04 January 2008

Music and hockey don't always mix.

It's true. They're not always well-suited for each other. The ultimate proof of this lies in perhaps the greatest Christmas song ever recorded, Honky the Christmas Goose. [Warning: link plays sound] Recorded by Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower, it's just...outstanding. My favorite part is how the tempo speeds up and slows down with no real apparent motive. And, it's about a GOOSE, okay? How many other Christmas songs are about fowl of any type? None, that's how many.

"But wait!" I can hear you saying. "There's tons of good hockey songs out there!"

"Tons" may be overstating it a bit. There is the wonderful classic by Stompin' Tom Connors, The Hockey Song. I think it's like a law that it must be played, at least in part, at every NHL game. I know I sing along with it, even if the people I'm with look at me a little oddly. (Hey, they know the words, too. They should make it a sing-a-long. It's easier to sing than the anthems, you know.)

Or how about the classic Hockey Night in Canada theme? Certainly one of the most well-recognized sports jingles out there, I think. Well, the Monday Night Football theme might beat it out, or at least in my house during football season, the NFL on Fox theme song, but I like the HNIC theme better. Even if sometimes they do play some awful version of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," which...okay, I don't make the rules, but I'd rather they didn't and just stuck to what works. Also, once I heard an awesome story about a couple who had the organist play it at their wedding at some point. Which I think is just the coolest thing ever.

And there's all the music they play AT hockey games. Which is usually not so inspired. I think we've all heard Enter Sandman and Play That Funky Music White Boy a few hundred too many times. Where is the new, exciting music? (And I am not speaking here for the staff at Scotiabank Place, who play a lot of fairly crappy "nu-metal" music in some sort of weird attempt to rev up the crowd, when they could just as easily flash pictures of the Buffalo Sabres on the Jumbotron and make people angry.) Where are the daring arena staff playing Helmethead by Great Big Sea? Actually, that might not be such a hot choice, since it contains the line "I'll never win a title and I'll never win the Cup," and is all about a crappy player who sleeps around with lots of women. So, you know, it accurately describes many, many players, but is probably not such a positive message for the young kids at the games.

Speaking of things that are not a positive message, apparently the New Jersey Devils, when they opened the Prudential Center this year, played a montage of clips set to the music of...yes...friggin' Baba O'Reilly by the Who. (Yeah, I know the video says Quadrophenia, and the song is off Who's Next. I didn't make the video, I just needed the song.) CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT TO ME? Ok, maybe Pete Townshend admitted that he didn't even know what the song is about, and I know it has a catchy riff and lots of fun synthesizer bits, but...seriously, "It's only teenage wasteland / they're all wasted" AND SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE IN THE DEVILS MANAGEMENT THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR A VIDEO MONTAGE ABOUT HOW GOOD THE DEVILS ARE. I don't GET it. It's a good song, just...maybe not for this purpose?

And there are plenty of hockey players who have bands! Jocelyn Thibault is an avid drummer, and my mom's perennial favorite ex-player Darren McCarty is the lead singer in his own metal band, which is creatively named "Grinder." And since I don't much care for metal, I can't comment on the...relative decency of the band.

Fun fact for the day: Did you know Chris Chelios is just about to pass Alex Delvecchio in the standings for most games played? Chelios has 1547, and Delvecchio played 1549, and was, of course, one of the greatest players ever to play in Detroit. Chelios has far and away the most games played of any active player, although his next runner-up is a former teammate of his, Brendan Shanahan. Hockey is a small world.


Cat said...

At our arena, we not only RARELY get "The Hockey Song", but we get lots and lots of rap and hip-hop. Perhaps that comes from being in the South? I don't know, man, but sometimes even I would love to hear "Enter Sandman", and I HATE Metallica.

Ariana said...

You know, you're right about The Hockey Song. You can pick ANY key to sing along in, and it still sounds fine. It is an anomaly.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that the year after I quit tap dancing, my former competition team did a routine to, I shit you not, a dance version of The Hockey Song, with intro provided by the HNIC theme. Oh, but it was a thing of beauty.

Incidentally, that particular version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" is by Nickelback, and is thereby automatically awful, and is used AN AWFUL DAMN LOT in Calgary, because those stupid boys are from stupid Hanna, Alberta, and FOR SOME REASON we are PROUD of that fact.


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