Musical Inspiration

I think I can deal with hearing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” another 20 times or so between now and the official start of summer. Musical tastes and preferences are a very personal thing, and I’m not much of a Journey fan. But the theme song has come to signify a Caps win and I’ve never minded those at all.

Rookie Caps center Nicklas Backstrom has made many contributions on the ice this season, and one of his off-ice feats was to introduce the song into the heavy rotation of the Caps’ postgame winning locker room mix a month or more ago. It comes right after Kanye West’s “Good Life” and is followed by more Journey stuff, but only on nights when the Caps are triumphant. As John Lennon might say, “Whatever Gets You Through the Night.”

I’m not positive, but I believe you can trace the history of sports teams adopting theme songs back to the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals. Those Cards had some common ground with our ’07-08 Caps. Not much was expected of either team, and the ’42 Cards were 10 games behind the Dodgers for the N.L. pennant on Aug. 15. St. Louis won 43 of its last 51 games to take the pennant and then took out the Yankees in five games in the World Series.

Cards trainer Doc Weaver began playing Spike Jones and The City Slickers’ “Pass the Biscuits Mirandy” in the dugout and it wasn’t long before the players were attributing their success on the field to the song. Later vintage Cardinal teams also dusted off the tune with great success. Both the 1946 and 1964 world champion Cardinals teams played “Pass the Biscuits Mirandy” incessantly.

The Caps aren’t the first team to adopt Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,'” either. The 2005 Chicago White Sox wore it out on their way to a World Series title that year, their first since 1917. The Sox went as far as bringing Journey lead singer Steve Perry into the clubhouse at times during the postseason, and to the team’s victory parade after they won it all.


Two springs ago when the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup championship, we media types were treated to the strains of O.A.R.’s “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” which was pretty cool.

I’m sure there are plenty more examples, especially in recent pro sports history. But those are the ones with which I am most familiar.

As I mentioned yesterday on the podcast, I’m a big fan of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” as a sort of theme song of this year’s model of the Caps, but like I said before, musical preferences are a very personal thing and everyone’s mileage will vary. Nevertheless, I’ve had a “Caps Win” mix on my i-Pod for most of the season, one that I enjoy playing on my long ride home from games at Verizon Center or on the plane ride after road games.

Here’s what’s on it:
Curtis Mayfield — “Move on Up”
The Yayhoos — “Never Give An Inch”
Jason and the Scorchers — “Victory Road”
Perfect — “Better Days”
Replacements — “Bastards of Young”
Radio Nationals — “Golden”
The Fleshtones — “Right Side of A Good Thing”
Doves — “Catch The Sun”
Staples Singers — “I’ll Take You There”
Grand Champeen — “Cottonmouth”
The Fleshtones — “Hitsburg USA”
The Clash — “I’m Not Down”
Nathaniel Mayer — “You Gotta Work”
Jon Dee Graham — “One Moment”
Steve Earle — “All of My Life”
Sonny Landreth — “Shootin’ For the Moon”
The Stranglers — “Get A Grip On Yourself”
Dinosaur Jr. — “The Wagon”
Mason Rufner — “Gypsy Blood”
Billy Joe Shaver — “If I Gave My Soul”
Sonic Youth — “Kool Thing”
The Suburbs — “Rattle My Bones”
Eric Lindell — “Sunny Daze”
Drive-By Truckers — “Where the Devil Don’t Stay”
Wipers — “Over The Edge”
Urge Overkill — “Sister Havana”
Tommy Stinson — “Motivation”
Cracker — “Let’s Go For a Ride”
Marah — “Float Away”
The Gourds — “Grievin’ And Smokin'”
Howlin’ Wolf — “Wang Dang Doodle”
Magic Slim and the Teardrops — “Get Your Business Straight”
Steve Wynn — “There Will Come a Time”
Danny and Dusty — “Raise the Roof”
George Baker Selection — “Little Green Bag”
Eels — “Goddamn Right It’s A Beautiful Day”
Replacements — “Can’t Hardly Wait”
Sunnyland Slim — “House Rock”
Maktub — “You Can’t Hide”
Booker T and the MGs — “Green Onions”

I added that last one after last Friday’s win in Atlanta.

Dig in and dig.

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19 Comments on “Musical Inspiration”

  1. bil Says:

    Dusty and Danny? Cracker? The Placemats?

    Dude. You’re old.

    ‘Course–so am I.

    Where’s the Steely Dan?

  2. Daniel San Says:

    I recommend Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best” from the Karate Kid soundtrack. Perhaps Bruce can play this clip from the movie as inspiration:

  3. Brian Says:

    I have to go with “Crush ‘Em” by Megadeth

    “Heads I win, tails you lose,
    Outta my way, I’m comin’ through
    Hold on tight, you’re in for a ride.
    We’ll crush (crush!), crush ’em (crush ’em!)”

  4. Scott Says:

    Drive-By Truckers, Sonic Youth, Yayhoos, BJ Shaver = quality choices.

  5. Todd Says:

    How about Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters? Gotta love the tie between the lyrics of becoming a man and this young team doing work.

    Everything…everything’s gonna be all right this morning…

    When I was a young boy,
    At the age of five.
    My mama told me,
    I’d be the greatest man alive…

    Keep up the good work, Mike!

  6. Tom in FL Says:

    As to last night’s game, my daughter and I had a very nice time of course. Only live game of the year. Was Kozzie hurt? The fans were all laughing when Poti was pushing him off the ice. Looked like he was in pain, and I was saying, “Oh no, Kozzie’s the one who would win it in the shootout!” Good thing for Green and Flash and they didn’t need the shootout.

    Flyers and Devils are on Center Ice now. Let’s go Devils! Be nice of course if we can pass the Filthydelphia Flyers. I was at a party once with these people from Toronto and we were talking hockey of course and I mentioned how the Flyers fans were the worst I’d even encountered, any sport. So this one guy there at the party just happens to be from Filthydelphia and he comes up to me and says, “Yo. You got a problem with Philly fans?” I guess I’m trying to say he made my point.

    I could go to Sunrise tomorrow, it’s only like 3 1/2 hrs, but we have other plans. Next year the daughter says we need to do the Tampa-Florida road trip, which starting from Orlando would be great if they played in Florida the first night and then Tampa the next. It would only take one night in the hotel since I can drive back from Tampa in 1 1/2 hrs. And if the wife comes along also I can share the driving. The daughter is 22 but only drives an automatic. She’s a fine fan. I started taking them to games and practices when she was about six and also introduced them to street hockey. Reminded me of my own dad taking me to the Olympia to see Gordie Howe practice back in the mid-60s.

    I don’t have anything to add from a musical standpoint except that I absolutely detest Queen but I’ll gladly listen to “We Are The Champions” when Clarkie raises the Cup.

  7. Joshua Says:

    Hey Tom in FL! You got the right Idea man! I live in Blue Jackets territory myself but have been a die hard caps fan for 18 years. I moved from DC to Ohio just after that heart breaking game 2 loss to Detroit at the Cup finals in 98. I’ve been waiting and craving real Caps success ever since and I’m thrilled that they’ve got a chance this year. As soon as the regular season ends they’ll have a great start even if they are playing against the #1 seed cuz they’re so hot coming out of the regular season. I am 22 years old myself and I went to my first Caps game at 6 as well. My early years of watching the Caps during some of their best years with all those greats like Langway, Ciccarelli, Kristich, Hunter, Bondra and all the rest were great. But I would be willing to bet that those years won’t top what Alex the gr8 will be able to pull of in the next few years!

  8. Betsy Says:


    Anyone that would have the b*lls to include TWO Fleshtones’ tunes must be an inspired genius.

    I’ll personally mix up a righteous garbage can of Blue Whales in the locker room if Uncle Bruce takes the boys to the promised land, plus try to bamboozle the band to serve ’em.


  9. mrmoa Says:

    God bless the Fleshtones

  10. Dan, Jr. Says:

    A couple good ones in your list there, Mike. “Move On Up” and “I’m Not Down” especially.

    Tom in Fl – I’m a huge fan of Queen, but no “We Are The Champions” please! That’s been done to death, for sure. I think “A Kind Of Magic” or “I Want It All” would be much better and fresher Queen choices. However, they wouldn’t be up for consideration with the youngsters.

    I haven’t given it that much thought. But, one song I keep thinking of is Ozzy Osborne’s “I Don’t Wanna Stop”.

    All my life I’ve been over the top
    I don’t know what I’m doing,
    All I know is I don’t wanna stop
    All fired up, I’m gonna go till I drop
    You’re either in or in the way, don’t make me,
    I don’t wanna stop

    There is a line that includes the words “mental masturbation” which I’m sure makes it a non-starter, though.

  11. Scott Says:

    man, the Fleshtones really date y’all, but they did rock out in a great, but dinosaur-ish fashion at IOTA a few Saturdays ago. Cheers.

  12. pucksandbooks Says:

    I’m a ‘Mats man myself — though at least weeks younger than Vogs. A real gem of theirs seems particularly appropriate for a post-game victory tour on IPod, given the infusion of high-end talent on the Caps’ roster this season: ‘Talent Show.’

    Others, perhaps: ‘The Boys Are Back in Town,’ Thin Lizzy; ‘Dream All Day,’ The Posies; ‘Feel It Again,’ Honeymoon Suite (gratuitous ’80s schlock, but they’re Canadian); “Find Your Way Back,’ Jefferson Starship;’For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),’ AC/DC; ‘Let the Day Begin,” The Call; ‘My Wave,’ Soundgarden; ‘On the Loose,’ Saga (invoking Canadian exemption again); and nothing by Coldplay

  13. Tom in FL Says:

    Sorry to stray from the musical theme, but Rangers and Penguins are on the 58″ HD TV right now. If the Rangers lose, they have 91 pts with three left and become equal with Filthydelphia in terms of “catchability.” Wouldn’t you know, as soon as we turn on and (gag) start rooting for the Pens, Jagr (double gaga) sets up a goal. I’m telling my daughter, “You know, the Rangers rerally aren’t that good, except for…the goalie.”

    Which brings us to, what does GMGM do about the roster?

    1) Huet is worth keeping. Will 3 yrs, $15M do the trick? That would be my offer, although maybe it’s a wee bit light.
    2) Can we then keep Olie as back-up at, say, $2M? Will any team offer him a starting job? (Me: I don’t think so.) So maybe we pay $7M for two goalies. Not bad.
    2A) Johnson then becomes tradeable. See below.
    3) I’d keep Federov. Article in the Post says he’ll talk it over with his family (No wife though. Makes those conversation easier. ), agent and several of his new teammates. Interesting that he’d include the new teammates.


    Back to Federov – He sounds totally reinvigorated with Boudreau’s style. As does Kozzie. I think he really likes the situation and would come back at one year, $3M plus incentives.

    4) Speaking of Kozzie, he’s due $2.5M next year. I predict a really big year with a full year of Boudreau and Ovie. Better try abd tack on an extra year for 09-10 right now, while the pricetage is cheaper. Offer him somewhere in the $3M range for that extra year.

    5) Cooke. Nice addition, but he’s not worth the $1.5M he was making.

    6) Semin. He’s being paid a bundle. Hopefully he’ll listen to Federov and quit handing the puck over and quit making those #@$& stick fouls!

    7) If you do all of the above, Johnson and Gordo can be packaged for some other useful part. Gordo becomes potential spare change with Backstrom, Nylander, Federov and Steckel as your centers, with Laich in reserve.

    8) Flash. He needs some consistency. Maybe next year is the year.

    9) Green. Someone will offer him a pretty big RFA contract, as much as 5 yrs/$25M. I doubt that much, but he’s a unique athlete. Better beat them to the punch and offer 5 yrs/$20M.

    For those of you in the tundra north, here is my Florida weekend:

    Thursday night. Drive 200 miles R/T to Tampa for Caps win. Friday – vacation day, go to the beach. Low 80s and the Atlantic is swimmable. Saturday – go to beach again. More of a good thing. Sat night – watch caps win. More of another good thing. Sunday morning. Yard work (yuk). Get it done before it gets too hot, still pretty warm. Lunch – streamed shrimp and black bean soup with black-n-tan (Guiness Stout and Molson Canadian Lager). Life is tough. Lunch is over. Another Molson to be beheaded. HD hockey on the big TV. Let’s go Pens (gag). Then at 6:00 it’s Boston-Sabres on Center Ice. You go, Buffalo! (BTW, what kind of people would name a city after an animal? Cat, Missouri? Dog, Alabama? Snake, Georgia? Elephant, Indiana?).

    Finally, it really seems from reading comments and everything that Boudreau is just a super coach. He’s also a real person and a true fan of hockey. This couldn’t be happening to a better, more deserving person, is the way it comes across. If Federov comes back, Boudreau will be a big part of that.

    PENS SCORE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MALKIN!!!!!!! I can’t like him because Ovechkin seems to hate him but go Gino!!! How ’bout a hat trick!!!!!!!!

    One final thing: I made up a joke last night to my daughter. I thought it was funny. Here goes:

    What do you call an Alexander Semin hat trick?

    Give up?

    A goal, a giveaway and a stick foul in the same game. If Federov can help stop that, he’ll be worth every penny they give him.

  14. dumpnchase Says:

    I’d bet that almost the entire body of work of the ‘Mats, Cracker and Danny and Dusty came after the release of that Journey song, which is almost certainly older than Backstrom is.

    That aside, yeah, I’m old. But the alternative is being dead, so I’ll take it. Steely Dan? Never got it, Not for me.

    Good call. Adding the Mississippi Muddy.

    You’re on. The challenge when it comes to the Fleshtones is limiting it to just two songs. Super Rock lends itself to feeling good.

    The Fleshtones still got it. Saw them here in Baltimore the night before that IOTA gig and they were tremendous. Saw them for the first time in Chicago at a long-defunct place called Broadway Jack’s back in ’81 or ’82, and have seen them countless times all over the continent since.

    “Talent Show” is worthy as are several other Mats/Westerberg entries. Again, tough to keep it to two.

  15. Mike L Says:

    Now that’s a great set, lots of variety and lots of really great music. I thought I was the only person in the Mid-Atlantic who owned a Stranglers CD…

    Anyway, you need to check out Blue Man Group when you get a chance. Their CDs (esp. their second one, “The Complex” ) is a great listen, and has some terrific guest vocalists: Dave Matthews, Tracy Bonham, Gavin Rossdale, and there’s a terrific collaboration with BMG and Venus Hum (who are probably the best act in the “New Nashville” music scene).

  16. DS Says:

    You need some Widespread Panic on that playlist!!!!

  17. […] games, and I always listen to music on the i-Pod during the ride. After Caps wins, I listen to the “Caps win” mix. After losses, I pick out something that feels […]

  18. […] June 22, 2008 Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized. trackback Saw an older post from Mike Vogel and had to add my own thoughts to it.  The list ended up being so long I would have ended up […]

  19. […] shared with us not long ago a very personal collection of tunes inspired by the Caps’ impressive season turn-around. And so, as a big fan of Canadian […]

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