(SNN) - Quick… what’s the first song about football that pops into your head? Drawing a blank? How about your favourite basketball song? Anything? Any golf songs spring to mind or NASCAR ditties? How about songs about curling, lacrosse, soccer, handball, badminton, tennis or rhythmic gymnastics? If you’re like most, you couldn’t think of a single one. Baseball conjures up a couple of tunes. The long-of-tooth “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer in 1908 is the grand-daddy of them all. It should be disqualified from greatness, however considering the two songwriters admitted they hadn’t ever gone to a ball game until decades after the song came out. The other, instantly recognizable baseball song would be John Fogarty’s “Centerfield” although many know it as “Put Me In Coach”. Other than those two songs, however, commercial hits about baseball are few and far between. The fact is, when it comes to sport-themed songs, the favourite of the minstrels definitely appears to be hockey. To prove this claim, researchers at the palatial offices of The Sage News have assembled the Ten Greatest Hockey Songs to celebrate artists who celebrate the game.
In Canada, the late Stompin’ Tom Connors iconic “The Hockey Song” is instantly recognizable. Played at practically every hockey game that has musical interlude capabilities, this little ditty may just be the unofficial Canadian National Anthem. The mark of the song’s greatness is by the list of luminaries who have also recorded the tune which includes, among many others, Corb Lund, Warren Zevon, D.O.A. and even The Hanson Brothers (The singing ones, not the fighting hockey ones of the movie, “Slapshot” fame.)
As popular as The Hockey Song is to the Canadian psyche, however, it is not alone among recordings that celebrate our national passion. Canuck music superstar and Order of Canada recipient Tom Cochrane, weaves the game into his monster hit “Big League” as a metaphor for all young people’s hopes and dreams. According to Cochrane’s own website, the song was inspired by a true incident. He had met a man who had suffered the loss of his son who he believed was destined for the NHL. So moved by the tale, Cochrane mulled it over for years then woke up from a nap, turned on his tape recorder, grabbed his guitar and recorded the song from start to finish in one pass.
Another hockey-centric artist is Kathleen Edwards who had two shinny-related hits; Her 2004 “Hockey Skates” and “I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory” released in 2008. Of the latter song, it must be said that only a Canadian artist would include a lyric such as: “I'm a Ford Tempo/ You're a Maserati/ You're The Great One/ I'm Marty McSorley” and be understood by everyone.
Of course the love of hockey isn’t confined to Canadian artists. In Connecticut, a band called The Zambonis have carved out an entire career singing only hockey-related songs. Their biggest hit was “I Want to Drive the Zamboni”. Their other major release was “Hockey Monkey” which has the coolest YouTube video of any of the listed songs. he band has done frequent tours with the Stanley Cup and has performed at many NHL hockey games. Of the group, frontman Dave Schneider says, “We’re the only band in the world whose two biggest influences are The Beatles and Wayne Gretzky!”
My personal favourite on the hockey hit parade, is a band that bills itself as Toronto-based but whose members hail from all across Canada. “Jughead”’s rendition of “I Play Hockey” is a delight. Here’s a sample of the chorus.
Well, I play Air hockey, Ball hockey, Barn Hockey, Bubble Hockey,
Field hockey, Floor hockey, Ice hockey, Kitchen hockey
Road hockey, Roller hockey, Table hockey, Twist hockey.
And I play hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,
hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,
hockey, hockey all the time! Take shots!
Winnipeg native and semi-famous songster, Joey Gregorash, who made moderate hit out of “Jodie” in the ‘70’s, also appears in the Hockey Song Hall of Fame. His song “I Just Want to Play Hockey (In the National Hockey League)” was practically synonymous with the Jet’s reinstatement with the league. A video of the song on YouTube showcases some of the greatest goals and players in the history of the Jet franchise and is really worth a look. If you’re a Winnipeg fan.
There is even a punk rock entry in the hockey song annals. Calgary-based grungers “Belvedere” have a video on YouTube of their entry, “Two Minutes for Looking So Good”. Other than the ear-splitting, cacophonic guitars and the vocals that sound like the demon from “The Exoricist”, it’s not a bad song.
One of the more cerebral hockey songs, yes, a cerebral hockey song exists, is The Vandals “Changing the World With My Hockey Stick” wherein the singer plans to use his stick for good until the power corrupts him and he is eventually controlled by the stick. It is, as previously asserted, not your average hockey song.
Last, but not least in this Top Ten list is a band by the name of Atmosphere who released a song called “Hockey Hair”. This is a rap artist, however, and caution is required when playing the song around kids as they drop the “F-bomb” as much as NHLers do in a fist fight. Suffice to say Stompin’ Tom wouldn’t have covered it.
There you have the ten best hockey songs of all time. Please send any personal hockey song favourites to firstname.lastname@example.org
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