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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Phillies Need a Song. . .

For the seventh-inning stretch.

In Baltimore, they play the late John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." (I don't really consider Baltimore "country", although it is south of the Mason-Dixon line and there were many secesh sympathizers there during the Civil War, including some assassins who tried to knock off President-Elect Abe Lincoln as his train made his way through Crab City before his inaugural in 1864). I am curious, though, how this song came to be so embedded in the culture of Oriole Nation.

In Boston, they play Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." (Diamond is from Brooklyn, and I'm not from Boston, so I wonder what the significance is).

In Philadelphia, they need a complement to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Here are some suggestions (in no particular order of preference):

1. Chubby Checker's "The Twist." An old Philadelphia classic, and good for aerobic exercise after the 7th inning stretch. A contender.

2. Bobby Rydell's "Volare." Another old Philadelphia classic, and on the same label as "The Twist." Can you tell me the label? Anyway, it's a bit schmaltzy, and now most of the people who heard of it are grandparents. Probably a long shot.

3. "Gonna Fly Now." This is the theme from Rocky, but it's not known for it's lyrics, and you don't always want to summon up the image of a local fighter getting pounded. Right now, it hits the hometown bullpen too close to home. While Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" is a great "pump me up" type of song (and at the core of "Rocky III"), remember the word "Tiger." It isn't eye of the Phillie, but, then again, what really is a Phillie? Pass.

4. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, "We're Havin' a Party." It's a great song, one that everyone can sing along to, and it's really upbeat. Sure, Southside is from the north Jersey Shore, which means that many of his fanatics are Mets or Yankees' fans, but the music is good (even though few listen to music on the radio anymore, and, well, that pastime fits into the song's lyrics pretty well). Then again, you have to be a pretty good time to have this upbeat a song. And the Phillies can score runs, so they definitely have an offensive party in their bandbox of a ballpark. I don't think this would work in Baltimore, where the hometown nine is en route to a tenth straight losing season. A contender, if a bit of a darkhorse.

5. Sister Sledge's "We are Family." Great song, and sung almost 30 years ago by native Philadelphians. Problem is that the cross-state Pirates made this song famous with their '79 Series victory, when they came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Orioles. This song is akin to a retired number -- no one really should use it as a theme song any more -- they won't be able to do it justice the way Willie Stargell and the Pirates did it. (One note here: the Phillies' AAA team will move from Ottawa to Allentown, Pennsylvania starting next season and be named, gulp, the Allentown Iron Pigs. Here's to hoping that Billy Joel's "Allentown", in which he sings of "closing all the factories down" doesn't make it to the Iron Arnold Ziffels' seventh inning stretch). Not an entrant -- it's retired.

6. The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie." Okay, it's an oldie, but it's one that the fans can sing along to, dance to, and drink beer to, and given how many $6.50 Buds they sell at Citizens' Bank Park (why can't they at least sell a fine Pennsylvania beer, Yuengling, instead of send money the Cardinals' way is beyond me). Choruses of "Louie, Louie" will echo throughout the stadium and make every night seem like a summer beach party. A little lowbrow, but it has a shot.

7. "I Feel Good" by James Brown. Now, Brown didn't necessarily lead a stellar off-the-stage life, but how can professional sports owners really complain given all the scandals that have befallen them? Steroids in baseball, Epogen in cycling, a corrupt ref in the NBA (allegedly), a dog-fighting scandal in the NFL (allegedly), so James wasn't a saint. But the song is really upbeat, you have that cool shriek at the beginning, and, well, to be outside at a baseball game in the summer, with family and friends, should make everyone feel good. Then again, if your startingpitching staff if populated with AAA refugees, perhaps "I Feel Good" isn't the message you should send (but you won't play Elton John's "Rocket Man", either, and I doubt the players' union would let you create innuendos against your pitching staff anyway). Intriguing candidate.

8. The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up." Great to get the juices flowing in the seventh inning, even though after the initial words it's not the easiest to understand the lyrics. And perhaps this song gets overplayed and overused that it could end up being a cliche at the ballpark. Pass.

But for another "fire me up song", how about. . .

9. C&C Dance Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat." Martha Wash belts out "Everybody Dance Now" in a Hall-of-Fame caliber performance, and Freedom Williams' provides a complementary rap. Hearing "Everybody Dance Now" after sitting for seven innings could be just what the hometown crowd needs. This song should be a contender, even if it doesn't have the shmaltz of "Sweet Caroline" or the hillbilly, feet-stomping appeal of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." The problem probably is that outside of Martha Wash's exuberant singing of "Everybody Dance Now" the song isn't the strongest in the world. A contender, but not a strong one.

10. Al Alberts' "One the Way to Cape May." Alberts (who had a kids' variety show on local TV for years and who's now in his late 70's, composed this little ditty many years ago about driving down to the various points at the South Jersey shore, culminating in Cape May. It's shmaltzy, it's summery, and it's just flat out great. Perhaps, above all, this should be the song that they play after "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Could be the winner -- shmaltzy, you can sing along to it, and it has a tie to the Phillies' Nation.

Now, as for after the ball game. . .

How about John Lee Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer"?

After all, that's probably what Charlie Manuel and his coaches down after watching the bullpen blow a 4-2 lead after an excellent performance by Cole Hamels.

Follow the bouncing ball. . .


Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon said...


"Louie, Louie" is currently used by the Seattle Mariners as the "follow-on song to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", so if the Phillies use it, thy will be copy-cats.

And no, I have no idea why "Louie, Louie" goes with the Seattle Mariners...

8:51 PM  
Anonymous tim in tampa said...

The Devil Rays mix it up, usually borrowing from another team (I've heard Country Boy, Louie Louie, all sorts of things) which is apt because most of the people at Tropicana Field these days are some other team's fans anyway.

Here are my suggestions for a song with real local flavor that would get people dancing:

LaBelle - "Lady Marmalade"
anything by Schooly D
The Roots -- The Seed

all else fails, hall and oates

10:55 PM  
Blogger Escort81 said...

"Where do all the hippies hang out?
South Street, South Street."

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Red Sox play Sweet Caroline in the eighth inning, not during the seventh inning stretch.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If memory serves, that label would be Cameo-Parkway.

What do I win?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we show our love for Harry the K? HIGH HOPES!

4:47 PM  
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Anonymous Miami Air Conditioning said...

the majority of this song, are being used by other teams, so if we use those will be like copy-cats.
we need to fing a song who really express our feelings, I vote for the number 4!!!

1:11 PM  

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