- The Color of GlorySeptember 08, 1958
- Who's Hot Who's NotWho's HotJanuary 31, 2011
- The X-FactorTim Crothers | March 23, 1998
"Another murderous right/Another left hook from hell/A bloody war on the Boardwalk/And the kid from Lowell rises to the bell." Before Micky Ward's tale was immortalized by Mark Wahlberg in the 2010 film The Fighter, this hyperactive Irish-flavored punk band from Boston paid a knockout tribute to the never-say-die Irish-American boxer.
Kurtis Blow, 1984
Maybe you prefer the updated 2002 version by Bow Wow, but respect must be paid to the original, by one of rap's pioneers. Blow helped invent the form, becoming the first rapper to sign with a major record label, Mercury. Basketball established a link between hip-hop and hoops that has only grown and strengthened since (somehow surviving Allen Iverson's Jewelz phase). And with one of rap's first videos—replete with ballers, ninja fighters, an inexplicable fat guy eating a hot dog next to a giant chicken and endless trash talk—the song reinforced the idea, good or bad, that basketball is not as much about the game as about the player.
BONUS TRACK: "NBA Rap," by Hurt Em' Bad in 1982, played its part too in helping hip-hop cross over.
32 DARRYL DAWKINS' SOUND OF LOVE
Screaming Headless Torsos, 2001
No one combined fun and funky quite like former Sixers center Darryl Dawkins, and this cut from an influential '80s jazz-funk band is a suitable tribute to the first citizen of Lovetron. The Torsos lay out the perfect vibe for Double D with a soulful beat topped with Hendrix-style guitar licks, as vocalist Dean Bowman sonorously sings, "Some still may wonder/Of the glorious power of Chocolate Thunder./A legend at the most/Down low in the post/Guard him and you're toast."
Mike Aiken, 2003