Counting Down the Hits
the top 10 tunes that get fans of Wisconsin (and Minnesota) pro teams pumped up
I love sports theme songs. Perhaps it has to do with being a musician, or maybe it’s I’m immersed in pop music at my day job. Each song is characteristic of its team, a signal to fans and foes alike of the core values of the organization. Or they’re just attempts to sound like everything else popular when they were written.
We need more music in pro sports. Not just Jock Jams or DJ sets, but songs that speak of the teams we like.
Given the variety of such songs in the Upper Midwest – many you know by heart – Athletic Aesthetic is going to rank the best. However, I won’t include high school and college fight songs. For one, good luck to any pro team’s tune competing with “On, Wisconsin!” Second, Eau Claire Memorial uses “On, Wisconsin!” for “On, Memorial!” (and North uses the University of Minnesota’s fight song), so we would get derivative real fast. And third, there is a lot more stylistic variety on the pro level: college fight song soundalikes, disco grooves, and popular rappers customizing other rapper’s songs.
What’s the best in Wisconsin (and a little of Minnesota)?
Let the countdown begin...
Honorable Mention. “All Aboard, Express!” (Eau Claire Express)
I had to include the song I wrote for the Express as a column subject in 2012. It may not have been heard since, but – Express folks – it’s still available for your 2020 promotional campaign!
10. “Let It Fly” (Milwaukee Bucks)
The newest entry in this list dates back to April, taking its name from Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s offensive philosophy of constant shot attempts.
9. “Go You Packers Go!” by The Wizenheimers
Recorded in 1996 on the way to a Super Bowl XXXI victory, the strongest shot of adrenaline from any entry, and a timely ’90s pastiche of Green Day and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
8. “Green and Growing” by The Green Music Machine
Our disco entry from 1977 was not entirely predictive of the Bucks’ future in the late ’70s, but it does make you want to wear a leisure suit to the MECCA.
7. “Turnin’ Up The Heat” by The Brewer Band
A 1985 number by Wauwatosa commercial jingle writer and die-hard Brewers fan Terry Sweet, it sticks in your head and gets you clapping along. That was good at the time, since the mid-’80s Brewers didn’t provide many clapping opportunities.
6. “Go! You Packers Go!”
Different from the entry at No. 9, this is the oldest NFL theme song by a current team (it was composed in 1931). While rarely heard today, it did inspire the oft-heard in-game motif at every Packers home game: “Go Pack Go!”
5. “Light It Up! Light It Up!” (Bucks)
If you were in the Bradley Center in 2000 and during the Bucks ride to the ’01 Eastern Conference Finals, this would have been ever-present. The accompanying hype video for the original edition is a solid Y2K-era stylistic time capsule.
4. “Skol, Vikings”
Here’s an NFL fight song still vibrant to this day, played after every Vikings home game score. It sounds classically college-esque, gets the fans involved, and even has a spelled-out chant.
3. “Brewer Fever”
From the tail end of 1979, this was the soundtrack of the Brewers’ early-’80s playoff runs. The lyrical instructions are exceptionally straightforward, but that helps you know exactly what you need to do to see what’s Brewin’.
2. “Green and Yellow” by Lil Wayne (Green Bay Packers)
Yes, Lil Wayne is a Packers fan. Once the Pack’s Super Bowl XLV matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was set, he re-recorded Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa’s “Black And Yellow” as a Packer anthem. It was a gutsy move to lay down a public marker without knowing how the game would go; thankfully, his team came through days later.
1. “We’re Gonna Win, Twins”
Like “Skol, Vikings,” this has been around since the beginning of the ’60s, and can also still be heard each game at Target Field; the biggest teams in the Twin Cities sure like melody. Longevity and catchiness help this song place first on our list.
We need more music in pro sports. Not just Jock Jams or DJ sets, but songs that speak of the teams we like. Songs like the earworms mentioned above – which you will be humming for days. After all, you’re part of the team sittin’ in the stands.