With TV ads, TOs, OTs, pre-game and post-game activities, and other meaningless pauses taking precious time away from our favorite sporting events, fans are subjected to more PA music now than ever. But then, there’s little that’s more depressing than a quiet arena – which most often means the home team is getting steamrolled. I say it’s better to fill the stadium with a good rock song than announcements about bake sales and license-plate numbers of illegally parked cars. Here is a complete subjective list of the rock songs most often heard and occasionally enjoyed at sporting events.
10: “Who Let the Dogs Out” Baha Men Perhaps the most annoying novelty hit of the past 10 years, the Baha Men, thankfully have been unable to come up with a concept rivaling this one. But because wedding and family Christmas parties have now picked up on this song, it’s bound to live on for generations, right alongside “The Chicken Dance.”
9: “We Will Rock You” Queen The tribal drumming coming from the sticks of Queen’s Roger Taylor might just be the most identifiable drumbeat of our generation. To play along in the setting of a sporting event, well, you’ve just gotta put your hands together, then pound your lap or stomp your feet, or some combination thereof.
8: “What I Like About You” The Romantics “You keep me warm at nigheeeet!” The clangy air-guitar intro is this ill-fated formerly fashion-challenged quartet’s claim to fame. That and an interminable lawsuit.
7: “Unbelievable” EMF EMF emerged from the U.K. in the early ‘90s and flamed out five years later, but not before the memorable single “Unbelievable” burned up the charts. Were they referencing Michael Jordan? At least not intentionally.
6: “All Star” Smash Mouth There are two ways to succeed as an artist. One is to build a fan base and sell a lot of records through touring. The other is to sell a lot of records by simply being inescapable. Smash Mouth’s music presence on film, television and at sporting events illustrates the latter.
5: “Rock & Roll, Pt. 2” Gary Glitter Only accusation of trafficking in child porn could derail the locomotive that is Gary Glitter. Until his dirty downfall, Glitter had invented and reinvented himself for four decades, at no tome more effectively than here, with his lazy, dumb-as-dirt “Nah-n-nah-nah” mantra.
4: “Block Rockin’ Beats” Chemical Brothers Of all the crap that spewed from the so-called electronica revolution, the Chemical Brothers came close to being relevant. Why? Because their “block rockin’ beats” were little more than rock music in a synthetic disguise.
3: “Pump It Up” Elvis Costello Back in 1978, when this song was released, Elvis Costello was about as close to being an athlete as Fred Durst was to being a scholar. Still, the songwriter’s anthem has endured, thanks in part to a great, warped riff and an inadvertently perfect sports reference.
2: “Crazy Train” Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy ain’t much of an athlete these days, either (can’t do much with those shakes). But this, his first solo classic helped in large part by the fret-work of Randy Rhoads, is as ubiquitous at sports events as salty pretzels and losing teams.
1: “Start Me Up” Rolling Stones Mick Jagger was probably referring to his Johnson when he wrote the song’s title line, but hey, real sports fans don’t think much about sex, per se – at least not during the Season, and especially not during the Big Game.