This month’s guest conductor, Alana, wants songs that are either played at sporting events or are about sports. Naturally, the ones I think of are primarily baseball, and nearly all of them are from Chicago. So if you’re quite ready…
- Wayne Messmer, “The Star-Spangled Banner”: Wayne is from Chicago and sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at many sports related events. If my memory is correct, he was also the field announcer at Wrigley Field for a couple of seasons. This is prior to a game between the Cubs and Phillies.
- John Fogerty, “Centerfield”: Title song from his mid-’80’s solo album. I think there’s a major-league rule that teams have to play this during infield warmups at the beginning of the game.
- “It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame”: WGN used to play this at the start of Cubs baseball telecasts, and that’s where I heard it. I think before “Centerfield” the league rule was to play this during infield warmups.
- Timothy Miller, “God Bless America”: It was an Atlanta tradition since 1966 to sing “God Bless America” during the 7th-inning stretch on Sunday Braves games in addition to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” After 9/11 all the other teams in MLB started doing it. Timothy Miller, a tenor with the Atlanta Opera who’s also a voice teacher and a huge sports fan, sings “God Bless America” on Sundays at Truist Park in Atlanta and at other athletic events around Atlanta. He’s fantastic. Sometimes he’s the best reason to go to a Sunday Braves game.
- Harry Caray and Nancy Faust, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”: Cubs fans tend to forget that, before Harry Caray brought his act to Wrigley Field, he spent eleven years as the TV and radio voice of the crosstown White Sox. He started the practice of leading fans in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on the South Side, and was accompanied by the lovely Nancy Faust on the organ. Nancy started as the Sox organist in 1970 and retired in 2010, and during her last season was honored with a bobblehead…
- Captain Stubby & The Buccaneers, “Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox”: Captain Stubby was a kids’ show host on Chicago TV during the ’50’s and wrote and performed this in 1959, when the White Sox went to the World Series (and lost four games to two to the recently-transplanted Los Angeles Dodgers). Interest in the song picked up again in 2005, when the Sox swept the Houston Astros and won the World Series.
- “Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel”: This was written in 1969 when the Cubs made a run at the World Series (and fell apart like a cheap suit in September, much to the delight of White Sox fans, who were having a real crappy year on the South Side anyway).
- Eddie Blazonczyk, “Bear Down Polka”: Switching from baseball to football, the Chicago Bears had an incredible season in 1985-86 and played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX, winning 46-10. The whole city went crazy about this, and local polka king Eddie Blazonczyk and his band did a polka version of the Bears’ fight song, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.”
- “Here Come The Hawks”: Not to be outdone by the Cubs, the Chicago Blackhawks had a fight song written in 1969, when the Hawks had a pretty incredible team, with names such as Bobby and Dennis Hull, Stan Mikita, Pit Martin, Keith Magnuson, and “Tony Zero” Esposito (who had an incredible number of shutouts as goaltender, thus the nickname “Tony Zero”).
- Notre Dame Fight Song: Many Chicagoans (and people all over the Midwest, indeed across the country) think of The “Fighting Irish” of the University of Notre Dame (pronounced “noter dame,” unlike the French cathedral) as a sort of home team, especially when the local teams are doing poorly.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 6, 2020.