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7/10/2006 05:18:00 PM

Eight Great Un(der)sung Sports Songs

Oakland Arena
Adam Sandler, seen here playing basketball with Dwyane Wade, deserves credit for The Lonesome Kicker, his ode to the most unappreciated member of a football team.
Evan Agostini/Getty Images
They're the solid performers who don't get their due. So we now salute a handful of songs that capture assorted sports, personalities, eras and endeavors with hooks, style and wit. We're interested to know which tunes you'd add to the pile and which ones you think are played out. Anyone had enough of "Enter Sandman" and "YMCA"?

1. Fisticuffs, Primus (1997)
Les Claypool's evocative paean to the glory days of bareknuckle boxing, with a cast of memorable characters such as James (Yankee Sullivan) Ambrose, Hammer Lane and the Butcherman. Lilly and McCoy were shy of a hundred and forty pounds/In 1842 they went 118 rounds/They begged McCoy to cash it in, he said that he would not/Got up and fought one more round then died right on the spot. Ouch.

2. Cricket, the Kinks (1973)
A charming allegory about life from the band's obscure gem "Preservation Act I," in which Ray Davies warns of the rude, shrewd Demon Bowler who is out to take your wicket by baffling you with googlies, leg breaks and offspin. And you know that that's not cricket.

3. Hockey Monkey, the Zambonis (1999)
It's hard to beat little kids, a pond and a chimp with a hockey stick on a joyful romp while teachers and the National Guard search high and low for them. From the Connecticut-based hockey nuts who also gave you "Bob Marley and the Hartford Whalers."

4. Basketball Jones, Cheech & Chong (1973)
Tyrone Shoelaces exhorts the whole stadium to stand while George Harrison wails away on lead axe in a band that also featured Carole King and the late Billy Preston. C'mon everybody, sing with Tyrone: Yes, I am the victim of a basketball jones/Ever since I was a little baby, I always be dribblin'/In fac', I was de baddest dribbler in the whole neighborhood.

5. The Lonesome Kicker, Adam Sandler (1997)
A sidesplitting epic about that diminutive sideline outcast who usually gets the blame but not enough of the glory. But I kick that ball/And I pray it goes straight/If it does, the coach says "Good job, number 8"/He doesn't even know my name is Andre Kristacovitchlalinski Jr./But that's the life I live.

6. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?, Buddy Johnson (1949)
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio had his anthem in 1941, and Count Basie's version of Johnson's ode to Robinson is cool and smooth like the song's namesake. Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?/It went zoomin cross the left field wall/Yeah, boy, yes, yes/Jackie hit that ball.

7. Basketball, Kurtis Blow (1984)
Before Shaquille O'Neal became Shaq Fu, Kurtis Blow struck a union between hoops and music with his catchy anthem "Basketball." The lyrics are somewhat simple -- Basketball is my favorite sport/I like the way they dribble up and down the court -- but any song that references Ralph Sampson, Bill Russell and Daryl Dawkins is OK with us.

8. The Crusher, the Ramones (1995)
From the makers of that energetic arena standby "Blitzkrieg Bop" comes a song about a cowardly wrestler who chickens out rather than be torn limb from limb by the Russian Bear.

Got any of your own?
posted by sidotcom | View comments |  

42 Comments:

Posted: 12:02 PM   by Anonymous
Boxing by Ben Folds Five. A fictional ode from a mournful Muhammad Ali to Howard Cossel on how his age is catching up to him but the ups and downs of what boxing has done for both of them.
Posted: 1:35 PM   by Anonymous
Cheapseats by Alabama
Posted: 1:35 PM   by Chris in SC
Chuck Brodsky's "Moe Berg: The Song", about the major league catcher who was also a spy. An amazing story and great song.
Posted: 1:54 PM   by Anonymous
"jump around" is still the best. Anyone who has been in the UW student section knows that there is no better song during a game, nonetheless more fun during a game, than those 30 seconds after the 3rd quarter. GO BIG RED
Posted: 2:56 PM   by Benny
The Dropkick Murphys represent the New England and Boston sports scene as well as any other band does their hometown. The song "Warriors Code" is about boxer Mickey Ward and his is also on the cover of the album of the same name. "Time to Go" was written for the Bruins and players like Nick Boynton have performed with them on stage. They updated the song "Tessie" for the Red Sox and it was their unofficial theme song for their championship season. They even have vesions of their logo patterned after the Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox logos. They are definitely worth checking out. The best way to describe their music is Irish Folk Punk Rock.
Posted: 2:57 PM   by Anonymous
How about the songs on www. tennistunes.com - "Hey, It's Andy Roddick" and "Grand Slam Man (Roger Federer)" and the song "Maria Sharapova" which is just like the song "Anna Kournikova" by the Hoboken band Binge.
Posted: 3:54 PM   by Anonymous
"Magic Johnson" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers pays tribute to the Laker great and his cohorts Kareen & Worthy. The classic line is the "Triple Double Trouble" that Magic brings.
Posted: 4:57 PM   by Anonymous
All Kinds of Time by Fountains of Wayne. The greatest song about a single football play ever. And the play is in slow motion.
Posted: 5:17 PM   by Anonymous
The Buffalo bills by Wesley Willis - the man was great, god rest his soul
Posted: 5:28 PM   by Anonymous
"The Hitter" by Bruce Springsteen. A gritty boxing tale.
Posted: 6:26 PM   by Anonymous
"We Ready!" by Archie Everside is the you kno what... it just gets u pumped up
Posted: 7:29 PM   by Hawkins
"Hit Somebody" (the Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon
Posted: 12:36 AM   by Anonymous
I-76, by G. Love and the Special Sauce, circa 1997... It makes Sixers fans out of people who don't even like basketball!
Posted: 5:56 AM   by Anonymous
Boom Boom Mancini by Warren Zevon a great song. Also Song for Sonny Liston by Mark Knopfler. Two great boxing songs
Posted: 8:38 AM   by Anonymous
I've gotta add "You Be Illin'" by Run-DMC just because of the fact that it mentions Dr. J my all time hero....
Posted: 9:04 AM   by Anonymous
"The Game" by Jurassic 5. Basketball as life struggle.
Posted: 9:23 AM   by Nathan
Right before kick-off in Sanford Stadium at The University of Georgia they play the begining of The Who's Teenage wasteland. It is awesome! THERE ALL WAISTED! It really capyures the spirit of the crowd.
Posted: 9:23 AM   by Nathan
Right before kick-off in Sanford Stadium at The University of Georgia they play the begining of The Who's Teenage wasteland. It is awesome! THERE ALL WAISTED! It really capyures the spirit of the crowd.
Posted: 12:10 PM   by Anonymous
I think an underused tune is "Super Bon Bon" by Soul Coughing. I saw it was one of Papelbon's finalists for his entrance theme and wish he had chose it.
Posted: 12:24 PM   by Anonymous
I second the Drop Kick Murphys comment.
Posted: 12:26 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 12:29 PM   by Anonymous
i must say thank you for giving basketball jones some love! i don't know of anyone else my age that has ever heard this song!!!
Posted: 1:08 PM   by Anonymous
Put me in, Coach! John Fogerty
Posted: 1:08 PM   by Anonymous
For Nathan: your refernce to "Teenage Wasteland" needs some clarification. The song's title is actually "Baba O'Reilly" with the ending refrain of "Teenage wasteland, it's only teenage wasteland..." "Baba O'Reilly" is the first cut on the album "Who's Next".
Posted: 1:10 PM   by Anonymous
For Nathan: your refernce to "Teenage Wasteland" needs some clarification. The song's title is actually "Baba O'Reilly" with the ending refrain of "Teenage wasteland, it's only teenage wasteland..." "Baba O'Reilly" is the first cut on the album "Who's Next".
Posted: 1:13 PM   by ZF
The Lonesome Kicker is AWESOME!!!
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Anonymous
You gotta have the Zamboni Song from the Gear Daddies. Anyone who loves hockey, loves this song to death.
Posted: 1:24 PM   by Anonymous
Wayne Gretzky - Goldfinger

Wayne Gretzky
The only man I'd have sex with.
Wayne Gretzky
I'd be intimate with
Wayne Gretzky
I think hes kinda sexy
Wayne Gretzky
I wonder what he looks like naked
Posted: 1:25 PM   by Anonymous
"Hit Somebody" - Warren Zevon

The greatest ballad about a hockey player ever.
Posted: 1:36 PM   by Anonymous
Red Legged Boy by Terry Allen
(Kind of a cajun-rock song)

Missouri born
Red leg boy
He just born
Yeah to playin the ball
Ain't much good
For much else at all
He just born
Yeah to playin the ball
Run from home
He couldn't wait
To hold his ground
Hey behind the plate
Hit the ball
You're on your own
Same damn thing
You tryin to get back home
Chorus
Lived his life
Movin around
Playin the ball
Hey from town to town
Saw everything
He wanted to see
Weren't nothin else
That he wanted to be
Chorus
Got too old
To play the ball
Settled down
But remembered it all
Lived it out
Until he died
Cussin the Yankees
Ah Satisfied
Chorus
Posted: 1:37 PM   by Anonymous
Red Legged Boy by Terry Allen
(Kind of a cajun-rock song)

Missouri born
Red leg boy
He just born
Yeah to playin the ball
Ain't much good
For much else at all
He just born
Yeah to playin the ball
Run from home
He couldn't wait
To hold his ground
Hey behind the plate
Hit the ball
You're on your own
Same damn thing
You tryin to get back home
Chorus
Lived his life
Movin around
Playin the ball
Hey from town to town
Saw everything
He wanted to see
Weren't nothin else
That he wanted to be
Chorus
Got too old
To play the ball
Settled down
But remembered it all
Lived it out
Until he died
Cussin the Yankees
Ah Satisfied
Chorus
Posted: 2:06 PM   by BeeEff
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Posted: 2:06 PM   by Anonymous
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Chris S.
Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd. Great for pre-game warmup. Has a nice driving beat that keeps everyone motivated.
Posted: 2:28 PM   by DrBear
From the obscurity department - "Catfish" by Bob Dylan about guess-which pitcher:
"He used to work on Mr. Finley's farm
But the old man wouldn't pay....

Catfish the million dollar man
Nobody can throw a ball like Catfish can."
Posted: 2:30 PM   by Anonymous
"take it to tha house" - Trick Daddy. we'd exit to it after every home game we won in high school. and props to "basketball jones."
Posted: 2:55 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 3:38 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 3:41 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 4:30 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 4:50 PM   by Anonymous
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Posted: 9:12 PM   by Anonymous
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