Musical odes to boxing and hockey | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Musical odes to boxing and hockey 

Rings and rinks

⇒ See also "Supergroup The Baseball Project sings stories of the dugout and beyond"

When talking the quantity and quality of songs that celebrate it, no other sport approaches baseball. You've got Sister Wynona Carr's swinging gospel number "The Ball Game" and the Intruders' Philly soul gem "Love Is Like a Baseball Game." You've got entries from the worlds of big band, rock, jazz, bluegrass, polka, folk and country. Heck, you've got no fewer than three songs about the late Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis. And from North Carolina alone, there's Bruce Piephoff's "Big Foot in the Door" (about Greensboro's Tom Alston, the first black player on the St. Louis Cardinals), Kenny Roby's "The Sweep" and "Ace, My Radio & Baseball," and, well, too many to mention from baseball balladeer Chuck Brodsky.

Trailing baseball—and doing so by, in diamond-speak, about 100 games—are hockey and boxing. Here's a look at some of those sports' best.

HOCKEY

click to enlarge 09.23musled_sidebarzevon.gif

"HIT SOMEBODY (THE HOCKEY SONG)," WARREN ZEVON (FROM MY RIDE'S HERE) — A good-natured co-write by Zevon and sportswriter/author Mitch Albom about a reluctant enforcer; it's been reported that Kevin Smith is making a movie based on the song.

"(I WANNA DRIVE THE) ZAMBONI," GEAR DADDIES (HIDDEN TRACK ON BILLY'S LIVE BAIT) — The Gear Dads excelled at chronicling the struggles of Middle America Joe and Jane, with this tale of a guy who doesn't even get to realize his dream of driving the ol' ice machine a prime example. (The Dads could also crash the boxing list below, thanks to their cover of Johnny Wakelin's disco-era hit "Black Superman" about Muhammad Ali.)

"(I FEEL LIKE) (GERRY) CHEEVERS (STITCH MARKS ON MY HEART)," CHIXDIGGIT! (FROM CHIXDIGGIT!) — A punk-pop winner (and the best use of parentheses in a title ever), this tune was resurrected by pop-without-the-punk band Cheeky Monkey on 1998's Four Arms to Hold You.

"THE HOCKEY SONG," THE HANSON BROTHERS (FROM SUDDEN DEATH) — With the Ramones and the movie Slap Shot offering inspiration in equal measure, calling the work of this Nomeansno spin-off "puck rock" is just too easy.

"FIFTY MISSION CAP," THE TRAGICALLY HIP (FROM FULLY COMPLETELY) — It would take a Canadian rock band to build a song around the mysterious disappearance of the Toronto Maple Leafs' Bill Barilko, wouldn't it?

BOXING

click to enlarge 09.23musled_sidebar2.gif

"JACK JOHNSON"/ "MUHAMMAD ALI," TOM RUSSELL (FROM HURRICANE SEASON AND HILLBILLY VOODOO/ MODERN ART) — A pair of fine pugilist profiles from roots rock's premier character sketch artists. (Russell is also no stranger to the baseball-song world, courtesy of his Mickey Mantle tribute, "The Kid from Spavinaw.")

"BOOM BOOM MANCINI," WARREN ZEVON (FROM SENTIMENTAL HYGIENE) — No sucker punches here, just straight-at-ya Zevon: "But the name of the game is to be hit and hit back," he sings as death visits the ring. (And don't forget Zevon's baseball song "Bill Lee," a nod to the hurling Spaceman.)

"SMOKIN' JOE," THE BIG BAD JOHNS (FROM I WILL BE GOOD) — Ali's toughest opponent gets equal time, and the tune, which sounds like The Blasters going power pop, hits hard.

"15 ROUNDS FOR JESUS," SISTER WYNONA CARR (FROM DRAGNET FOR JESUS) — Baseball wasn't the only sport that metaphor specialist Carr turned to in her musical efforts to save souls.

"HURRICANE," BOB DYLAN (FROM DESIRE) — This song about middleweight Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, arrested for murder in the mid '60s, was obviously about much more than just boxing—and his story remains a polarizing one.

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

i was born in the 60s and i know him well,... i hope we keep him close in the memories …

by Cee Will on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

Allison, you, as so many other people these days, are just looking to make something political or worry about who …

by Dianna Hurt Wright on Is It a Good Idea to Call a Country and Southern-Rock Concert a Carolina Uprising? (Music Feature)

Your comment loses all bite when you use the term "snowflake" earnestly. Also, I thought Tony was barely audible in …

by terryboo on Tony Levin, Who Powered King Crimson’s Third Act With Low-End Prowess, Keeps Propelling the Prog-Rock Band Thirty Years Later (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation