The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. Volume 3, Number 25. 2019.

 

 

 

Game On: The World of Sports songs and Anthems. The Door To Yesterday. 2019

The sporting and music worlds have always had a strong connection.

 

As far back as the 1930’s, ballparks employed organists to play music before and during games. 


By the 1970’s, in addition to the organ, pop and rock records were played 

over public-address systems and crowds started singing along. 


In the 90’s, among the audience favorites were

 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and WE WILL ROCK YOU by Queen

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN by Europe, The RamonesBLITZKRIEG BOP,

 Steam’s NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIMGOODBYE, the Guns N’ Roses staple WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE,

 WHOOP! (THERE IT IS) by Tag Team, YMCA by Village People and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Part 2 by Gary Glitter. 


Beginning in ’95, Tommy Boy Records issued a hugely successful series of compilation CD’s 

of such stadium-friendly records. They called them ‘Jock Jams’ and linked some of the songs 

with ESPN sportscasters revving up the audience with chants and rhythmic sayings. 

The CD’s were described on the actual artwork as 

‘The hottest crowd-pumpin’ grooves of all time!’


Specific popular songs were occasionally embraced by individual teams as their own rousing anthems. 

For example, AIN’T NO STOPPIN’ US NOW (Gene McFadden/John Whitehead/Jerry Cohen) was 

adopted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Neil Diamond’s SWEET CAROLINE  was endorsed as the 

Boston Red Sox signature theme, the 1920’s tune SWEET GEORGIA BROWN

 (Ben Bernie/Kenneth Casey/Maceo Pinkard) was adopted by basketball’s

 Harlem Globetrotters and the showstopping ballad YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE 

(Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II) from the musical “Carousel” became 

the singalong theme of the Liverpool Football Club in England. 



 

 

Randy Edelman. .The Door To Yesterday. Aaa Warner. 2019

The most unusual example of a piece of music becoming strongly identified 

with contemporary sporting events but originating from a very different source

 occurred in the late 1990’s…


Randy Edelman’s majestic Theme from the 1993 short-lived TV western series

 THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTRY Jr. was chosen by NBC for 

its coverage of the 1997 Olympics and it’s now become recognized

 as a regularly-used Olympic melody.

 Listen to it here:  


https://youtu.be/4lCVq4iYRhk

 

 

Batter Up. The wording Songs and Anthems. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

In the 1930’s, comedy duo Bud Abbott & Lou Costello developed 

a routine about the names of famous baseball players. 

It became widely popular over the years and they performed it hundreds of times; 

Here are Bud & Lou presenting the routine in their 1945 Universal movie “The Naughty Nineties”…

https://youtu.be/ygjjnWm9-UQ


America’s love of baseball has created many songs over the decades including the 1869 tune 

HURRAH FOR OUR NATIONAL GAME and then in 1908 came TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME

 which was sung by the crowds at actual games and became baseball’s unofficial anthem. 


Over in England, football is a national obsession and it’s been celebrated

 in a host of songs some of which were successfully recorded by groups of actual team players; 

WORLD IN MOTION and OLE OLA (see below) were among the biggest sellers plus others 

such as BACK HOME, GOOD OLD ARSENAL BLUE IS THE COLOUR, 

TOTTENHAM TOTTENHAM and LEEDS UNITED.


 In addition, check out THREE LIONS in my list below which topped the UK charts twice, 

first in ’96 and then with an updated version two years later.

 

 

SPORTING SONGS AND RECORDS

Sports and the wide range of competitive games 

have long inspired a zillion songs and here is a random selection…  


AMAZIN’ WILLIE MAYS

 (Sam Florman/Henry Engel) 

by The King Odom Quartette

 (Perspective: 1954)


ANYONE FOR TENNIS 

(Eric Clapton/Martin Sharp) 

by Cream

Pro: Felix Pappalardi 

(Atco: 1968) 

https://youtu.be/HCvdvLpU3lk 

Theme from “The Savage Seven” 

(American International: 1968)


THE BARON 

(Paul Richey/Jerry Taylor/Billy Sherrill)

 by Johnny Cash

Pro: Billy Sherrill(

Columbia: 1981) 

https://youtu.be/AxJekikBO0s

The Baron of the title was a pool player.


BASKETBALL 

(William Waring/Kurtis Blow/Robert Ford Jr./

J.B. Moore/James Bralower/Full Force) 

by Kurtis Blow

Pro: J.B. Moore & Robert Ford Jr.

 (Polygram: 1984) 

https://youtu.be/__KIEa3RFIs

BASKETBALL JONES. THE DOOR TO YESTERDAY. ALAN WARNER. 2019.

 BASKETBALL JONES FEATURING TYRONE SHOELACES 

(Cheech Marin/Tommy Chong) 

by Cheech & Chong

Pro: Lou Adler  

(Ode: 1973)


BICYCLE RACE 

(Freddie Mercury) 

by Queen

A Queen-Roy Thomas Baker Production

 (Elektra: 1978)


THE BOXER

(Paul Simon) 

by Simon & Garfunkel

Pro: Simon, Garfunkel & Halee

 (Columbia: 1969) 

https://youtu.be/l3LFML_pxlY  


Another sport-reference appears in Simon & Garfunkel’s 

previous hit MRS. ROBINSON with the line

“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”.


BRAND NEW KEY 

(Melanie Safka) 

by Melanie

Pro: Peter Schekeryk 

(Neighborhood: 1971)

 https://youtu.be/lKcpodt0YCU

 She famously refers to her 

brand new pair of roller skates. 


CENTERFIELD 

(John Fogerty) 

by John Fogerty

Arr & Pro: John Fogerty 

(Warner Bros: 1985

)https://youtu.be/GlHecxZV42g


DALLAS COWBOYS 

(John Schweers) 

by Charley Pride

Pro: Jerry Bradley & Charley Pride

 (RCA: 1979)


DID YOU SEE JACKIE ROBINSON HIT THAT BALL? 

(Buddy Johnson) 

by Buddy Johnson & His Orchestra

Vocal: Ella Johnson 

(Decca: 1949) 

https://youtu.be/r-7Ac2LVVYU


EL MATADOR 

(Jane Bowers/Irving Burgess) 

by The Kingston Trio 

Pro: Voyle Gilmore 

(Capitol: 1960)     

       

FOOTBALL CRAZY 

(Trad. Arr: Robin Hall/Jimmie MacGregor) 

by Robin Hall & Jimmy MacGregor 

(UK Decca: 1960) 

https://youtu.be/BN3CrpAKakQ

  Hall & MacGregor were a Scottish folk duo 

who introduced this song on a BBC Television show 

and it became a regular favorite on radio 

request programs in the early sixties.


HERE COME THE YANKEES 

(Lou Stallman/Bob Bundin) 

by Sid Bass & His Orchestra & Chorus

Pro: Jerry Teifer (Columbia: 1967) 

https://youtu.be/qvte1qOgKVY 

Tune is still played on radio broadcasts

 of New York Yankees games.


JOLTIN’ JOE DiMAGGIO 

(Alan Courtney/Ben Homer) 

by Les Brown & His Orchestra

Vocal: Betty Bonney 

(OKeh: 1941)  


THE KID’S LAST FIGHT 

(Bob Merrill) 

by Frankie Laine 

(Columbia: 1954) 

https://youtu.be/zpiSPNdsce4

CARL DOUGLAS. Kung Fu Fighting. the Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019.


KUNG FU FIGHTING 

(Carl Douglas) 

by Carl Douglas

Pro: Biddu 

(20th Century: 1974)

 https://youtu.be/A75YEDppSyk 

London-based Jamaican singer Carl Douglas 

topped the charts both here and in Britain 

with his song spurred on partly by the popularity 

of Bruce Lee and the kung fu artform.


THE LAST GAME OF THE SEASON

 (A Blind Man In The Bleachers) 

(Sterling Whipple) 

by David Geddes

Pro: Paul Vance

Arr: Joe Renzetti 

(Big Tree: 1975)


(LOVE IS LIKE A) BASEBALL GAME

 (Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff)

 by The Intruders

A Gamble-Huff Production 

(Gamble: 1968)


MY DADDY WAS A JOCKEY 

(John Lee Hooker)

 by John Lee Hooker 

(Gotham: 1951)

https://youtu.be/TXkQp14sc-M  


OLE OLA 

(Mulher Brasileira) 

(Gouveia)

Arr: Rod Stewart & Phil Chen)

 by Rod Stewart 

(UKRiva: 1978) 

Featuring 

The Scottish World Cup Football Club Squad. 


OLYMPIA 

(Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil) 

by Sergio Mendes

Vocal: Joe Pizzulo

Pro: Barry Mann & Sergio Mendes 

(A&M: 1984)


ONE ON ONE 

(Daryl Hall) 

by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Pro: Daryl Hall & John Oates

Co-Pro: Neil Kernon 

(RCA: 1982) 

I want to play that game tonight’.


ROLLER DERBY QUEEN 

(Jim Croce) 

by Jim Croce

Pro: Terry Cashman & Tommy West

 (ABC: 1973)

 https://youtu.be/m7kVR6v8_B4


SKATE TO THE RHYTHM 

(Tommy Gordy/Geraldine Gordon/Michael Torrence) 

by High Energy

Pro: Tommy Gordy 

(Gordy: 1979) 

https://youtu.be/fnNrJoCwfW0


STAGGER LEE 

(Lloyd Price/Harold Logan) 

by Lloyd Price

Pro: Don Costa 

(ABC-Paramount: 1958) 

The finest song about gambling

.

SURFIN’ U.S.A. 

(Chuck Berry) 

by The Beach Boys

Pro: Nick Venet  

(Capitol: 1963)

 This was just one of a whole slew of songs 

celebrating surf and the surf music culture. 

I explored surf songs in greater depth 

in my blog “Catching A Wave Again” 

last year. 



THERE USED TO BE A BALLPARK 

(Joe Raposo) 

by Frank Sinatra

Pro: Don Costa

Orch Cond: Gordon Jenkins 

(Reprise: 1973)  


THREE LIONS 

(David Baddiel/Frank Skinner/Ian Broudie) 

by Baddiel & Skinner & TheLightning Seeds 

(UK Epic: 1996) 

Reaching UK #1 in June ’96, 

this was the official song of the 

England Football Team performed by Liverpool singer/songwriter Ian Broudie, his group 

The Lightning Seeds along  with comedians 

David Baddiel & Frank Skinner. 


VICTORY TEST MATCH - CALYPSO

 (Egbert Moore) 

by Lord Beginner & The Calypso Rhythm Kings

Pro: Denis Preston 

(UK Melodisc: 1950) 

https://youtu.be/wFl9x3XzKSw

Recorded after the West Indies beat England 

at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, 

it’s remembered for its opening lyric

 'Cricket Lovely Cricket')


WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS 

(Bunny Sigler/Kim Miller/

Scottie Miller/Raymond Earl)

 by Instant Funk

Pro: Bunny Sigler 

(Salsoul: 1978)

 https://youtu.be/_APgbz4quJg


WILLIE, MICKEY AND ‘THE DUKE’ (Talkin’ Baseball) 

(Terry Cashman) 

by Terry Cashman 

(Lifesong: 1981)

 A salute to Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle

 and Duke Snider 

by Dennis ‘Terry Cashman’ Minogue 

of the pop trio Cashman, Pistilli & West.

 

WORLD IN MOTION 

(New Order/Keith Allen)

 by Englandneworder

 (UK Factory: 1990) 

Chart-topping UK single by the footballing 

England World Cup Squad together with

techno-dance group New Order. 

The Squad had previously notched up

 other major UK hit songs. 


YOU CAN’T ROLLER SKATE IN A BUFFALO HERD 

(Roger Miller) 

by Roger Miller 

(Smash: 1966)

 https://youtu.be/KI-8hst0bho


YOU GOTTA BE A FOOTBALL HERO

 (To Get Along With The Beautiful Girls)

(Al Lewis/Al Sherman/Buddy Fields) 

by Ben Bernie & All The Lads

Vocals: Ben Bernie & Manny Prager

 (Columbia: 1933)

 https://youtu.be/hCjUrpBI67w



MUSIC AND SOGS FROM SPORTS-THEMED MOVIES. THE DOOR TO YESTERDAY. ALAN WARNER. 2019.

Here are a few examples of works written specifically for motion pictures…


THE BINGO LONG SONG (Steal On Home) 

(Berry Gordy/Ron Miller)

 by Thelma Houston

Pro: William Goldstein & Ron Miller

Arr: William Goldstein 

(Motown: 1976) 

from ‘The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings”

 (Motown/Universal: 1976)


CHARIOTS OF FIRE 

(Vangelis) 

by Vangelis

Arr & Pro: Vangelis 

(Polydor: 1981)

 from “Chariots Of Fire” 

(20th Century Fox: 1981) 


EYE OF THE TIGER 

(Jim Peterik/Frankie Sullivan) 

by Survivor

Pro: Jim Peterik & Frankie Sullivan (Scotti Brothers: 1982) 

from “Rocky III” 

(United Artists: 1982)


GONNA FLY NOW 

(Bill Conti/Carol Connors/Ayn Robbins)

 by Bill Conti

Pro, Cond & Orch: Bill Conti

Eng: Ami Hadani 

(United Artists: 1977) 

from “Rocky” 

(United Artists: 1976)


IT HAPPENED IN SUN VALLEY 

(Mack Gordon/Harry Warren) 

by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra

Vocals: Paula Kelly, Ray Eberle, Tex Beneke & The Modernaires

 (Bluebird: 1941)

 from “Sun Valley Serenade” 

(20th Century Fox: 1941).

 ‘Everybody ought to learn to ski’


MAIN EVENT/FIGHT 

(Paul Jabara/Bruce Roberts-Paul Jabara/Bob Esty) 

by Barbra Streisand

Pro, Arr & Cond: Bob Esty 

(Columbia: 1979) 

from “The Main Event” 

(First Artists: 1979)


In addition, key existing songs were featured in later sport-themed movies

 such as AC/DC’s THUNDERSTRUCK from 1990 which was used on the soundtrack of 

“The Longest Yard” in 2005 and John Fogerty’s 1985 hit CENTERFIELD was a perfect fit for 

“Bull Durham” three years later.

 

SPORTING STARS ON RECORD:


Back in 1949, baseball legend Joe Di Maggio was heard on a 2-record set

 of the children’s story LITTLE JOHNNY STRIKEOUT and over the years, a string of other

 sports personalities tried their luck in front of the microphone of commercial music or spoken-word records. 


Even today, stars such as Kobe Bryant (with Tyra Banks), 

Serena Williams and Jacques Villeneuve have released records.

 

Here are some further examples…


BREAK IT UP 

(Fred Bekky/Cris Lennarth/J. Dagleth)

 by Carl Lewis 

(EMI: 1986)

 https://youtu.be/7BonFs7NVfg 

European dance hit by Olympic track star Carl Lewis.


DIAMOND LIGHTS 

(Bob Fuzey) 

by Glenn & Chris

 (UK Record Shack: 1987) 

A UK one-hit wonder success by British footballers 

Glenn Hoddle & Chris Waddle.


HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE 

(Chris Norman/Pete Spencer)

 by Kevin Keegan 

(UK EMI: 1979) 

Top 40 UK hit by British footballer Kevin Keegan.


I AM THE GREATEST 

(Gary Belkin/Peter Metz/Cassius Clay)

 by Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali)

 (Columbia: 1964)

 https://youtu.be/t9Rj58ZTUNc

 Flipside was Clay’s cover of STAND BY ME.


(I KNOW I GOT) SKILLZ 

(Jeff Fortson/Meech Wells/Shaquille O’Neal) 

by Shaquille O’Neal Feat. Def Jam

(Jive: 1993)

 The first of a string of successful singles by the NBA basketball star. 


I LOVE MICKEY 

(Teresa Brewer/Ruth Roberts/William Katz) 

by Teresa Brewer and the voice of Mickey Mantle 

(Coral: 1956)

 https://youtu.be/NL8rFfRH-80 

  The baseball superstar in the studio with singer Teresa Brewer.


OUTSTANDING 

(Eugene Nwohia/Raymond Calhoun/Ronnie Nwohia)

 by Andy Cole 

(UK WEA: 1999) 

Minor seller by Manchester United footballer Andy Cole. 


RUN TO ME

 (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb/Maurice Gibb) 

by Oscar De La Hoya 

(EMI Latin: 2000)

https://youtu.be/d89IFcJD07A 

Boxer Oscar De La Hoya revived a Bee Gees song.


THAT WAS THEN 

(Hassan McMillan/Michael Flowers/Jerome Hunter/Roy Jones Jr.)

 by Roy Jones Jr. Feat. Dave Hollister, Perion & Hahz The Rippa 

(Body Head/EMI: 2001) 

Minor R&B seller by boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. 


WABASH CANNON BALL

 (A.P. Carter) 

by Dizzy Dean & His Country Cousins

 (Colonial: 1954) 

Baseball luminary Dizzy Dean who was referenced by 

Bud Abbott in Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First” routine. 


WALK ON FAITH 

(Mike Reid/Allen Shamblin) 

by Mike Reid

Pro: Steve Buckingham 

(Columbia: 1990)

 https://youtu.be/kZWcaxYNKIM 

A Country #1 single in ’91 

by Cincinatti Bengals football player Mike Reid.


Rock on.


Alan Warner


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