The Super Bowl Shuffle
|"Super Bowl Shuffle"|
|Single by Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew|
|Label||Red Label Music Publishing|
|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.
Song and video
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, 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. 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". 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. 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."
|Walter Payton||Running back||34|
|Willie Gault||Wide receiver||83|
|Richard Dent||Defensive lineman||95|
|William Perry||Defensive lineman||72|
"Shufflin' Crew" Band
|Reggie Phillips||Defensive back||48||Congas|
|Stefan Humphries||Offensive lineman||75||Drums|
|Tyrone Keys||Defensive lineman||98||Keyboard|
"Shufflin' Crew" Chorus
|Thomas Sanders||Running back||20|
|Dennis Gentry||Running back||29|
|Ken Taylor||Defensive back||31|
|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.
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. 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 1977 Denver Broncos running back, Jon Keyworth sang "Make Those Miracles Happen" by L. Meeks and M. Weyand. However, the Broncos did not win the 1978 Super Bowl.
- 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", 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
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.
- Prior to the 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season, the preseason No. 1 Florida State Seminoles made a video known as the Seminole Rap, promising the school's first national championship would result from the season. They lost their first game to the rival Miami Hurricanes (the defending National Champions) 31–0. The Noles would finish the season 11–1 and ranked No. 3 in the nation, behind No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Miami.
- Verne Gagne and his American Wrestling Association promoted a major event with a humorously bad song known as "The WrestleRock Rumble" that actually featured the geriatric Gagne rapping. Also for professional wrestling, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling had a Super Bowl Shuffle-like song as part of its weekly program. Each wrestler's recorded part preceded the match that she was involved in. Even the referees were part of the tune.
- Da Superfans, a Chicago Bears fangroup, performed a parody version in 2007 to celebrate the Bears' return to the Super Bowl.
- Some of the cast of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Will Arnett and Horatio Sanz dressed as players of the Pro Bowl made a parody video called "The Pro Bowl Shuffle" about the Pro Bowl.
- On the 3rd Season premiere of the FX Television show The League one of the main characters did a parody of this with Maurice Jones-Drew, Brent Grimes and Sidney Rice entitled "The Shiva Bowl Shuffle" as a reference to their fantasy league's Super Bowl.
- During the 1985 season, the Seattle Seahawks released "The Blue Wave Is On A Roll", a jazz-themed song with 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.
- 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", 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.
- During the 1986 season, two teams tried to repeat the pattern. The Los Angeles Raiders released "The Silver and Black Attack", based on "The Yellow and Black Attack" by Stryper, but the Raiders finished 8–8 that season and were out of the playoffs. The Los Angeles Rams recorded "Let's Ram It"; however, the Rams lost the NFC Wild Card game to the Washington Redskins.
- After winning Super Bowl XXI the New York Giants released "Walk Like A Giant", based on "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles.
- In 1988, Cincinnati Bengals rookie Ickey Woods became famous for the "Ickey Shuffle". His team lost in Super Bowl XXIII, though.
- 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." The Eagles would make the playoffs that year, but would ultimately lose in the Fog Bowl-ironically-to the Bears.
- In 1990, the Miami Dolphins created a song spoofing the MC Hammer song "U Can't Touch This called "U Can't Touch Us". Miami would go 12–4 and be eliminated in the divisional playoffs.
- 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.
- Spoofing the Macarena, the Green Bay Packers created the "Packarena" in 1996, during their Super Bowl XXXI run. 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".
- In November 1999, the confident Jacksonville Jaguars recorded their own version, "Uh Oh, The Jaguars Super Bowl Song". However, the Jaguars lost 33–14 to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game.
- Cincinnati funk music pioneer Bootsy Collins teamed with the 2005 Cincinnati Bengals for a playoff song known as "Fear Da Tiger", but they, too, failed to qualify for the Super Bowl, with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers going on to win Super Bowl XL and defeating the Bengals in the playoffs along the way.
- In 2010, Prince created a song for the Minnesota Vikings called "Purple and Gold" as the fight song for the team after the team's victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Minnesota would eventually lose to the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
Seven of the surviving 1985 Bears (Walter Payton had died over ten years earlier from liver cancer) were reunited to film an updated version as a 30-second commercial promoting Boost Mobile, which was aired during Super Bowl XLIV. 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.
2014 celebrity cover version
On January 21, 2014, Misfire Records released a cover version 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.
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