- The Super Bowl Shuffle
"Super Bowl Shuffle" Single by Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew Genre Hip hop Producer Richard E. Meyer
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 would have a 15-1 record for their 1985-1986 season. Richard Meyer, a die-hard Bears fan and music lover, had the idea to write, produce, and choreograph a rap song for the Chicago Bears. A friend of Meyer’s introduced him to Willie Gault who put him in touch with other Bears players and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” was born. The lyrics related to each player and their craft on the field, and fame in the community. According to his widow Julia Meyer, “they were embarrassed at first, but now they are famous. It made those guys famous”.
“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 with a score 46-10.
The 1985 Chicago Bears were the first sports team to have their own rap video. The song was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1985. 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 close to heart, having any posted videos of the shuffle on sites, such as YouTube, removed.
Over $300,000 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 lyric in the song "now we're not doing this because we're greedy, the Bears are doing it to feed the needy".
- #83 - Willie Gault
- #4 - Steve Fuller
- #27 - Mike Richardson
- #95 - Richard Dent
- #45 - Gary Fencik
- #55 - Otis Wilson
- #72 - William "Refrigerator" Perry
There was also a "Shufflin' Crew" Band and Chorus in the music video. The "Shufflin' Crew" Band consisted of the following members:
- #8 - Maury Buford - Cowbell
- #18 - Mike Tomczak - Guitar
- #33 - Calvin Thomas - Saxophone
- #75 - Stefan Humphries - Drums
- #98 - Tyrone Keys - Keyboards
The "Shufflin' Crew" Chorus consisted of the following members:
- #20 - Thomas Sanders
- #21 - Leslie Frazier
- #23 - Shaun Gayle
- #29 - Dennis Gentry - Bass (not included as part of the "band" in the credits)
- #31 - Ken Taylor
- #48 - Reggie Phillips
- #51 - Jim Morrissey
- #53 - Dan Rains
- #89 - Keith Ortego
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 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 broadcasted on the Rick Dees US weekly top forty program, which at the time always played the top three successes in the UK during the show. During 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 Chicago Bears' "The Super Bowl Shuffle" initiated the following imitations:
- During 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 early 1986, as a response to the Chicago 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.
- After winning Super Bowl XXI the New York Giants released "Walk Like A Giant", based on "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles.
- 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.
- During 1986, 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.
- 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.
- During 1988, Cincinnati Bengals rookie Ickey Woods became famous for the "Ickey Shuffle". His team lost in Super Bowl XXIII, though.
- 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.
- 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 17-13 to San Diego during the 1994 AFC Championship game. 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.
- During 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.
- 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 during 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.
A number 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.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJNC3dgreaU&feature=player_embedded
- ^ ESPN.com: Page 3 - Remembering the Super Bowl Shuffle
- ^ America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions, "#9. 1984 San Francisco 49ers." Premiered on NFL Network, Jan. 30, 2007
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzwyUfV2NnE Accessed 6-18-2010.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtvxPezTY6U Accessed 6-18-2010.
- ^ http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=120963
- ^ http://www.unwronged.com/#/mainstage/
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