By: Albert Cameron – Warm up your iPods, fight fans! This week’s Friday Five will have your toes tapping and your fists flying. We’re counting down five of the best tracks ever written by pugilists, prize fighters, gladiators, contenders, or whatever you want to call human beings that fight other human beings for sport!
- “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “The Fresh Prince” Will Smith is arguably the pound-for-pound king of 1990’s hip hop; at least the hip hop that I was allowed to listen to in the 1990’s. The song is a campy tale about how DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were sitting around, watching old Mike Tyson tapes and gets the bright idea that Tyson’s offense was suspect and that he could take the baddest man on the planet. Tyson himself even makes a cameo in the video, putting an equally campy hurting on Will Smith.
- “Boom Boom Mancini” – Warren Zevon – At the time, Warren Zevon’s style wasn’t immediately identifiable as classic rock, because he was still defining the style. Boom Boom Mancini is an instantly catchy biography of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. The song’s verses run down Mancini’s bouts, including the death of Duk Koo Kim (a bout which persuaded boxing sanctioning bodies to shorten their title fights to twelve rounds); the chorus is an urging for the narrator to get home because Mancini’s bout with Bobby Chacon is about to begin.
- “The Ultimate” – Jarrid Mendelson – This song wasn’t composed for one prize fighter in particular, but instead an entire generation of fighters. The UFC commissioned the original track of “The Ultimate” to anchor their events, a high energy song to get crowds moving and was actually the predecessor to “Face the Pain” by Stemm as the UFC event music. A remix of “The Ultimate” was actually used as the theme song for “the Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV and became recognizable for the fans of the infant stages of the competition.
- “The Hurricane” – Bob Dylan – I remember seeing the trailer for 1999’s “The Hurricane” starring Denzel Washington and thinking that it looked like a fantastic movie. I will hide behind claims of a potent ignorance of boxing, but I wasn’t immediately familiar with Rubin Carter nor did I see the movie. Fast forward about ten years and I’m in my car listening to a CD of Bob Dylan’s greatest hits; the lyrics immediately punched me in the face that I recognized the story. Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter was wrongfully blamed for two murders; Dylan, being an activist, wrote the folk hit as a protest for Carter’s imprisonment. The song is one of Dylan’s longer ones, but paints a fantastic portrait of how Carter’s investigation and trial were mishandled by local authorities.
- “Warriors Call” – Volbeat – Before Cody “Lenny” Karlheim came to the cage to this track by Danish crooners/metallers Volbeat, they had written the track for their fellow countryman: Mikkel “The Viking Warrior” Kessler. Kessler, a boxer, is something of a beast; amassing a pro boxing record of 46-3-0, thirty five of those wins by way of knockout. Kessler regularly used the Volbeat track as his entrance music until his informal retirement in 2013.
There you have it, this week’s Friday Five. Being that it is the holiday season, I’m hoping iTunes gives a kickback on those tracks that you’re surely out buying right now …because everyone still buys their music, right?
Until next week!