The Super Bowl Shuffle

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"Super Bowl Shuffle"
The Chicago Bears team on the Super Bowl Shuffle cover
Single by Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew
Genre Rap
Length 6:58
Label Red Label Music Publishing[1]
Producer(s) Richard E. Meyer

"The Super Bowl Shuffle" is a rap song performed by players of the Chicago Bears football team in 1985. It was released 3 months prior to their win in Super Bowl XX, peaking at No. 41 in February, 1986 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2]

Song and video[edit]

The 1985 rap hit recorded by the players of the Chicago Bears known as the “Super Bowl Shuffle” instantly became a mainstream phenomenon. The single sold more than a half-million copies and reached No. 41 on the US Billboard Hot 100,[3] making the Chicago Bears the only American professional team of any sport with a hit single.

The Bears finished with a 15–1 record for the 1985 season. Randy Weigand, a die-hard Bears fan and music lover, had the idea to write, produce, and choreograph a rap song for the Chicago Bears. Weigand's girlfriend, cheerleader Courtney Larson, introduced them to Willie Gault who put them in touch with other Bears players and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” was born.[4] The lyrics related to each player and his craft on the field, and fame in the community.

“The Super Bowl Shuffle” fell in line with the Bears high-media attention as they completed their one-loss regular season. The Bears backed up their musical strutting by dominating their playoff opponents and hammering the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl by a score of 46–10, the most lopsided victory in Super Bowl history at the time (the record was broken just four years later when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos by a score of 55–10 in Super Bowl XXIV).

The 1985 Chicago Bears were the first sports team to have their own rap video. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1985 for best rhythm and blues performance by a duo or group, eventually losing to "Kiss".[3] The 20th Anniversary DVD was released in 2004, including the making of the video, outtakes, and the music video itself. Julia Meyer has kept the copyright to the video. Over $300,000 in profits from the song and music video was donated to the Chicago Community Trust to help needy families in Chicago with clothing, shelter, and food.[1] This was consistent with Walter Payton's rap lyrics in the song: "Now we're not doing this because we're greedy, the Bears are doing it to feed the needy." In 2014, six of the performers: Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Otis Wilson, Willie Gault, Mike Richardson and Steve Fuller, sued Julia Meyer and Renaissance Marketing Corporation, who licenses the song, stating the proceeds from the song should benefit charities; the six players' attorney stated, "Among other things, the plaintiffs seek that a constructive trust be established for charitable purposes that they select in order to continue the Super Bowl Shuffle’s charitable objective."[5]

Performers[edit]

Singers[edit]

Player Position #
Walter Payton Running back 34
Jim McMahon Quarterback 9
Mike Singletary Linebacker 50
Willie Gault Wide receiver 83
Steve Fuller Quarterback 4
Mike Richardson Cornerback 27
Richard Dent Defensive lineman 95
Gary Fencik Safety 45
Otis Wilson Linebacker 55
William Perry Defensive lineman 72

"Shufflin' Crew" Band[edit]

Player Position # Instrument
Maury Buford Punter 8 Cowbell
Mike Tomczak Quarterback 18 Guitar
Calvin Thomas Cornerback 33 Saxophone
Reggie Phillips Defensive back 48 Congas
Stefan Humphries Offensive lineman 75 Drums
Tyrone Keys Defensive lineman 98 Keyboard

"Shufflin' Crew" Chorus[edit]

Player Position #
Thomas Sanders Running back 20
Leslie Frazier Safety 21
Shaun Gayle Cornerback 23
Dennis Gentry Running back 29
Ken Taylor Defensive back 31
Jim Morrissey Linebacker 51
Dan Rains Linebacker 53
Keith Ortego Wide receiver 89

Lyrics written by Richard E. Meyer and Melvin Owens. Music composed by Bobby Daniels and Lloyd Barry.

The "Referee" in the video was portrayed by Julia Kallish.

Bears defensive end Dan Hampton declined involvement with the shuffle. He thought it may have been too arrogant.[6]

Precedents[edit]

The 1985 Bears were not the first pro football team with a group song. The 1984 San Francisco 49ers put out a record during that season, one in which they also went on to become Super Bowl champs. The song, "We Are the 49ers," was in the vein of post-disco/80's dance-pop music.[7] Later in the 1980s, the 49ers would put out another team song titled "49ers Rap." Neither of these songs, however, became a hit on the scale of the "Super Bowl Shuffle".

  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team (1869–1870), sang a song to the spectators prior to some of their games: "We are a band of baseball players / From Cincinnati city..." -But no recording was ever made or distributed by a record label.
  • Some English soccer teams celebrated qualifying for the FA Cup Final each year by recording a song for the occasion. The 'cup final record' as it was known, became as tradition with many of the songs being top ten successes in the UK music charts. The songs were occasionally original recordings but more often reworkings of recent chart successes with lyrics edited for the occasion. They often included the original artist singing along, especially when they are a fan of the team involved. The Liverpool Football Club's "Anfield Rap",[9] for the 1988 final, was broadcast on the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 program, which at the time always played the top three successes in the UK during the show. In the days that followed many US radio stations were bemused by requests for the soccer song from England, as it was most commonly known. By the mid-1990s the tradition had begun to end, though it remains common for some qualifying nations for the FIFA World Cup to still release songs to mark the occasion.

Imitators and influence[edit]

No professional sports team has released a song that was an American hit on the scale of "The Super Bowl Shuffle". The success of "The Super Bowl Shuffle" initiated the following imitations:

  • In 1985, the Kansas Wesleyan football team won a conference title in the NAIA. They made the "KCAC shuffle" and showed it on the local access channel for Salina, KS, Channel 6.
  • During the 1985–86 season, the Boston College Men's Ice Hockey team recorded the "Beanpot Trot" prior to their participation in the famed Beanpot Tournament. The Eagles placed second, losing 4–1 to rival school Boston University in the championship game on February 10, 1986.
  • On February 27, 1986, the Memphis Tigers Pom Squad performed the "Pom-Pom Shuffle" in their last home game of the season against New Orleans.
  • The eventual 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins released a video called "The Berenguer Boogie", gently teasing the relief pitcher they nicknamed "El Gasolino" for his victory celebration after striking out opposing batters.
  • Soon after the 1986-87 NHL season, the Calgary Flames recorded a music video for the original song "Red Hot" for charity, which featured Flames players pretending to play instruments and lip-syncing to the song.
  • Da Superfans, a Chicago Bears fangroup, performed a parody version in 2007 to celebrate the Bears' return to the Super Bowl.

NFL teams[edit]

  • During the 1985 season, the Seattle Seahawks released "The Blue Wave Is On A Roll", a jazz-themed song with various various vocal harmonies, a saxophone solo, as well as various blooper-style sound effects. However, the Seahawks would ultimately go 8–8 and miss the playoffs.[14]
  • In early 1986, before the Super Bowl as a response to the Bears, the New England Patriots recorded their own team song, "New England, The Patriots, And We",[14] whose lyrics recounted their success in the playoff brackets and predicted victory against the Bears in Super Bowl XX. Its music video featured appearances by several Patriots, Boston-area celebrities (including Robert Urich) and local media personalities, while the song itself received airplay on Boston radio stations. Despite the song's optimistic predictions, the Patriots lost to the Bears at Super Bowl XX, being defeated with a score of 46–10.
  • Also in 1988, the Philadelphia Eagles released a rap song called "Buddy's Watching You", referring to Eagles head coach and former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Eagles Hall of Famer Reggie White, an ordained minister, made a reference in the song to his faith with the line "I hit quarterbacks like they committed sin."[14] The Eagles would make the playoffs that year, but would ultimately lose in the Fog Bowl-ironically-to the Bears.[18]
  • During the 1994 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly were planning to create a similar song, likely with some help from backup quarterback Mike Tomczak, who was a member of the '85 Bears and participated in the original Super Bowl Shuffle. Reportedly, coach Bill Cowher vetoed the idea. The Steelers lost the 1994 AFC Championship game 17–13 to San Diego. That same season, local Pittsburgh artist Roger Wood created the "Here We Go" song, which has since become the Steelers unofficial fight song and is updated almost annually to account for roster turnover.[19][20]
  • Spoofing the Macarena, the Green Bay Packers created the "Packarena" in 1996, during their Super Bowl XXXI run.[14] The song was later recreated in 2008, replacing the players with the 2007 team. It was also played frequently during the team's back-to-back Super Bowl runs in 1996–97 on local radio station WMYX-FM "99.1 The Mix".

2010 reprise[edit]

Seven of the surviving 1985 Bears (Walter Payton had died over ten years earlier from liver cancer[25]) were reunited to film an updated version as a 30-second commercial promoting Boost Mobile, which was aired during Super Bowl XLIV.[26] The seven players featured were quarterback Jim McMahon, backup quarterback Steve Fuller, receiver Willie Gault, linebackers Mike Singletary and Otis Wilson, defensive lineman Richard Dent, and punter Maury Buford. All of the featured players wore #50 jerseys as part of the company's $50 deal.[3]

2014 celebrity cover version[edit]

On January 21, 2014, Misfire Records released a cover version[27] of the song featuring acclaimed musicians (Jim James of My Morning Jacket, John Roderick of The Long Winters, and Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav), comedians (Tom Scharpling of The Best Show on WFMU, Scott Aukerman of Comedy Bang! Bang!, David Wain of The State and Stella, Kyle Kinane, and Dave Hill), and other notables (wrestler Colt Cabana and internet cat celebrity Lil Bub). Organized by radio host Sean Cannon with production from musician Alexander Smith, all proceeds from sales were to be donated to Reading Is Fundamental.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Super Bowl Shuffle". Cmgww.com. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  2. ^ http://www.song-database.com/chhist.php?sid=20922&from=spu&type=ht
  3. ^ a b c Jon GreenbergColumnist, ESPNChicago.comFollowArchive (2010-01-15). "Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle" an enduring, endearing sports moment – ESPN Chicago". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  4. ^ The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales: How to Dominate Your Market – Bill Guertin – Google Books. Books.google.com. 2009-10-22. ISBN 9780470553923. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  5. ^ Smith, Michael David (2014-01-31). "Six ex-Bears file "Super Bowl Shuffle" lawsuit". Profootballtalk.com. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  6. ^ "ESPN.com: Page 3 – Remembering the Super Bowl Shuffle". Sports.espn.go.com. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions, "#9. 1984 San Francisco 49ers." Premiered on NFL Network, Jan. 30, 2007
  8. ^ "Make Those Miracles Happen". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. ^ "Anfield Rap – This Is Anfield Lyrics". Leoslyrics.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  10. ^ "Seminole Rap 20 years later: Was it the worst case of trash-talking in sports history? – Open Mike – Orlando Sentinel". Blogs.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  11. ^ Rick Telander (1988-09-12). "Miami's 31–0 defeat of Florida State, the preseason No. – 09.12.88 – SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Sharp, Andrew (2011-10-07). "Maurice Jones-Drew, Sidney Rice, And The 'Shiva Bowl Shuffle' On FX – From Our Editors". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Seifert, Andy (2010-02-05). ""Let's Ram It!" and 25 years of other immortal NFL songs". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  15. ^ "Best pop culture moments in Chicago Bears' history". NFL.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  16. ^ Brady, Jonann (2006-02-04). "Will the Ickey Shuffle Rise Again? – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  17. ^ "Super Bowl 46 at NFL.com – Official Site of the National Football League". Nfl.com. 1989-01-23. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  18. ^ "Fog Bowl: 'A supernatural experience' – NFL – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  19. ^ "Here We Go Steelers – Official Music Video". Steelers.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  20. ^ "'Here We Go' – Steelers catchy fight song is in need of changes – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Post-gazette.com. 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  21. ^ Michael Silver (2000-01-31). "Turning the Jaguar's rap lyric against them, the upstart – 01.31.00 – SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  22. ^ "NFL Game Center: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – 2005 Wild Card Weekend". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  23. ^ Anderson, Kyle (2010-01-22). "Prince Records 'Purple And Gold,' Fight Song For Minnesota Vikings – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  24. ^ "NFL Game Center: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints – 2009 Conference Championships". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  25. ^ "CNN/SI – NFL Football – Cancer claims NFL legend Walter Payton – Tuesday November 02, 1999 05:08 PM". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  26. ^ "MediaPost Publications Boost Mobile 'Shuffles' Into Its First Super Bowl 01/21/2010". Mediapost.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  27. ^ "The Super Bowl Shuffle from Misfire Records". Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  28. ^ "Listen: Jim James, Lil Bub, Tim Harrington, Comedians Cover "The Super Bowl Shuffle"". Retrieved 2014-01-21. 

External links[edit]