Who Dat? Big Bad Earl! – The Music of Football Part 2
The best football game I ever attended was in 1978, in the Houston Astrodome. The Oilers were playing the Dolphins, and although Miami had hotshot quarterback Bob Griese Houston had its own secret weapon: a rookie named Earl Campbell. You know the rest – Campbell romped for 199 yards and the game-winning 81-yard touchdown run, and people still call it one of the best Monday Night Football games ever.
Campbell created a sort of Oiler fever in Houston, and a number of people created songs about the player once called the “Tyler Rose.” Even Joe Tex unleashed a song called “Do The Earl Campbell.” Now that wasn’t new: NFL teams had their own fight songs for many years. In 1960, the league put out an album, Marching Songs, with tunes representing each of the 13 teams in the NFL at that time. Some of the older teams still use those older fight songs, many have enlisted local artists (in some cases, big-name artists) to update the sound of their fight songs.
I still wince when I hear the old 1970s Houston Oilers fight song, called “Luv Ya Blue” or “Houston Oilers No. 1.” It is one of those ear-worms that will get into your head for days or weeks, and won’t leave. Written by Lee Ofman, it has the same tune as a fight song Ofman wrote for the Miami Dolphins a few years earlier. I like some of those songs for the New Orleans Saints, including “Who Dat?” and the highly rhythmic “Let’s Get Fired Up” by Zig and Gaboon’s Gang. Zig is none other than Zigaboo Modeliste, drummer for the mighty funky Meters, and he cut this little tune in 1980 or so under the auspices of the Popeye’s Fried Chicken chain.
So here you go: football songs!