Music and Sports

music-in-sports

Music.

“Music?” you say. “What does music have to do with sports?”

I don’t think that you can find two more closely related topics! Many sports have music ingrained in them (think gymnastics, figure skating, and synchronized swimming). Others use it to pump up the crowd (think football, hockey, and basketball). Theme songs from major sports movies often live on, long past the movie itself. These songs have become a part of our culture.

Politicians even jump on the sports theme bandwagon and use this music as part of their rallies. You may have recently seen this song performed at a rally in Kentucky. It was originally from Rocky III.

Do you remember the movie, Space Jam? What about its theme song or R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly? I’m sure that brings back some childhood memories!

Music written especially for major sporting events can also help boost careers for musicians, as it did in 1998 for Ricky Martin and Shakira in 2010. The World Cup was kind to them!

The reverse can also be true…but maybe with only limited success. Take Shaq’s 1996 song “Strait Playin’” as one example. Carl Lewis tried to sing the National Anthem, but instead made ESPN’s Low Lights reel.

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few songs that we hear at almost every sports game these days: “Who Let the Dogs Out?” the “Chicken Dance,” the “Macarena,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Thunderstruck,” “Celebration,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” and the “Y.M.C.A.” While these songs may not have been originally written for sports, they have sure come to be associated with them.

I cannot write this list without mentioning the opening theme from 1981s Chariots of Fire. Give it a listen. It will surprise you to know that you have heard this song before… MANY times. It has certainly done well for composer Vangelis.

And there certainly hasn’t been a championship in recent memory when this song by Queen wasn’t played.

Now that you have seen the cyclical relationship music has with sports and you have a few of these songs stuck in your head, can you give me a few examples of your favorite sports songs? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy singing!

WL

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