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July 8th, 2005

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05:18 pm - A Few Inspiring Sports Program Themes
In a previous comment regarding hockey theme music, zrblm mentioned the theme to Hockey Night in Canada, the one piece of music that has the uncanny ability make an entire unruly mob of hockey-loving Canadians (well, as unruly as a mob of Canadians can get) to stop whatever they're doing and stand at attention. I called it the Unofficial Canadian Anthem (besides whatever Anne Murray is singing at the time.)

Then I realized that Americans don't really have an sports-related equivalent to that theme music. Oh, sure, we have lots of sports-related theme songs, yes, but none of them has that kind of awesome power, none of them is that beloved by us down in the Lower 48 (and our friends in Hawaii and Alaska.) I tried to think of a few themes that come close, with my criteria being instantly recognizable by a large segment of the population (presumably) and enduring enough to withstand program changes and format changes and host changes and whatnot. "Are You Ready For Some Football?" doesn't count. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with any real current choices that satisfied all these criteria. The closest I could think of was FOX Sports' theme, but it's really not all that inspiring. So instead, I came up with a list of A Few Somewhat Inspiring Sports Program Themes. They really gotta make you want to sit up and watch and beat your chest and throw your empties at Howard Cosell. They are, in no particular order:
  • ABC's Monday Night Football fanfare theme (dun-dun-dun-DUNNNN! dun-dun-dun-DUN-DUNNNNN!) I think this is the closest thing to Hockey Night in Canada that we have. But it lacks the all-encompassing, uh, all-encompassingness.
  • ABC's Wide World of Sports intro (all together, now: "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport: The thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat. The human drama of athletic competition! THIS is ABC's Wide World of Sports!")
  • CBS' NBA theme for the 80s (If you can't remember it, just pretend you're on the floor of the Boston Garden and say "Hi, I'm Brent Musburger...")
  • The theme to This Week in Baseball before Mel "How About That?" Allen died.

What do you think?

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:July 8th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
Keith starts singing the Monday Night Football theme when August rolls around. He loves living on the West Coast because MNF starts at 6 PM. He also sings the Hockey Night in Canada theme and O, Canada when (maybe?) hockey season starts. He is praying that we get CBC on our antennae when we finally set up our teevee.
[User Picture]
Date:July 8th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
That one song they play before they introduce the Bulls.
[User Picture]
Date:July 9th, 2005 12:36 am (UTC)
Sounds Like Canada did an episode in a hockey stadium once (Maple Leaf Gardens?), with full audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem." Everyone rises.

And they play HNiC on the tinny little organ.
[User Picture]
Date:July 9th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
One of the reasons TV was invented:

Watching John Tesh play the "NBA on NBC" with Paul Schaffer on Letterman. (Hearing him talk about how he composed it was also interesting.)
Date:July 9th, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
ESPN's SportsCenter theme is pretty instantly recognizable.
Date:July 9th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC)

Beat me to it

Totally. Da Da Da! Da Da Da!


[User Picture]
Date:July 11th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)

Re: Beat me to it

Oh, good call, you two.
[User Picture]
Date:July 9th, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
Of the ones you listed, the only one I (a definitively non-sports person) can hum off the top of my head is the Wide World of Sports.

Of course, on my first attempt, I missed and got the Olympic Theme instead, but at least it's sports-related.
[User Picture]
Date:July 9th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC)
Since Monday Night Football has been pretty much canceled (okay, moved to cable, but that's the same thing in my book), I'm not sure it qualifies any more. Who knows if ESPN is going to keep the music even? (I certainly hope they get rid of Hank Williams Jr. Ecch.)
Date:July 9th, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC)
I remember ABC's wide world of sports. But just for the opening theme, and the guy wiping out on the ski jump. Everything else... eh. I wasn't in to televised sports, and had nobody to encourage that to change.
Date:July 11th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
The first two, definitely. I can't even bring the other two up in my head.

Maybe I watched too much ABC as a kid.
Date:July 12th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC)
I'm seconding the John Tesh NBA theme. Not only does it bring back memories of watching an ominously setting sun descend upon Salt Lake City and Marv Albert coming in during the breakdown portion of the song and delivering a classic "We're here in Salt Lake city as Karl Malone tries to deliver the Utah Jazz from the grip of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls" monologue, but it was also the theme on NBA Jam arcade machines as well.

Another fantastic sports theme, though unfortunately less known, is the NFL on Fox theme. But my favorite sports music of all time belongs to the NFL Films music, especially the "Equalizer" which, if played during a particularly ponderous Condoleeza Rice speech, could make it seem as if she was nimbly avoiding linebackers and crushing defensive backs with the ferocity of the 28 Days Later rage monkey.

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