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10/15/2007 03:03:00 PM
Best Songs About A Specific Athlete
Paul Simon performed 'Mrs. Robinson' at Yankee Stadium in 1999 during a tribute to Joe DiMaggio.
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
So I was stuck on a cross-country flight the other night, my iPod on shuffle, when back-to-back came Public Enemy's Reggie Jax and Kanye West's Barry Bonds, two songs name for athletes (even if they aren't both specifically about athletes). This, hoever, got me thinking: What are the top five songs about specific athletes?
1. Hurricane by Bob Dylan: This song telling the story wrongfully imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter not only exposed Carter's plight, but it helped raised money to get Carter a new trial.
2. Barry Bonds by Kanye West with Li'l Wayne: They compare their ability to crank out hits with that of Barry Bonds, although they don't seem to understand that Bonds isn't as consistent as he is powerful. Maybe they should've done a song called "Todd Helton."
3. Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? The song is about more than DiMaggio, but Joe D's role as a cultural touchstone has never been greater than it is here.
4. Dooley's Junkyard Dogs by James Brown: OK, so it's more about a coach (Vince Dooley) than a player, but when was the last time you saw James Brown perform at halftime of a college football game?
5. K.O.B.E. by Kobe Bryant with Tyra Banks: Kobe recorded a song about himself, but should we expect anything less?
What's the best song about an athlete? Let us know below…
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
I know it wasn't technically a song about himself but Shaq had a song that described his playing pretty accurately...the chorus says "do you want me to shoot it NOOOOOO do you want me to pass it NOOOOO do you want me to slam YEAHHHH"
You NEED to hear the song "Christy" by Family Groove Company. It's a brilliant song about Christy Mathewson, but also about the glories of baseball past and the father-son bond embedded in the sport. You can hear it here: http://familygrooveco.com/music/03_christy.m3u
Here's the chorus: " When Christy threw a no-no Oh, let me tell ya little something about it. Twas quite a feat at twenty two, but it seemed as though he'd done it before… and Connie Mack fell on his back, said 'I sure wish he'd play for the A's' and the crowd cheered, 'All Right Now!' and they wondered, 'would he do it again?'"
Check the lyrics at http://familygrooveco.com/etc/lyrics/index.htm
Warren Zevon's Hockey song (Hit Me) with a cameo from David Letterman. It was written by Warren Zevon and Mitch Albom and is the funniest song about hockey. "Buddys real talent was beating people up, his heart wasn't in it but the crowd ate it up"
"Fifty Mission Cap" by the Tragically Hip, tells the story of Toronto MAple Leal Bill Barilko and hime dissapearing on a fishing trip the summer after he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal with a broken ankle.
"50 Mission Cap" by The Tragically Hip...This song is about Bill Barilko, a hockey player whose final goal won the Toronto Maple Leafs the Stanley Cup. Four months and 5 days after he scored the winning goal to clinch Toronto's sixth Stanley Cup, Barilko boarded a Fairchild 24, single-engine plane piloted by his friend Henry Hudson. He was returning home to Timmins from a fishing trip on James Bay. The plane vanished between Rupert House and Timmins. No trace of Hudson, Barilko or the Fairchild was discovered for 11 years, despite massive search efforts. The Maple Leafs were so distraught and unwilling to accept the tragedy that Barilko's equipment remained in his usual locker room stall at the opening of the 1951 fall training camp. Rumors began circulating that Barilko, of Russian decent, had defected to the Soviet Union to teach his skills to young Soviet players. Finally on June 9, 1962, bush pilot Gary Fields came upon the wreck of a Fairchild 24, approximately 100 kilometers north of Cochrane, Ontario. Barilko was finally laid to rest in Timmins; the year that the Leafs won their first Stanley Cup since his disappearance 11 years earlier.
"Chalk Dust - The Umpire Strikes Back" by The Brat. An amusing ditty that was a minor hit in the UK at the time a certain American tennis player, known for abusing umpires, was at the height of his career.
Who Killed Davey Moore?, great folk favourite of Pete Seeger, written by some guy named Bob Dylan. On a lighter note, there was a fun piece called Clear the Track, Here's Comes Shack, written not about a basketball superstar but about Toronto Maple Leafs goon Eddie Shack.
Two suggestions, first "Ty Cobb" by Soundgarden. Lyrics at http://www.lyricsdepot.com/soundgarden/ty-cobb.html. Can't print them here or I'd never get posted.
Second, "Wayne Gretzky Rocks" By The Pursuit of Happiness. Lyrics at http://www.azlyrics.us/17276. The site says the song's by a band called The Arrogant Worms but the Arrogant Worms website notes it on their list of songs they never wrote. Weird.
"Penalty on the Flyer's Dave Schultz. Two minutes for hooking, two minutes for high sticking, five minutes for fighting..."
*rink piano rolls in over announcer*
Baby, how long Can you keep me in the penalty box? Baby, I'm wrong But it's lonely in the penalty box. I know I broke the rules. But rules are broken by fools! Baby, how long Can you keep me in the penalty box.
How about "Deacon Blues" (Steely Dan) - 'they call Alabama the Crimson Tide' ? about a whole team/school rather than one athlete, but still it was a hit song in its own right as opposed to most listed here.