What if skating had a theme song?
I don’t mean the ones they used to kick off Wide World of Sports or CBS Sports Spectacular. I’m thinking more along the lines of Hank Williams Jr., who has been the voice behind ABC/ESPN Monday Night Football since 1989 (and is currently recording a new version of the “anthem” in Nashville). I haven’t a clue how it goes, but nonetheless I know the key line: Are you ready for some football???
That’s all you need. A hook. A killer riff on a piano or guitar. A well-enough known song, used repeatedly for the same purpose. I’m not saying skating would be as big as football if only it had The Jonas Brothers warbling something bearing the chorus Let’s hit the ice… it’d be so nice. But wouldn’t it be cool to hear one of the following tunes and know, without giving it a second thought, that a Grand Prix event (or Nationals, or Worlds, etc.) was imminent?
-- Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie. I’m showing my age already with this one, but how could anyone miss that incredible bass line? It could have fans salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. (As long as everyone promised not to call it Ice Ice Baby by mistake—that is unforgivable)
-- Right Now by Van Halen. Can this song really be 20 years old? No, really?? The stuff of Pepsi ads, fascinating videos getting saturation airplay on MTV, and… oh, wait, it HAS been about 20 years since MTV actually played music videos. My bad. Anyway, I’m not much of a VH1 fan whether the lead singer is David, Sammy, or that guy from the band Extreme. But this song has it all—gentle piano riff, meaty guitar underpinnings, inspiring lyrics, drums a video editor dies for (it’s a lot easier to edit an open to a show to a great “beat”—trust me on that).
-- Lose Yourself by Eminem. I’m not much of an Eminem fan either, but if you stick with the chorus and skip the majority of the verses, this song is a killer fit for skating (Lose yourself in the music, the moment, one shot, opportunity comes once in a lifetime, etc.). Don’t tell Marshall Mathers that, though… I’m guessing he’s not much of a rink rat.
-- The Underdog by Spoon. If you haven’t heard of this one (and it’s kind of obscure at this point, so don’t feel bad), go find a copy of Spoon’s current CD Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and maybe this song will pump you up as much as it does me. It doesn’t sport the super-appropos words of my other suggestions, but it’s got horns, drums, and a built-in competitor’s creed, of sorts: “You got no fear of the underdog/That’s why you will not survive!” Take that, Evan Lysacek! Or… Johnny Weir! Or… I don’t know. Apply it as you see fit.
I know I’m only scratching the surface here, particularly because I’ve failed to include any songs recorded by women. And I suspect a few of these have been used in association with skating at one time or another. But in any case, we're still lacking a theme song. Go ahead… what would you suggest?
For the Clip of the Day I couldn't resist putting "underdog" and "figure skating" into the You Tube browser... and came up with Paul Wylie's Olympic medal-winning free skate from '92. Lucky us!