Football and music are inextricably linked. Music suffuses the locker rooms of every team getting ready for a game. It’s pumped into stadiums at deafening volumes throughout every NFL game. It’s even all over practice fields, now as much a part of the proceedings as warmups.
So what song gets you thinking about football?
We asked the APC staff to give us a peek into their playlists. Here’s what they had to say.
sammwichh: My Hero - Foo Fighters.
Immediately takes me back to one of the previews for Varsity Blues which I believe I remember from the VHS copy of Night at the Roxbury. I’ve never even seen Varsity Blues.
Rcon14: Till I Collapse - Eminem
This was basically a staple in every football locker room I was in from middle school through high school. Hearing the song without the sounds of nervous teammates throwing up in the bathroom ten yards away almost sounds weird to me.
Matub: Ain’t Too Proud To Beg - The Temptations
I, much like every other millennial football fan, have seen Remember the Titans more times than I can count.I also grew up in the Mitten state which meant a healthy dose of motown. The lunchroom scene in Remember the Titans where Ethan Suplee (as OL Louie Lastik) is asked to say something about one of his black teammates is absolutely iconic. When explaining he and the character Rev both “Dig on the Temptations”, he busts out into a marginally on-key version of Ain’t Too Proud To Beg that has Denzel Washington struggling to keep his composure.
Every time I hear that song, I’m taken back to that scene. Every time I think about that movie, I’m taken back to playing Pop Warner in the fall of 2000.
Tex Western: Party Hard - Andrew W.K.
I played a lot of Madden growing up, but no edition of the game saw more hours in my PC’s CD-ROM drive than Madden NFL 2003. Because of that, I heard that game’s menu soundtrack – all 11 songs of it – on repeat for probably hundreds of hours, in part because the 2003 game had an excellent franchise mode that saw me spending a lot of time outside of actual football gameplay. The loudest, highest-energy track on that list, which also usually came up first when loading up the game, was Andrew W.K.’s ridiculous party anthem, released in 2001. The instant that guitar riff reaches my ears, I’m immediately transported back to Madden fantasy drafts, building custom team logos and stadiums, and of course, leading my Milwaukee Badgers to five straight Super Bowl titles.
Paul Noonan: Super Bon Bon - Soul Coughing.
Released in 1996 on their follow-up to the acid jazz classic Ruby Vroom, Super Bon Bon’s kicking, actual bass line provided by an actual stand-up bass, became the default sound track to many a college Madden game in my dorm back in the PS1 era.
Because of Wisconsin’s reciprocity with Minnesota, there has always been a large Twin Cities contingent in Madison, which served to bring in some alternative rock that just wasn’t played that much on Milwaukee, or Wisconsin, via Minneapolis’ legendary Zone 105, or whatever it was called back in the day. Among those bands far more popular to Wisconsin’s west along with the Replacements, Bob Mould/Sugar/Husker Du, and KMFDM, was Soul Coughing, despite no geographic ties to the area.
Super Bon Bon is great, although it’s also very clearly an attempted grab at mainstream success, or “selling out,” and man oh man, does Mike Doughty’s rapping not hold up well 27 years later, but the underlying beats are super fun hype music, and it’s just silly enough that it still works for me. It’s on my short list of walk-up songs when I need a walk-up song along with Banditos by The Refreshments, and Super Sex by Morphine, the latter of which is spiritually similar to Super Bon Bon, though more on the intimidating, gritty side of the spectrum.
The Packers would, of course, go on to win the 96 Super Bowl, and that song will forever be ingrained as my personal song of that championship run. It’s great.
Jon Meerdink: For Those About to Rock - AC/DC
This association comes courtesy of an early 2000s beer commercial that seared into my brain as the perfect embodiment of what the start of a football game feels like. The tension of the guitar riff pairs perfectly with the pause right before the kicker strikes the ball, representing (at least for me) that involuntary inhale as the ball hangs in the air at the start of a game. That song always makes me think of Sundays in the fall and that release of nervous energy just as another game gets underway.
Kris Burke: Bang The Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren
Obvious answer is obvious.
The moment those first chords hit you’re picturing a Lambeau Leap. Admit it.
It’s not the Packers’ fight song but it’s definitely an unofficial anthem.
Let’s hope Jordan Love and company have us hearing it plenty of times this season.
Peter Voight: Space Bound by Eminem
Do not bother looking this song up. It is a paper thin, offensive, melodramatic mess of a track seemingly intended for angst-filled suburban high school boys who have never spoken to a woman in their lives. Target audience reached, I suppose?
This song was played in our high school football locker room by one teammate after numerous morning workouts, as if it was a great way to cool down before class. The fact that I didn’t object to it certainly speaks to my taste as a 15 year old, and I’m ashamed to admit this still brings back great memories.