Top Sports Inspired Music

Sports are an important part of daily life. It’s a good form of exercise, it’s a great way to socialize, and it’s a key element of many cultures. This is why the most popular hobbies and most-watched TV programs in many countries are sport-related. On top of watching and playing in competitions, many of us also enjoy betting on major leagues and tournaments. The rise of online bookmakers has made it easier for fans to place wagers on games, especially with their often generous bonuses and promotions, making this another popular pastime. 

The competitive element of sport can also create some exciting stories that even the best Hollywood writers couldn’t conjure up. That’s why there are so many movies about successful and influential athletes like Ayrton Senna and Ernie Davis, and remarkable events such as those depicted in Friday Night Lights (2004) and Seabiscuit (2003). 

But it’s not just movies that sport inspires. Many musicians have also turned to athletic competition when they’ve written and composed some of their greatest tracks. Here are some of those sports-inspired songs. 

Kurtis Blow – Basketball

Kurtis Blow was the first commercially successful American rapper to sign a deal with a major record label. He began his career in 1979 and released his first album in 1980, while his debut single “The Breaks” became the first gold record rap track. 

In 1984, he released the track “Basketball”, a song about the popular indoor sport. It has unambiguous lyrics describing the various plays and moves common to the game.

It is very much a product of its time, with an electronic hip-hop vibe. Though a cover version by Bow Wow was released in 2002 with a more modern sound. 

Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

“Eye of the Tiger” was a smash hit when it was released in 1982. It was included in Rocky III when it hit cinemas that year, helping it to gain a lot of exposure very quickly. 

Sylvester Stallone approached Survivor personally to ask them to collaborate on creating a song for his movie’s soundtrack, insisting that they wrote a song that “had a pulse” to match the flying fists shown in the film. 

Eye of the Tiger wasn’t the band’s first attempt though. The first sample they sent to Stallone was a track titled “Ever Since The World Began”, but it was a rock ballad with a much slower tempo. But when they played Eye of the Tiger, Stallone snapped it up immediately and featured it unedited in the film.

DJ Visage – Formula ‘98 (Schumacher Song)

DJ Visage is a Danish musician who, through a chance meeting with a German music producer at the Italian Grand Prix in 1997, created “Formula” – a Formula 1 inspired dance track. It was an immediate hit in both Belgium and the Netherlands, climbing to first and third in their respective music charts. 

A year later, DJ Visage re-released the song with a new name “Formula ‘98 (Schumacher Song), which included some additional lyrics mentioning the German driver, Michael Schumacher. 

Both versions of the track feature a high-tempo beat and sampled noises of Formula 1 cars, creating a unique techno song. 

Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer – Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Around 100 years before most of these other songs, Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth came together to compose one of the most iconic songs about sport ever made. You’ll hear “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” played at many stadiums in the United States ahead of Major League Baseball games, with most of the fans singing along from the stands. 

It’s very simple, using only a piano and vocals, and is in a style that’s very reflective of its era. 

One of the most unusual things about the 1908 song is that its creators had never actually been to see a baseball game before they wrote it. Despite this, they’ve managed to capture the essence of the sport in such a way that it remains a fan favourite over a century later. 

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