San Diego Super Chargers

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"San Diego Super Chargers"
Single by Captain Q.B. and the Big Boys
Released 1979
Format 7-inch, 45rpm single
Recorded 1979
Genre Disco
Songwriter(s) Jerry Marcellino and David Sieff
Producer(s) Jerry Marcellino

"San Diego Super Chargers" was the fight song of the San Diego Chargers (now known as the Los Angeles Chargers) of the National Football League (NFL). The disco song was written in 1979 during the Air Coryell era of the San Diego Chargers, and it was recorded by a session band dubbed "Captain Q.B. and the Big Boys." New Chargers owners replaced the song in 1989 with a non-disco cover version, but the original version was revived around 2002. The team itself was also sometimes referred to as the San Diego Super Chargers.


In the 1970s, the Chargers were owned by Gene Klein and ticket sales were lagging after losing seasons. In 1979, the team was playing a winning and exciting style under head coach Don Coryell, popularized by its high-scoring offense, nicknamed Air Coryell.[1][2] Klein started an aggressive marketing campaign that included the song. Klein's son, Michael, brought some friends from the recording industry to a few Chargers games, and he requested the creation of a song based on the Chargers' playing style. "We wanted something that would light up the crowd," said Michael Klein.[1]

The disco song was written in almost a day by David Sieff and Jerry Marcellino, a producer and songwriter for A&M Records who had worked with artists such as Bobby Darin, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.[1][3] Studio musicians in Los Angeles collaborated with the vocalist, Los Angeles R&B singer James Gaylen, to record the song.[1][3] Marcellino, who also produced the song, named the band Captain Q.B. and the Big Boys on a lark.[1][2] A 7-inch, 45 rpm single of the song was sold in San Diego, and Marcellino received a quarter for each one sold.[1][3]

Under new Chargers owner Alex Spanos, who acquired the team in 1984, the song was not played for a few seasons. It was brought back in 1989 with a more modern sound. The cover version was recorded by San Diego singer Leonard Tucker and produced by Bo Donovan.[1][4] However, the recording was lost when Qualcomm Stadium, the home of the Chargers, renovated its sound-system room in the late 1990s.[1]

Around 2002, the Chargers resumed playing the original version by Captain Q.B. and the Big Boys.[1] The song was played by the Chargers at home games after San Diego scores and victories.[1][5][6] The team became the Los Angeles Chargers after relocating in 2017.

General reaction[edit]

Bernie Wilson, Associated Press (AP) sports writer, wrote in his book, San Diego Chargers, that the song is "perhaps one of the catchiest fight songs of all-time".[2] The New York Times said the song "has a distinctly 1970’s roller disco vibe".[7] AP referred to the song as a "dated disco smash",[8] while The Standard-Times called it an "infamous piece of NFL kitsch".[9] Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune commented that the song "has tortured more eardrums than anything Simon Cowell or Paula Abdul ever judged" on American Idol.[10] The San Diego Union-Tribune calls the song "cool, catchy and camp" and "a local anthem" while noting that the 1989 remake was "ill-advised."[1][11]

The Union-Tribune noted that a generation of fans grew up hearing the song and associate it with the good times and winning during the Chargers' Air Coryell era.[1] Safety John Lynch, a San Diego native, sang the song to his Denver Broncos teammates before a 2004 game in his hometown against the Chargers. “When you've grown up with that, it's part of you,” he said.[1] After hearing "San Diego Super Chargers" during a 2005 game, Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards, another San Diego native, had a flashback to his childhood and attending a Chargers game, watching Dan Fouts throwing to Charlie Joiner.[12]

Although the song was blaring during the 1980 AFC Championship Game, Oakland Raiders receiver Bob Chandler said that "a lot of our guys liked it. I kept tapping my feet to it." The Raiders won the game 34–27.[13] In 1996, Neil Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs said that while he despised the cannon that the Chargers fired after each of their scores, he especially hated their fight song.[14] Prior to the 2007 AFC Championship Game against the Chargers, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, "I hate that song." He first heard it when he was an assistant coach with the New York Giants in 1980, when the Chargers won 44–7 while Fouts threw for 444 yards. Belichick called the game a "track meet" and recalled Chargers players such as Chuck Muncie, Kellen Winslow, and John Jefferson. "They didn’t get through playing that song before they had scored again and they started playing it again. It was ‘San Diego Super Chargers,’ that’s still ringing in my head." [7][9]

Other uses[edit]

Chargers fans played the song in preparation for upcoming games,[15][16][17] and some fans even played "San Diego Super Chargers" at their weddings.[18][19][20]

The song was known outside of San Diego as well.[3] ESPN football anchors Chris Berman and Tom Jackson sometimes sung "San Diego Super Chargers" when announcing Chargers highlights.[1]

Various news sources including ESPN, The Los Angeles Times and the New England Sports Network have referred to the Chargers team itself as the "San Diego Super Chargers"[21][22][23][24][25] Chargers offensive guard Doug Wilkerson, who played under Coryell, said, "We were the ‘San Diego Super Chargers.’ That song was fast and electric, and so were we."[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Stetz, Michael (January 13, 2007). "Still a superstar after 27 seasons". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Or a little song written back in 1979.
  2. ^ a b c Wilson, Bernie (2010). San Diego Chargers. ABDO. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-61714-026-6. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Perhaps one of the catchiest fight songs of all-time originated during the Air Coryell years.
  3. ^ a b c d Stampone, David (November 25, 2008). "Not the Same Ol' Song". San Diego Reader. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Recorded at a Los Angeles studio in 1979, the song was reportedly written in a day by David Sieff and Jerry Marcellino — the latter a recording-industry vet producer/arranger/songwriter who picked up 17 gold albums, six gold singles, and three platinum albums.
  4. ^ "Bands and Performers: Leonard Tucker". San Diego Reader. May 7, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2011. They played mine for years, and then more recently, with the Chargers having such a phenomenal season, they went back to the original, more disco version.
  5. ^ Posnanski, Joe (November 9, 2008). "Sunday Tidbits". Time Inc. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Another thing they do in San Diego is play the “San Diego Super Chargers” song after every score.
  6. ^ Duffy, Mike (November 26, 2007). "Ravens Fall in San Diego". Baltimore Ravens. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Even though they heard the funky fight song, "San Deigo [sic] Super Chargers," played after each of San Diego's seven scores, the Ravens were singing "I Will Survive" in the post-game locker room.
  7. ^ a b Battista, Judy (January 17, 2008). "Laughs and Lyrics With Belichick". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2011. In any event, it was a question about the San Diego Chargers song, called — creatively — “San Diego Super Chargers,” which has a distinctly 1970’s roller disco vibe, that set Belichick off.
  8. ^ "LT dancing toward showdown with Jets". Associated Press. January 12, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2011. If the Chargers need an updated theme song on the road to Miami to replace their dated disco smash, "San Diego Super Chargers," this might be it.
  9. ^ a b Brown, David (January 18, 2008). "PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK: Wideouts well versed in late-season disappointment". The Standard-Times. Retrieved September 9, 2011. Well, whoever produced the infamous piece of NFL kitsch won't have to save tickets for Bill Belichick if they ever get a chance to perform it live.
  10. ^ Downey, Mike (January 20, 2008). "Get set for a shock: Chargers will win". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 9, 2011. I know I'm not the only one who can't stand this team's theme song, "San Diego Super Chargers," which has tortured more eardrums than anything Simon Cowell or Paula Abdul ever judged.
  11. ^ Peterson, Karla (September 18, 2010). "From KGB to Kobey's: Oldies that do not get old". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 9, 2011. There was a brief Alex Spanos-era retirement and an ill-advised 1989 remake, but the 31-year-old Chargers anthem keeps rolling like a nuclear-powered disco ball.
  12. ^ "San Diego relishing return to postseason". NBC Universal. Associated Press. January 7, 2005. Retrieved September 9, 2011. "For a split moment, I took myself out of reality. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is me 20 years ago sitting in the stands watching Dan Fouts throwing the ball to Charlie Joiner,'" said Edwards, who grew up in a working-class suburb of San Diego.
  13. ^ Zimmerman, Paul (January 19, 1981). "AFC Championship/Back To The Basics". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015.
  14. ^ Wilson, Bernie (September 29, 1996). "Chiefs, Chargers play for AFC West lead today". The Salina Journal. Associated Press. p. D-1. Retrieved September 9, access publication – free to read
  15. ^ Bell, Diane (January 10, 2009). "Dying Chargers fan, 80, gets visit from a player". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2011. Plus, when students changed classes, it was to the music of the “San Diego Super Chargers” theme song . .
  16. ^ Soto, Onell R. (January 6, 2008). "San Diego superstition". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2011. Many will have danced to “San Diego Super Chargers,” the 1979 disco tune that serves as the team's fight song, or raised a toast they're sure will guarantee a playoff victory against the Tennessee Titans.
  17. ^ Mydans, Seth (January 17, 1995). "San Diego Journal; An 'Underdog Town' Welcomes Home Its Underdog Chargers". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2011. In retribution, radio station KSDO, which carries Mr. Limbaugh's program, took him off the air for 30 seconds, during which time it played the Chargers' fight song.
  18. ^ Zepeda, Rob (January 12, 2007). "Brand New Chargers Anthem - More Rockin', Less Disco". AOL News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. It's a favorite of millions world-wide and I know half a dozen people personally who have played that song at their wedding.
  19. ^ Stetz, Michael (September 28, 2008). "Michael Stetz: Are you ready for some . . . nuptials?". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2011. After the ceremony, the “San Diego Super Chargers” song will be played over the stadium loudspeaker.
  20. ^ Reino, Nicole (July 29, 2007). "They now wear their name tags on their hearts: 'my love'". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2011. Since Neremiah is a Chargers fan, the couple made their grand entrance to the “San Diego Super Chargers” theme.
  21. ^ Tafoya, Michele (October 26, 2006). "Intriguing matchup in Minnesota". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved September 10, 2011. Everyone seems caught up in the undefeated Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, the San Diego Super Chargers and the feel-good story of the New Orleans Saints.(subscription required)
  22. ^ Penner, Mike (January 30, 1995). "SUPER BOWL XXIX / SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 49, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 26 : Warhol Had It Wrong, These Guys Weren't Given Their Due : Chargers: Fame is more fleeting than San Diego would have liked. Defense bolted when hit by 49ers' lightning strikes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2011. About those San Diego Super Chargers and their 15 minutes of fame:
  23. ^ Hurley, Michael (September 18, 2009). "Cardinals, Ravens, Giants Are Strong Underdogs in Week 2 - NFL". New England Sports Network. Retrieved September 10, 2011. After Oakland’s performance against the San Diego Super Chargers in front of a national audience, picking the Silver and Black will be a popular choice this week.
  24. ^ Gouveia, Bill (January 18, 2007). "AN INSIDE LOOK: On the road with the Pats". Norton Mirror. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2011. Or – and please forgive me here, Football Gods – my beloved hometown team would be unable to get by those San Diego Super-Chargers.
  25. ^ Freud, Chris (January 5, 2005). "Owner, fire thyself". Vail Daily. Retrieved September 10, 2011. Great season for the San Diego Super Chargers. But, Marty Schottenheimer turns into a pumpkin when it comes to the playoffs.
  26. ^ "Doug Wilkerson, Breitbard Hall-of-Fame inductee". San Diego Hall of Champions. January 1, 2011. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2011. We were the ‘San Diego Super Chargers.’ That song was fast and electric, and so were we.

External links[edit]