georgia Brown, Freeman "Brother Bones" Davis (1925)
Hip-hop may be the official soundtrack of hoops, but no one song says "basketball" like this jaunty, finger-snapping, free-flowing masterpiece that has been the Harlem Globetrotters' theme since 1952.
2. O Canada, (Calixa Lavallee and Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier, 1880; English lyrics by Justice Robert Stanley Weir, 1908)
Yeah, it's a national anthem, but most national anthems sound like dirges and this one is lump-in-the-throat gorgeous. It summons images of gleaming ice and players on skates, heads bowed under Stanley Cup banners -- even when it's played in baseball stadiums. Lest we be accused of treason, we hereby bestow honorable mention to Ray Charles' version of America the Beautiful.
1. We Are the Champions, Freddie Mercury (1977)
Queen's bombast brilliantly captures the been-through-it-all experience of the champion and always sounds good on the radio. It's the one you reach for first after your team wins it all. The piece that precedes it (We Will Rock You) is still beating crowds to death.
- She said, "I know a town where real life's a game Baseball's all that's real At night all the faces light up As the players take the field" - "Gonna take you to a town Where real life's a game Baseball is really real At night all the spirits lighten up As the heroes take the hill"
I have to agree that Steve Goodman's Dying Cub Fans Last Request leaves all the other songs on your list in the dust. Particularly when you know that Steve was a huge Cub fan and he wrote it while dying of cancer.
How bout Dirty water by teh Standels and Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond? Bothe are Fenway classics and nothing gets more pumped up then when Pappelbon gets that last out and u hear that sweet guitar rift of Dirty Water start to play.
Put Me in Coach Right Field-Paul Simon (for everybody who ever dreamed of playing baseball, but was never particularly gifted at the sport and was consigned to right field, that most boring of positions when one is playing against 8 year olds (and one is also 8))
As a French Canadian (who is more "Canadian" than "French"), I don't believe there was a finer moment in our nation's sporting history than the night the fans in Edmonton took over from Marcel Lorieau (sp?) and sang "O Canada" at the top of their lungs in front of an international television audience ... unless, of course, you include the night during the Stanley Cup Finals when they showed their camaraderie with our beloved American cousins and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" just as proud and just as loud. I've never been prouder to be "Canadian" than that night ... That being said, who can forget Kate Smith and "God Bless America" during Philadelphia Flyers games? She was even "performing beyond the grave" by videotape for the Flyers to inspire them ... Truly majestic ...
Not all about sports and certainly not in the same league as "O'Canada" or "Glory Days" but the first verse is perhaps the best synopsis of that point in time as a teenager when you realize that 1) girls don't care about sports and 2) they are still interesting.
- If there's a goal that everyone remembers, it was back in ol' 72 -We all squeezed the stick and we all pull the trigger and all I remember is sitting beside you - You said you didn' give a f@ck about hockey and I never saw someone say that before - You held my hand and we walked home the long way, you were loosenin' my grip on Bobby Orr.
Rock and Roll Pt.II has been swept under the rug by most folks because it turns out Gary Glitter is a pedophile. I agree with the Canadian anthem and to find out why go to YouTube and search for O Canada Edmonton - awesome. And the Star Spangled Banner should be on the list particularly if the Marvin Gaye verson before the 83 NBA All-Star game is the version. Search that on YouTube as well - gold!
You're The Best Around, by Joe Esposito. It's the song at the end of the Karate Kid when Daniel is mowing through the tournament. If you can hear that song and not want to karate chop something, then you probably suck
Rick Hansen's Man in Motion tour - St. Elmo's Fire. How about "Final Coutdown" by Europe. And cudos to those who mentioned: - Cheap Seats - Alabama - Eye of the Tiger - Survivor - Big League - Tom Cochrane - Centerfield - John Fogerty
And what about that famous 7th inning stretch number "The Ole Ball Game".
Might not meet your "not at the game" criteria, but I happen to like "Talkin' Baseball" by Terry Cashman. How can you not get at least somewhat sentimental when you hear "Willie, Mickey, and the Duke"?
When I was in college (DIII) we played a tournament hosted by Chowan College in North Carolina. Every time they hit a home run (quite a few that weekend), they played the Gap Band's "You Dropped a Bomb on Me". We got pretty sick of it, but if I were them, I would have loved it.
Also, Baltimore fans have to love John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy"
THE "HEY SONG: - ROck and Roll BY GARY GLITTER - YOU MISSED ONE MAJOR SONG/THEME - Probably played at more stadiums, teams and games in the United States!!! "Rock and Roll" is a perennial popular stadium anthem at sports events. Mostly an instrumental piece, it is particularly played when home teams scores (or win). For example, in hockey games, like the LA Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Kansas City Chiefs and numerous movies.etc. etc.
Guns N' Roses - "Welcome to the Jungle." That and the quote from the movie "Rudy" where coach Dan Divine says "...Nobody, I mean NOBODY, comes into our house and pushes us around" epitomize the passion that fans and players feel about defending their home turf.
It has to be---- You'll never walk alone... Pink floyd also used this at the end of on of there songs.... I was walking the streets of Amsterdam at 3:00 in the morning. and heard about 50 English guys were echoing it through the ally ways... It was one of the coolest moments ever... Really a heart felt song......Liverpools anthem... "Never walk alone".. is #1
Enter Sandman, not just for baseball closers, but it's become quite popular to start college football games ...
/Baba O'Reily & "recent" Yankee title runs?!? They haven't won since 2000, since that they've lost to *two* expansion franchises that aren't as old as Steinbrenner's socks, and O'Neill is up for Cooperstown next year. Better re-examine "recent" ... if you ask most folks about that song these days, they'll say: CSI!
How about Philadelphia Freedom written by Elton John for his pal, player-coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms World Team Tennis team, Billie Jean King? A little obscure from the sports perspective, but still a song I can tolerate outside the arena.
Phil Collins, "In The Air Tonight" That song is football, ask Ray Lewis... Picking songs based on a single franchise, as storried a franchise as they may be, doesn't fit here. The article is about universal Sports songs... Anything that is a "Yankee Stadium or Fanway Standard" really isn't a song that speaks of sports, it speaks of a single branch of sports.
"walk of life" and "the bug"-dire straits, line from "the bug" "sometimes you're the lousiville slugger sometimes you're the ball"; "we're talking softball"-the simpsons; theme from "the natural"-randy newman;
So many of these songs suck. Centerfield is just awful. Fogarty laid an egg with that one. MNF theme song was great until the Hank Williams nonsense came along. That theme song made MNF feel like an event. Next time I hear YMCA at an arena, I will ask security to arrest me before I kill the nearest loser dancing for the Jumbotron camera.
Welcome To The Jungle - Guns N Roses Anything by Metallica Eye of the Tiger - Survivor Thunderstruck, Back in Black and Hells Bells - AC/DC Intro to Hot for Teacher - Van Halen Jump and Right Now - Van Halen One Shining Moment Rudy ND Fight Song Hail to the victors - Michigan Rocky Top - Tennessee On Wisconsin Florida State tomahawk chop USC Fight On In Heaven There Is No Beer Eyes of Texas
the irony of "we are the champions" is great. the term "champion" was/is slang for the dominant male in a homosexual couple. cheekily, freddy mercury created a song bombasted through sports arenas which is actually a play on words that suggests something far more perverse.
How can we not have the theme music from Monday Night Football. Not the current one, but the one from the early to mid-80's that put hairs on the back of your neck when Howard Cosell would talk about your team in the intro. That music put you in the right frame of mind for football (like you were going to war)!
One Moment In Time by Whitney Houston, performed for the broadcast of the Soeul Olympics. Nothing, and I mean, no-thing more captures the hope, prayer and soaring glory of the Olympic ideal than the combination of Whitney's soaring vocals sending chills down the spine with uplifting lyrics that embody the spirit, no matter what your flavor of spirit happens to be. It is better than her version of our National anthem at Super Bowl XXV, and that's saying something!
The Boxer and Boom Boom Mancini are both inspired selections. Glory Days really isn't about sports so much as, in part, a high school jock living in the past. The title is another example of Springsteen irony. How about "Tell Laura I Love Her" (auto racing). Just kidding. My irony.
How about "Walk of Life", by Dire Straits (didn't the video have a lot of American football?) There also was a Hootie and the Blowfish song that had a lot of sports shots in the video. By the way, my 6 year old daughter sings "take me out to the ballgame" and I could listen to that anytime and anywhere!
The sports song that sends chills up and down my spine? BACK HOME AGAIN IN INDIANA. If you have not witnessed the Indianapolis 500, you have missed the best event on earth, since 1911 I might add, and before NASCAR was a sparkle in a moonshiners eye! - Robert Indy
The opening licks to the Who's Babba O'Riely always give me goose bumbs when I'm sitting in the rafters at Key Arena and the announcers bellows "And now, ladies and gentle, please welcome your Seattle SuuuuuuuuuuuperSonics."
Although not a sports song in the classic sense, it is frequently heard in many sporting events from little league to college to professional stadiums: "Na-na-na-na, hey-hey-hey, goodbye!" (I believe it's a 70s song from Steam)
The Star Spangled Banner is, by far, the best national anthem for sports. It's a fight song. A group of underdogs surviving through the night against superior forces and overwhelming odds. Real emotion stirring stuff. The rest are tame by comparison.
The anthem for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, "One Shining Moment".......... the lyrics give me chills just thinking about it....
"The ball is tipped and there you are you're running for your life you're a shooting star And all the years no one knows just how hard you worked but now it shows... (in) ONE SHINING MOMENT, IT'S ALL ON THE LINE ONE SHINING MOMENT, THERE FROZEN IN TIME
OK, I can't believe it. WILD THING, by the Runaways. Is there any better scene than when Charlie Sheet comes out for relief in the movie "Major League"? It's been played in every stadium 100 times, and get's everyone going right now!
How could you miss the glaringly obvious "Rock and Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter? It's only played everywhere, all the time. Two others that are always played but that I can't stand are "Who Let the Dogs Out" (Baja Men) and "The Twilight Zone" (by some techno group... you'd know it if you heard it).
Houston Oilers Fight Song, for it's unintentional comedy... "Houston's got the Oilers, the greatest football team. They take the ball from goal to goal like no one's ever seen. They're in the air, they're on the ground, always in control. And when you're talking Oilers, you're talking Superbowl..."
since it late summer and football season is coming; University of Michigan's "hail the victors" University of Sothern Cailifornia's "tribute to Troy" But the greatest sports song by far the University of Notre Dame's "Victory March" which if you're a fan, you'll be hearing a lot this fall.
what about the notre dame fighting irish song.the one from knute rockne with pat o brien . take me out to the ballgame cmon.meet the mets .many many more.but you had some good ones. it was a good ? mook53lhd
Are you intentionally leaving out Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part II (the "hey" song), Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the Notre Dame fight song and Na Na Hey Hey (by Steam) just to get people to blog?
If this list is going for classical and historical, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the Notre Dame fight song are ridiculously omitted.
If this list is for contemporary but universally prominent, the "hey" song and "Na Na Hey Hey" are ridicuclously omitted.
Maybe I don't understand the intention of your list.
Hey, if this is dealing with songs that talk about sports, how about one of the most unusual set of lyrics of all times that obliquely references a pseudo-sport...yes, Camper Van Beethoven's "Take The Skinheads Bowling".