Category Archives: Music/Football

The Final (for now, anyhow) Sunday Football-Related Music Post

via Baltimore Sun

As fans we’ve been hanging on by our fingernails until training camp begins, and the wait is just about over. The players report to camp on Thursday and public practices begin the following week. The long drought is almost over.

As a result, I’m going to end this series, at least until next off-season. And even then it will probably be a sporadic feature, as I’ve used up a great deal of the supply of NFL players involved in any sort of rigorous fashion with music.

I suppose I should have saved the Renegade post for this week, but that ship has sailed. Instead I will leave you with one final music post, featuring—a Baltimore Raven.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Messages in Music


via USA Today Sports

We’re getting tantalizingly close to the end of the seemingly endless off-season, so in the next two weeks I’ll be wrapping some musical things up.

This is as opposed to “rapping” things up, such as throwing out one’s suggested contract amount via a mixtape, as Le’Veon Bell seems to have recently done.

Plenty of words have been written about Bell’s “15” (as in million per year, one assumes,) but few of them were funnier than the words written by Post-Gazette sportswriter Gene Collier. Here are a few of them: Read more

The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: A Short History of “Renegade”

Since it is clearly time to start getting ourselves worked up for the coming season, what better musical way than a hand-picked selection of “Renegade” videos, combined with a few entirely ignorable facts?

As anyone who has been a fan of the Steelers for more than about 15 minutes and who has gone to at least one home game knows, the playing of “Renegade” to accompany a montage of defensive highlights is a beloved tradition used to pump up the crowd (and perhaps also the defense) when a stop is badly needed. It is a tradition going back centuries decades about 15 years.

The song itself is much older than that. It was written ine 1978 by Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw, but according to the Wilkipedia article fellow guitarist James Young asked to take the solo on it, although each player usually soloed on their own compositions. It was a hit, and remains Styx’s most recognized song. They finish every show with it.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Chiefly About Jazz


Recently the following item from 2015 caught my eye:

Chiefs Linebackers Tour the American Jazz Museum with Local High School Football Team 

Before the tour had even begun at the American Jazz Museum Wednesday afternoon, linebacker Dee Ford, already very familiar with the building, made his way to an area of it called the “Blue Room.”

The “Blue Room,” while honoring the history of Kansas City jazz with several exhibitions in it, also serves as an active club to this day.

Inside of it, next to a stage, sits a piano.

Ford, of course, couldn’t resist.

“I always do that,” he said. “Any time I see a piano, I touch it.”

As has been well documented, one of Ford’s favorite off-the-field activities is playing piano, which he believes has multiple benefits.

“It’s another level of skill that I can actually take to the field,” he explained. “That’s one thing that actually mentally helps me pick up defenses … It’s relaxing, but at the same time, it’s still another level of knowledge, another level of brain power that you have because it’s hard.”

I’ve discussed during this series how impossible it is to excel at both football and music simultaneously. Generally speaking, the music produced by active players confirms this. But the short video of Ford playing which accompanied the article intrigued me, and I decided to check him out.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Finishing the National Anthem

imageThere are a lot of possible ways to end this mini-series. One could go for a catalogue of the worst performances, although for really truly bad performances you need to move outside of the Super Bowl itself. (Roseanne Barr’s performance at a Padres game, complete with, IIRC, crotch grab, comes to mind, or Steven Tyler’s mauling [or do I mean caterwauling] at the 2011 AFC Championship Game.)

But I prefer to end on a positive note, so here are some performances I think are notable for musical interest.

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The Sunday Music-Related Football Post: Chorally Speaking

imageThis is a continuation of what has turned into a mini-series chronicling the checkered history of performances of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Since I am a choral person, today I’m featuring choral performances, or what pass for them, at the Super Bowl.

Other than the military choruses whose performances I included in this post last week, there haven’t been that many performances featuring a choir. There were more in the early years. In fact, Super Bowl I combined not one but two marching bands and the UCLA Choir. I can’t find a video of that one, but I presume it was at least competent.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: The Star-Spangled Banner Part II

image.jpegLast week I delved into the murky waters of Super Bowl performances of the National Anthem. It turned out to be rather fascinating, at least to me, and I was amazed at how many of the past performances are available via YouTube.

The National Anthem has been performed at every single Super Bowl except one—Super Bowl XI. Vicki Carr sang “America the Beautiful” instead.

One thing which has changed over the years is, sadly, audience participation. The National Anthem was never intended to be a showpiece, despite the title “anthem,” which people tend to think of as something other people sing, unless they themselves are in the choir.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: O Say Can You See?


Via Billboard

In the Week 2 of Dancing With the Stars writeup, I spoke about Hines Ward and how he had taken over “leading” the dance during the second week:

One of the things which I think makes the competition more difficult for the men than the women, and of course more difficult on their professional dance partners, is that the man has to lead. The women dancers can, and do, make quite an effort to disguise the fact that the guy isn’t really in control (and some would say this is a typical female role in life…) but it’s pretty obvious to the practiced eye who is really driving the bus. If the man can’t take over that role fairly early in the competition, it becomes more and more challenging for the woman to choreograph a dance which covers for the lack of leadership.

It’s rather like what occasionally happens in one of the top symphony orchestras. For some reason or other the orchestra has to schedule a guest conductor who isn’t really proficient. I can think of an example with the Pittsburgh Symphony some years ago, when the CEO of a large foreign manufacturer fancied himself a conductor and was basically buying conducting gigs with excellent orchestras through the bait of a very generous donation.

He wasn’t completely incompetent by any means, unlike the time Brett Keisel conducted the PSO in a mercifully brief number, but he wasn’t really driving the bus. I asked some of the players a few weeks after the concert how they handled something like that, and they said “We just follow the concertmaster (the principal first violin.)” This is fine, and the very standard repertoire generally chosen by such conductors, wisely, means that the players have played it, often as a group as well as individually, many times.

But still, something is missing…

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Seriously Heavy Metal

Today I’m going to profile a group of NFL players who also made music while they were playing. It isn’t my sort, but one has to give them credit for their enthusiasm and note that there is talent there. They are, curiously, not from one or more of the somewhat divo-ish position groups (“divo” is the correct usage, as a “diva” is a woman…) In fact, they come from the trenches (or the trenchermen) and have been billed as bringing true meaning to “heavy” metal.

The men in question are Leonard Davis, bass, Cory Procter, drums, and Marc Colombo on vocals and guitar. They all played on the Dallas offensive line during the time they were getting the band together, although by the time their recording came out (2011) both Proctor and Colombo had been signed by the Dolphins. They are all retired—Davis was the last one still playing, for the 49ers in 2012.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: A Reach?

As most of you know, I am a musician by trade. One of the tools of my trade is a grand piano, and it needs regular tuning. A very fine young man tunes it. He is a musician as well as a piano tuner (which isn’t invariably the case.) He plays numerous instruments and writes both classical and “contemporary” music.

I know Guy through many channels. I first met him when his sister was one of the many Wayward Musicians who lived in our basement apartment. (They weren’t really wayward, but one of the inhabitants christened it the Rollett Home for Wayward Musicians, and the name stuck.)

His parents are also musicians, although I didn’t meet them until after getting to know their daughter. Like his parents, he has sung with my group from time to time. Guy was also a Wayward Musician in his time, and like most of the WM the relationship has morphed into a quasi-adoptive one. As you can tell, he’s a pretty gifted person.

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