Music at Sporting Events
How do you fire up an unenthusiastic home crowd or engage an already excited one into even higher emotional investment? How do you taunt the opposition or cheer on your own team? Add music and cue The Power of Rock
This is a trope that is Older than You Think
, as a sufficiently profound musical instrument (say, an organ) carries farther than the human voice alone. Some songs have been so ingrained into certain sports that it becomes a Crowd Song
or Call-and-Response Song
- Pretty much every American sporting event ever. In college and high school, adding thematically appropriate music is the marching band's job while they're in the stands and in some circles considered Serious Business; in pro-sports, music is either played by an organist or broadcast by a DJ.
- Most schools have a fight song and an Alma Mater Song (sung either before the halftime break or at the end of the game).
- Many schools will play their fight song in response to scoring a touchdown, or sometimes even a field goal.
- Halftime shows in general, and for college and professional football in particular.
- Many of the older NFL teams also have official fight songs.
- Baseball's two most famous are the "Charge" fanfare and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" sung during the Seventh Inning Stretch.
- Individual players sometimes even have theme music that's played when they come out. For examples, reliever Trevor Hoffman was famous for entering the field to the sound of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells". Pants-wetting by the opposing team often ensued at the sound of the first bell.
- The Kentucky Derby's famous opening trumpet riff (Also Known As "Call to Post").
- "The Star Spangled Banner" is sung at the start of most pro sport events in the United States, though occasionally they might substitute "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" instead.
- Don't forget that if one of the teams is Canadian—possible in the NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer—they'll play "O Canada" as well. In fact, in the NHL, it's a rule that the arena must play both national anthems if the teams playing are from opposite sides of the border. The Buffalo Sabres take it a step farther and play both anthems before every game, regardless of the opponent, in recognition to Buffalo's proximity to Canada and the team's large (by American standards) Canadian fan base.
- The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" experienced a resurgence in popularity as a football song in Europe; after a group of fans of the Belgian Brugge K.V. team heard it at a bar, they used it as a chant during an upset game at A.C. Milan. Subsequently, the song spread back to Belgium. A few years later at the 2006 UEFA Cup, A.C. Roma fans returned the favor, and it soon became the unofficial theme song of Italian football.
- Every NHL team has a goal song played after the home team scores a goal. Some, like the Blackhawks' use of The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" have reached Memetic Mutation status.
- Meanwhile, in 2013, the Edmonton Oilers started using Pitbull's "Don't Stop The Party", which probably became the Most Annoying Sound for the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild (and people who just hate Pitbull to begin with), who got subjected to it 6 and 7 times respectively in a single game.
- Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 2)" (a.k.a. "the hey song") is definitive sports music to many. Especially in New Jersey, where chanting "HEYYYYYYYY, you suck!" to it at Devils games became a tradition. But then to quell the tradition (probably because Gary Glitter was arrested for indecent assault and statutory rape in 2012), the team randomly switched it out for Bon Jovi's self-described 'sports anthem' "This Is Our House" at the start of the 2013-14 season (a.k.a. the 2011 National Rugby League theme song for Australians), and people were heard booing it. Even more ironic is that New Jersey fans were booing a native of their own state. They ultimately replaced it with the aforementioned "Seven Nation Army".
- The Hartford Whalers had the Brass Bonanza. It was such a serious Ear Worm that, since it's introduction, it has spread a lot. Comes in both short(i.e. played after a goal) and long versions. About the only NHL team you won't hear play it is the Carolina Hurricanes, because they used to be the Whalers (something they are lukewarm at best about acknowledging.
- Boston has a few songs associated with its sports teams, mostly the Red Sox. "Tessie" (revived when the Dropkick Murphys covered it) "Sweet Caroline" traditionally sung in the eighth inning and performed by Neil Diamond himself at the first game after the Boston Marathon Bombings, and "Shippin' Up To Boston" also by the Dropkick Murphys, which serves the same purpose as a Football Fight Song at Bruins' games.
- There's a whole list of them which are often used in association football, but among the most famous is the "Olé" song. British football in particular has a variety of songs, one of the best known of which consists of chanting 'one-nil, one-nil' repeatedly when the appropriate result is in the team's favour.
- It's traditional in international rugby to sing the national anthems before the game as well. Ireland represents both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so they have their own team anthem, "Ireland's Call".note
- Formula One uses the anthem of both the winning driver and the winning constructor — leading to interesting segues, or extended play if both are the same nationality.
- International games also have the tradition of playing the national anthem of the winning team. The Summer and Winter Olympics both do it, as do the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games is particular fun as the UK enters as its constituent parts. Since these parts haven't been independent for centuries the National Anthem is often whatever the competitor say it is. The England 2010 team, for example, had a vote to decide what the English National Anthem would be for the games ("Jerusalem" won).
- Every Australian Rules Football team has a theme song. In the AFL, it's played when the teams enter, and the winning team's song is played at the end of the game. At every level from the AFL down to grass-roots football, the winning team sings it in the rooms after the game.
- Pro darts players usually come out to their own theme song, often one which ties in with their stage name.
- In the last few years at Test matches involving England, "Jerusalem" has been played at the start of the day's play. And then there's all the compositions produced by the Barmy Army...
- The use of "Down Under" by Men at Work as the theme for the Australian America's Cup team that won the cup in 1983.
- Each of Japan's professional baseball teams have a team song, but the most well-known is probably Hanshin Tigers' Rokko Oroshi. The stereotypical idiot from Osaka knows the whole song by heart.
- English rugby fans have a tradition of singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in matches played at Twickenham Stadium.
- In Taylor Swift's video for "You Belong With Me", the Hollywood Nerd plays in the school marching band and can be seen playing music (or at least cheering) from the stands.
- When has a wrestler not come out into the ring to his own theme song?
- Prior to 1985 (and WrestleMania 1), very few wrestlers had entrance music.
- Gorgeous George more or less started that in the 1940s ("Pomp and Circumstance").
- Family Guy: While auditioning for the church organist position, one of the potentials plays a tune more appropriate for a sporting event instead.
- On The Simpsons, the church organist is also the organist for the local minor-league baseball club.