Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's All About the Tunes!

For those of you that follow me on Twitter (@sportsnutblogs in case if you were wondering) you know how I constantly put on YouTube links of old school sports video games or fun pieces of music that I listen to while I write these entries. Because I feel that sound complements heavy visual attractions in several ways, I find it only fitting to talk about some of the most memorable sports themes that we have heard over time. By themes, I don't mean fight songs, but the themes to the sporting events that we watch on television. Sure, I like bone-jarring montages as much as the next guy, but since I'm a sucker for different musical effects, the music makes the scene. Sometimes, I might even have them on my iPod while I'm at the gym. Too much information there, but it's true.

Because I'm very partial and I don't like picking favorites, I'm going to list my Top 15 Favorite Sports Show Themes--In no particular order. Let's DO THIS. UUNH!

1. ESPN Sunday Night Football (2001-2004)
They also called this the "theme of the sirens" or something like that. For some reason, it made the whole concept of the Sunday night game that more intense and manly. I know, I'm the last person to talk about manly stuff, so humor me here. It almost makes you wanna go street on someone and break a few ribs, right?

2. MLB on CBS (1990-1993)
It just makes the atmosphere so much more exciting. To think of all of the legends that played around the time that this theme was used. You almost think of seeing a postseason montage along with it. I think another outlet still uses this in some way, because I remember hearing it a while ago. But anyway, it brings out the magic of the game and how exciting it can truly be.

3. NBA on NBC
DUDE. You have no idea. I don't even like basketball all that much, and this still pumps me up and makes me want to watch some epic slam dunk action. It's very street-synth, and it really fits the sport that it's presenting for. It even sounds like there's some cowbell in there. You know what that means...

4. Olympics Theme Song
As soon as you hear the tympani, it could either be one of two things: Darth Vader or the Olympics. Then the happy horns come in and you're like "YEAH! GO TEAM (insert country name here)!" And then your brain is mindlessly sucked into events and coverage you wouldn't ever dream of watching outside of the Olympic games for two whole weeks. That's where the power of the theme comes in. You hear it, and you either embrace the spirit or you run away from it because it's taking away your favorite NBC programming for a little while.

5. MLB World Series/All Star Game on FOX (2007-2009)
I like this for pretty much the same reason as the MLB on CBS theme. It makes it sound magical. Why they stopped using it this year is beyond me. I don't want to feel like I'm watching sports convergence where there's a baseball game with the NFL on FOX theme going on. That really bugged me this year. All I can say is when I hear this it takes me back to when I watched Game 5 of the 2008 World Series and they were restarting the game after the super long rain delay and all you see is a sea of red with everyone swinging white rally towels in the crowd. That was really cool and incredibly fitting. Shoot, I can watch it whenever I want. I have it on DVD. (ha ha ha)

6. Hockey Night in Canada (Original)
Don't get me wrong, I like the newer one too, but I feel like this one personifies the atmosphere on the ice and just makes you want to pick up a stick and check some people. Also, the first time I heard this I wanted to pick up a game paddle and play some old school hockey game on an emulator. It's got the guitars too that just makes you visualize the anticipation for the game--you see the Zamboni go up and down the ice and you're like "C'MON ALREADY, EH!!" Canada is fun to talk about. I should do this more often.

7. Monday Night Football
YEAH! FOOTBALLL!! AMERICANO!!!!! Did you really think I wasn't going to mention this? Sure, I'm not the biggest football fan in America, but I absolutely love this theme. I can just imagine these die hard fans just doing the slow-walk to their bathroom mirrors, putting on the eye black and beads with feeling, and then running to the couch with their beer and cheese puffs. This theme is just an American (and whatever other country) staple when you think of football, and boy, does it never fail to disappoint people when they have a "case of the Mondays."

8. NFL on FOX
Whomever made this theme should get a high five. The horns and bells just work so well with the whole concept of the strategy and physicality of the sport. It could also get you really nervous when your team is down by 7 with the 2-minute warning coming up in the 4th Quarter and no timeouts left. That is what the NFL on FOX theme is all about. It's about that rush you get when you watch it week in and week out during football season, regardless of what team is playing.

9. MLB on TBS
Basically, this theme to me just speaks: "Yeah, I'm here, and I'm way more talented than you." It also brings up some lively memories of postseason ball as well. This is what you could consider being the polar opposite of the other "magical" themes that I've already mentioned. This is like a football-caliber theme for a baseball program but still has the strings to encourage that magic that baseball has to offer.

10. ESPN College Basketball
It completely fits a college setting. It's got that band horn effect and I absolutely LOVE that. Like I mentioned earlier, I normally don't watch basketball, but NCAA is an exception to that rule. The school spirit pretty much wins me over, and the music gets me into the school-y setting of it all. I actually wrote a blog entry on why I enjoy NCAA over NBA many many months around the time I started the blog (I think the entry was written in lieu of March Madness, so yes, it's toward the way beginning when I had no niche of blogging).

11. NFL on CBS
I'm probably not the first to say this, but the NFC is to the AFC as the NFL on FOX theme is to the NFL on CBS theme. It's like rival themes duking it out. Which one I enjoy more, I can't say. Of course, there's less drumming and stomping to this one but has more horns and urgency tacked onto it. This theme almost makes it feel like one team is getting monstrously blown out by the other team and the losing team's fans are like, "okay, we'll slave to you winners for today."

12. College Football on CBS
This is about 100 times more upbeat than the NFL themes, and it has that magical school spirit-like feeling along with it. It's going along the lines of: "Okay boys, you're on a quest, and this quest will not be easy. However, we've worked hard for all of this. You see that lineman? That's your least favorite professor; now go out there and win one for the (whatever the mascot is) nation! HOOT HOOT HOOT HOOT!" I also stupidly think of the movie Rudy when I hear this. So irrelevant, I know.
(PS - I also think of the Army/Navy game when I hear this. This annual game is kind of a big deal in Philadelphia since it's played at Lincoln Financial Field every December. GO NAVY.)

13. NHL on FOX (1994-1995, 1998-1999)
MORTAL KOMBAAAAT!!! Wait, what? I'm serious! That's exactly what this theme sounds like. It makes the NHL sound so much more dangerous and violent than it really is. However, during the time that it was used, I think the NHL was rather desperate because they were faltering at the time and they needed a big draw from the adult audience who thought that this sport was an attempt for the Canadians to take over the world. Our society likes violence for some dumb reason, and I guess a Mortal Kombat-sounding theme somewhat did the trick. It wasn't like that for very long.

14. UEFA Champions League Theme Song
Let's get this straight: yes, it doesn't sound "manly," and it has an orchestral background. Here's the significance behind this (to me at least): the UEFA Champions League is like the Olympics of club soccer conferences around Europe. Certain elite teams have the honor and privilege to walk up the steps of the church of greatness and play on the highlighted pitch. Almost like a "Clash of the Titans" theme set. Could you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi wearing solider armor and swords while riding on horses? Picture that in your head. It's like you're watching Braveheart without the Mel Gibson and with a lot more kicking. I sound like my hero Ray Hudson now. I don't know whether that's a good thing or not.

15. NFL Thursday Night Football
What automatically comes to mind when I hear the bells is: "It's crunch time." Just imagine your significant other getting the chip bowl ready and your buddies are coming over and you're like "YEAH! I'm gonna win that bet," and there is so much on the line when the game is on. It has a nice exciting build, and I like that. I almost feel like they wrote it with Christmas in mind. It's like Jerome Bettis having a lovechild with Mannheim Steamroller or something.

...and that would be about it from me. I know there are many more out there that are fun to listen to, but these are the ones that catch my ear more often than others. Which ones do you like or dislike?

I bet Hank Williams Jr. approves of my list.

Yeah, he does.