Bronx, NY – Earlier this week, my fellow MTM drone D.J. Eberle included a little musical segment at the end of his spirited fantasy baseball piece. In it, D.J. and a couple of his buds did a Ron Bugundy/Robin Thicke lip sync to the Christopher Cross 1979 mega-hit Ride Like the Wind. Unfortunately, for anyone out there reading this today, it got me to thinking, “Wouldn’t “Sailing“ have been a more Burgundy-like Cross song to cover?” After all, his roots are in San Diego. My ill-advised pursuit of the “Sailing“ video opened up a Youtube/Google Pandora’s Box from which there was no dignified return. What follows are but a few feverish notes from a Gosling’s-soaked descent into Sports Music Madness.
Earl Campbell Can Do Miracles, Just You Wait and See. Right out of the box, I found the “Sailing” video. What I wasn’t at all prepared for was that Mr. Christopher Cross was performing it wearing a powder blue Earl Campbell Houston Oilers jersey. On top of this, he’s strumming a Jimmy Page-like double-neck guitar. WTF? How did I not remember this? Did Cross play “Never Be the Same” at Bum Phillips’ funeral wearing a Kenny Burrough double-zero jersey? Suddenly, other sports music memories came flooding back like so many Curtis Granderson strikeouts.
Que Linda. Now, I thought for sure that Linda Ronstadt was wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers warm-up jacket on the cover of her 1978 Living in the USA album cover, but I was wrong. It’s definitely not a Dodgers warm-up. I was clearly distracted by the roller skates, short-shorts, tube socks, and knee pads. An honest mistake. Also, Linda was the girlfriend of California Governor Jerry Brown, so I figured that was a natural extension. The good news is, Ronstadt appeared in a Dodgers warm-up on several other occasions. Though she is now suffering from Parkinson’s and unable to sing, she was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and currently has a duet compilation album ranked 32 on the Billboard Top 200. Way to go, Linda.
Linda is back on a roll.
Cubbie Vedder. Around a zillion years ago I was working at my first job out of college on 54th between Park and Lex, and that summer Pearl Jam was a fully-realized rock and roll powerhouse. Anyway, they were fighting the good fight against Ticketmaster and distributing their tickets through lotteries and radio stations and such. I forget where they were playing in NYC but one day during lunch I was walking on Madison and some scruffy guy in a Cubs hat brushed by me on the sidewalk. It took me another three steps to realize it was Eddie Vedder. First thought was to track him down and ask for tickets, but my inner New Yorker took over and I kept walking. In any event, Eddie is a big Cubs fan and even wrote a song about ’em where he takes artistic license to make the two-syllable Wrig-ley into Wri-gi-ley. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.
Purple Pain. I’m not even getting into this one. Look, Prince is a great musician and a big Minnesota Vikings fan. I cracked up when I once saw him and Bud Grant sharing a luxury box during a Vikings playoff game. But when our own Cookie pointed out that he had written a song for the Vikes, I thought, how bad could it be? The answer? No. I’m not going to bother with searching for the link. Let management do it.
The Hurricane, The Black Superman, and The Dream. All of these songs deserve their own paragraph, if not their own post, but we’re strapped for time and space. First, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former middleweight who recently passed away at age 76, got one of the best sports music treatments from Bob Dylan. But, you knew that already. Muhammad Ali had a slightly less impressive song written about him by British artist Johnny Wakelin in 1975. Entitled, “Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)” it peaked at #21 in the US. Ali, reportedly, was not a fan. Wonder why? Finally, Hakeem Olajuwon’s unparalleled masterpiece ‘The Unbeatable Dream” needs no introduction.
Blowfish. Sorry, but I couldn’t leave out Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be with You” from this mix. They have the distinction of admitting that the Dolphins make them cry. Join the rest of South Florida on that one, guys. Worse, they invited Dan Marino and Chris Berman to be in their video. That’s three strikes and then some. If you wanna blow fish, please do it behind closed doors and not on MTV.