Sports and song: the (unofficial) anthems of major teams.

A Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet sitting in the sun. Wikipedia Commons

Music plays its own role in the big game

The use of music in sporting events is nothing new. Usually during intermissions or helping to pump up the crowd, the songs that play over the speakers are a fairly standard aspect of what games at any level have to offer. However, there are certain songs out there that are a little more impactful with their use in the sporting world.

Curious? You can find them just below:

“Zombie Nation” – Boston Bruins

By no means a beloved team, the Boston Bruins are nonetheless a history franchise that has seen its fair share of legendary players hit the ice. Whether that be Ray Bourqe, Joe Thorton, or Cam Neely, the Bruins certainly aren’t without their notable names. That being said, one notable name doesn’t refer to a player in the Bruins organization, but rather a song that has become synonymous with the franchise.

“Zombie Nation” by Kernkraft 400 has become a legendary sports anthem all on its own, but it’s even more legendary in the Bruins arena as it’s been the goal song for the team for around two decades.

During playoff runs for the Boston club, the song gets a boost in usage, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

“Renegade” – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are an NFL franchise that holds so many memories for so many fans, only continuing to cement their legacy year after year. Styx’s is a rock band that saw massive popularity in the 70’s and 80’s, holding so many memories for so many fans of the rock genre. See where I’m going with this?

Those similarities aside, the hit Styx’s song “Renegade” is associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers in a much more direct fashion. Usually played during games where the score is close, ‘Renegade’ has boosted the Steelers defense to the point of “clutch” time and time again.

The song’s use came about when one of the upstairs technicians bought a Styx’s greatest hits album and heard the “fishing hook” of “Renegade” (slow methodical opening draws you into a big riff). It was then used during the 2004 AFC playoff game when the Steelers were down against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers would come back and win that game after “Renegade” was played.

“Bang on the Drum” – Green Bay Packers

Not only the home of legends like Brett Star, Brett Favre, and Don Hutson, but also home of one of the most catchy tunes in all of sports, “Bang on the Drum” by Todd Rundgren has been a staple of Lambeau Field for more than two decades. Coming about during the highly productive/winning days of the Packers organization, the song hasn’t slowed one bit through the years as it blasts through the stadium whenever Green Bay scores a touchdown.

Becoming almost an anthem for the state of Wisconsin itself, “Bang on the Drum” will continue to live on as long as the Packers continue to win.

So it’ll probably be around forever.

“Sweet Caroline” – Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park has been the site of some truly awe-inspiring moments in baseball. From the Red Sox ending their World Series drought in 2004, to the stadium reaching its 100th anniversary, it’s truly a ballpark unlike any other.

So, it would only make sense that the site also features a song unlike any other in the form of “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. The tune, according to Dr. Charles Steinberg, was a result of Amy Tobey (a former control room employee of the Red Sox) playing the song for a then-Red Sox employee who had a baby named Caroline. From then on, the song would grow to be a hit with fans and employees alike. The interesting thing is, where other songs play during moments of great tension within games, ‘Sweet Caroline’ is really only played during moments of joy (such as when the Red Sox are ahead in games).

As an added bonus, Neil Diamond himself would eventually perform the song live at Fenway Park

“Paint the Whole World Green” – Saskatchewan Roughriders.

What would a music and sports association article be without the tune that gives Rider fans an earworm after leaving the game? Incomplete, that’s what. Coming from Jason Plumb & The Willing, “Paint the Whole World Green” is catchy, fun, and screams Saskatchewan sports. Don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it, as Jason Plumb himself was available for comment regarding the song:

“You know,” started Plumb, “The fact that they’ve been playing it for … God, I don’t know, must be 10 years now. You know, it’s nice.”

As for the song’s association with the Roughriders, Plumb also spoke on that.

“I’m proud of the team,” said Plumb. “I’m proud of the organization. You know, nationally, it’s kind of a storied franchise. So, to be associated with it is really nice.”

Though the song and team are linked now, Plumb originally didn’t expect the two to be so closely associated for so long .

“No, not at all,” said Plumb. “I mean, when I wrote it, it was just for the unveiling of the Max Tron. They needed a song to go with some visuals and they captured my band, playing a bit of it. Actually, it’s funny, because when they came to film us playing it, I had only written the chorus and one verse, so all we did was play one verse in the chorus, and they kind of cut it together in a magical way.

“But no,” continued Plumb, “I didn’t know that it would last this long. You know, you never know when you write these things, right?”

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