Top 10 Sports Anthems
This was my first paid post for AskMen. $50 bucks!
Without a doubt, one of the most important jobs at any sporting event is the director of in-house music. The beer vendor is a very close second, but without the right music played at the right time to rile the home crowd, even a cold one can be, well, boring. There’s nothing worse than a music guy who is out of touch with the crowd and the nuances of the game. If he plays The Knack’s ”My Sharona” when the home team has just killed a two-minute, two-man disadvantage, the crowd is likely to put the music director in the penalty box.
The music should be timely. The music should stir emotions. The music should inspire fans to want to strap on the gear and take on their greatest rivals themselves. Alright, maybe too many cold ones can cloud judgment, but sports anthems are as much a part of the game as the greatest players.
Here’s a list of the top 10 sports anthems that will rock any jock.
The Alan Parsons Project“Sirius”
This anthem may need an introduction because it’s most popular as an introduction. Here’s a hint: “And now…. at guard, 6’6" from North Carolina…. Michael Joooooordan!”
“Sirius” is rarely heard on the airwaves or outside of sports arenas, but this instrumental is used to introduce the Chicago Bulls and never fails to leave goose bumps or deliver championships. It has become so synonymous with the Bulls and their six NBA titles that it almost feels wrong to hear it anywhere else.
Beyond the music: In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil builds a laser and christens it the “Alan Parsons Project,” after the Cambridge physicist Dr. Parsons.
The Black Eyed Peas“Let’s Get It Started”
This choice might turn some heads. The Black Eyed Peas appear on this list because of the Bryan Adams factor (meaning, they don't have enough left in the tank to pump out another hit album). As a result, Adams has tweaked his game to where the money is: movie soundtracks. The Peas have made “Let’s Get It Started” sound as if it were written purely as a sports anthem. The lyrics appeal to both young and old since there’s no doubting that everyone likes to “get woohoo! (in here).”
Beyond the music: "Let’s Get It Started" is the radio-edited version of “Let’s Get Retarded.” For obvious politically correct reasons, the band censored the title so it could be played at sports venues.
“Hey ho, let’s go!”
This three-chord riff sounds as if it could be the theme song to any T&A frat-house movie. It sports a simple beat, even simpler lyrics and a punk edge. It brings a quirky kind of energy to a stadium because it can cause fans to start bouncing up and down and slam dance with complete strangers. Perfect for those “this game needs a goal or a bone-jarring hit” moments. Don’t forget the funnel.
Beyond the music: “Blitzkrieg Bop” was voted No. 92 on the Rolling StoneTop 500 Songs of All Time list and was named after the German World War II tactic, "blitzkrieg," and translates to ”lightning attack.”
The next four music-makers ended up in a pile during record burnings in the ’80s…
The brilliance of this song comes from the sudden change of direction near the beginning. After years on the lam from bounty hunters and inevitable hanging at the gallows, a mother’s son is finally captured and sentenced to death: “The jig is up, the news is out, they finally found me.” It’s the perfect momentum-shifting song. ”Renegade” has been piped through the speakers during crucial moments for Tom Brady and the Pats and has caused the crowd to go nuts. New England usually goes on to complete the play and emerge victorious.
Beyond the music: In addition to achieving a mocking status, Styx was the first band to achieve four consecutive triple platinum albums. The band and their music have been featured at least three times on The Simpsons, which undoubtedly appeases the band’s feelings of never making it big worldwide.
This brooding visit to the dark side is all about the bells. Whether it’s the Oakland Raiders on fourth down or San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman entering from the bullpen, ”Hells Bells” can put the opposition on their heels — forever. It oozes imminent danger and it’s probably bad karma to write too much about hell and its bells, so let’s just move on. Now say "Hail Mary" three times.
Beyond the music: As you well know there is a tolling bell at the beginning of “Hells Bells.” The audio is captured from the "Denison Bell," which is named after Edmund Denison Taylor. The Denison Bell is located in the "War Memorial Campanile" bell tower in Loughborough, England.
No song on this list teases like this one: For the first minute, fans are hypnotized by the deep bass, the start-and-stop guitar riffs and the crashing symbols. The snare drum slams for at least a 15 count and reaches a resounding boom! Opinions vary about this song, as the song fizzles after the opening. It’s best used when the intro is looped to last longer, but this song’s passion still cracks the top five. Sometimes it’s all about the buildup — but only sometimes.
Beyond the music: Metallica was the first band to sue Napster. Lars Ulrich and company reached an out-of-court settlement with the file-sharing site in 2001. In July 2006, the band agreed to sell Metallica’s music on iTunes.
Ozzy Osbourne“Crazy Train”
“All aboard! Hahahahaha.”
There are no stops on Ozzy's Crazy Train. The lead guitar riff is hard and deep and takes you on a relentless, breakneck ride through a dark tunnel and out through the other side. With “Crazy Train” as their anthem, the New England Patriots have kept their locomotive on track and captured three Super Bowl titles between 2000 and 2005.
Beyond the music: More than 25 million readers of Guitar World magazine ranked the guitar solo in “Crazy Train” as the ninth greatest.
A team has to win before “We Are The Champions” can be played…
Gary Glitter“Rock and Roll (Part 2)”
It’s next to impossible to leave this one off the list. Sexual crimes aside, this refrain defines the term ”sports anthem.” The song maintains a healthy beat, invokes fan interaction and offers multi-play scenarios. Many stadiums have dropped this track from their playlist due to Glitter’s deviant behavior, but in its heyday it was played everywhere.
Beyond the music: In 1999, Glitter was convicted for possession of child pornography and classified as a sex offender under UK law. He moved to Vietnam, where he began a three-year prison sentence in 2006 after being convicted of two more offenses.
Queen“We Will Rock You”
A classic when it was produced in 1977 and still a classic today, this hand-clapper deserves to be on top for longevity alone. Unfortunately, it’s this same longevity that prevents it from maintaining No. 1 status. It has become a cliche and it is overused. The strength of this anthem is not only its ability to incite instant foot stomping and fan camaraderie, but the lyrics are unforgettable. A boy turned man, then old man and the whole time with “blood on yo’ face, you big disgrace, wavin’ your banner all over the place.” It’s almost perfect.
Beyond the music: The stomping effects in the recording were created by the band in an old church; they used the wooden floorboards to produce the sound.
From start to finish, this song screams jock rock. The lightning-fast introductory riff and chants of “thunder” all lead to a crescendo that raises and maintains testosterone for an astonishing five minutes. Now that’s impressive. It’ll be tough to ever knock this jock-rattler out of first place because its diversity allows it to be played at any sporting event. Visiting teams in hostile territory put their tails between their legs when they hear the growl, “You’ve been... thunderstruck!”
Beyond the music: “Thunderstruck” was inspired when an aircraft that Angus Young was a passenger on was struck by lightning.
…don’t come knockin’
Imagine a movie with no soundtrack or a long car ride with no radio: They’re lifeless without music. Played at the right time, these top 10 sports anthems are guaranteed to provide the vigor to increase any fan's blood pressure.