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4/25/2007 04:46:00 PM

Top Sports-Sounding Band Names

By Mike McAllister, SI.com

The Zambonis would make even Lord Stanley tap his toes.
My favorite music/sports moment came during the 1970s -- or maybe it was the early '80s; it's all a bit hazy now -- when the Beach Boys performed on the field following a Texas Rangers game at the now-demolished Arlington Stadium. One of the working stiffs inside the press box soon crawled out a window and started dancing on the ledge. Whether he was swept up in that night's rendition of Surfin' Safari or just glad to have made deadline following another interminably long Rangers game (no doubt a loss), the incident serves as a reminder that playing shortstop and playing lead guitar are not mutually exclusive dreams for the common man.

That music/sports memory also got me to wondering: What are the greatest sports-sounding band names? Here at SI.com, you don't have to look very far -- our monthly hockey columnist, John Ondrasik, is the lead singer of Five For Fighting. But for objectivity's sake, I won't put Five For Fighting on my top-five list (although they're an obvious top three). Another hockey-named band, however, does rise to the top:

1. The Zambonis ... On the group's Web site, founder Dave Schneider says, "We're the only band in the world whose two biggest influences are The Beatles and Wayne Gretzky." Indeed, these guys are without equal in combining sport with music. Check out some of their song titles: Bob Marley and the Hartford Whalers, The Referee's Daughter, Davey Hatrick. The Zambonis are responsible for hundreds of mullet-haired, jersey-wearing guys playing air guitar with their Sher-Woods (intentional double entendre).

2. The Outfield ... Originally called The Baseball Boys, this group's first album was Play Deep. Other albums include Extra Innings and Big Innings. The band members weren't baseball fans (one of them just happened to watch a movie with gang members wearing caps and wielding bats, and thought it was cool), but their ties to the national pastime paid dividends, as this British group enjoyed most of its fame in the U.S. (Side note: If I was starting an Outfield tribute band, I'd call it Warning Track.)

3. The Human League ... Haven't seen the latest standings yet, but I'm hovering around the .500 mark and still hoping to make the playoffs in the Approaching Midlife Crisis division. (By the way, I'd rather avoid talking about the group, since any reference is usually followed by 20 minutes of trying to get that damn Don't You Want Me chorus out of my head.)

4. Helmet ... Why Riddell doesn't sponsor a tour for this New York City band is beyond me. Of course, maybe it has something to do with the heavy-metal group's material, which includes such feel-good ditties as Biscuits for Smut and See You Dead. Rock on!

5. Ace of Base ... There's room for only one ABBA on this planet, which is why AofB was relegated to living in the shadows of their more famous Swedish compatriots. But hey, ABBA didn't reference Section 16 of the rules adopted in 1860 by the National Association of Base Ball Players ("No ace nor base can be made upon a foul ball ...").

OK, now it's your turn. What's your favorite sports-sounding band name?
posted by SI.com | View comments |


Posted: April 26, 2007 1:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What about Fastball?
Steve Miller (former president of the pro bowler's association and nike exec) Band
Five For Fighting is the best sports related name.

unfortunately the name doesn't fit their music
Posted: April 26, 2007 2:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Hanson Brothers - really a combination of hockey and a movie tie in (Slap Stick) - great Ramones sounding band (even their album cover is a Ramones rip off) from Vancouver BC.
Posted: April 26, 2007 3:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Can't believe you didn't put Damn Yankees in your top five list! Any band with Ted Nugent rocks. (Admittedly, points must be deducted for having a guy from Styx in there, though).
Posted: April 26, 2007 3:02 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Bowling For Soup. Those guys were nominated for a Grammy!
Posted: April 26, 2007 3:27 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about Smash Mouth?
Posted: April 26, 2007 3:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Stars of Track and Field
Posted: April 26, 2007 3:51 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Dodgers -- an obscure power pop group from the '80s that had Tom Evans of Badfinger on bass and vocals. Also can't neglect to mention Dropkick Murphys, Babe Ruth, and Nickleback.
Posted: April 26, 2007 4:24 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
North Mississippi All-Stars have to be on your list.
Posted: April 26, 2007 4:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I'm reaching a little bit, but what about Night Ranger?
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:19 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Anyone ever heard of the thrash metal band from Switzerland named Pigskin? Check out a song called Rundown
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:26 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I once saw a bar band named Power Play. Can't remember if they did any hockey songs or not.
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:27 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Guess you haven't heard of the best band that's currently out there -- Coldplay. Lead singer's married to Gwyneth something or other.
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:29 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Gotta love All-American Rejects
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:30 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Gnarls Barkley
Posted: April 26, 2007 5:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I remember a Canadian band called Starkicker. And two of the guys in the band were brothers whose last name was Dunk!
I once saw an ad for Sal Bando playing at a bar in Minneapolis. Never saw them, but I'll never forget the name because I used to play Strat-o-matic for hours!
Posted: April 26, 2007 6:09 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Pearl Jam.

Well, they used to be Mookie Blaylock.
Posted: April 26, 2007 7:44 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Five for Fighting, and they even played at the NHL All-Star game one year
Gym Class Heroes

oh and I forgot the Mad Caddies
.. and of course The Replacements
Posted: April 27, 2007 9:33 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Obscure New Wave band from Pittsburgh in the 90's "Johhny Frisbee & The Hackey Sacks"
Posted: April 27, 2007 10:42 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It's not a big American sport, but how about Buddy Holly's band the Crickets.

Also, Huey Lewis and the News have a great album called "Sports".
Posted: April 27, 2007 3:01 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
My favorite, probably because it's a non-obvious sports reference, is Nickelback.
Posted: May 1, 2007 10:20 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Les Dale Hawerchuck, a Qu├ębec punk-rock band, a tribute to the hockey great of the same name
Posted: May 1, 2007 11:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
two obvious names:

1) dead schembechlers.

2) whitey herzogs.
Posted: May 4, 2007 10:12 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Mendoza Line (a band from NY)
Posted: May 7, 2007 6:29 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Five for Fighting (boo), Five Iron Frenzy, Public Enemy (the Bengals?)
Posted: May 10, 2007 6:07 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Queen, anyone? Shaq said so. They also gave us the two memorable sporting themes: We are the Champion and We will Rock you
Vida Blue -- Phish keyboardist Paige McConnell's other band....
Posted: May 15, 2007 2:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The classic Boston hardcore band Slapshot.
Posted: May 15, 2007 2:37 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Pearl Jam used to be called Mookie Blaylock
Posted: May 17, 2007 4:35 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
From the pitchers-only file, there's a band called Koufax, a Bay Area-band called Honeycut (remember Rick, the former Dodger and A?) and, from my college days, a St. Paul band called Dick Tidrow. Calgary Flame Darren McCarty is lead singer in a band called Grinder. Hey, how about Dropkick Murphy's?
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