Various Artists

Jock Rock, Vol. 1

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In 1994, Tommy Boy joined forces with ESPN for Vol. 1 of its Jock Rock series, which focused on rock, R&B, and funk favorites that had been used by teams at sporting events. One song segues into another, and the collection maintains a sportslike ambience with such devices as roaring crowds and organ riffs. For a song to work at a sporting event, it needs to be exuberant and have both a hook and an edge; on this CD, the gems that fit that criteria range from '60s soul (Junior Walker's "Shotgun," Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music," James Brown's "I Got You") and '60s rock (Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," Tommy James & the Shondells' "Mony Mony") to late-'70s punk (the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop") and '70s and '80s corporate rock (Queen's "We Will Rock You," Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business"). The inclusion of Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" was almost obligatory, for this classic has often been used as a way of telling the opposing team that it can kiss the possibility of a victory goodbye. You won't hear any lush ballads on this CD, and you won't hear anything that's angular or hard to absorb -- at sporting events, you need songs that pull listeners right in with infectious hooks. Another thing this collection doesn't have is any hip-hop, although it should be noted that the Philadelphia Phillies used Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)" as their anthem when they went to the World Series in 1993. While sports fans who appreciate rock and soul will definitely want this CD, one needn't be a sports fan to appreciate it. Even if you have little or no interest in sports, Jock Rock, Vol. 1 is rock and soul heaven.

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