We lace up our boots and take a punt on some of the most iconic AFL-related tracks ever.
As much as culture warriors on the internet like to pit the two against one another like some odd gladiator match, it’s very apparent that sports and music have a lot more in common than you’d think.
Whether it’s Lebron James appearing onstage with Drake and Travis Scott or a whole slew of indie acts contributing their works to FIFA’s video game soundtracks over the years, both forms of entertainment are synonymous in many ways, and the same goes over here with AFL.
Today, we’re taking a look back at some of the many moments that music and footy have collided over the years, even if sometimes honestly, they probably shouldn’t have.
Revisit other features and listicles here.
‘We Love Football’ – VFL Players (1988)
In 1988 rap still seemed like gimmick to the broader mainstream and the world of advertising was quick to try and cash in.
Released in the week of the 1988 Grand Final, this single featuring various VFL players displaying their rapping skills reached the top 40 for some reason. How does it stand up today, an underrated classic?
‘Oh I Do Love A Saturday Arvo’ – Captain Rock (1980)
Captain Rock was the work of novelty songwriter Bob Brown, who also recorded the original ‘Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees’ in 1975. This 1980 single was produced by David Williams and Skyhooks’ bassist Greg Macainsh and is perhaps an aquired taste.
‘Footyana’ – Austen Tayshus (1999)
Comedian Austen Tayshus had a hit with his novelty spoken word single ‘Australiana’ in 1983 and he revisited it in 1999. It mostly involves making fun of many of the players of the day’s names so it’s musical value is debatable and the comedy is probably a matter of individual taste, however it’s about football so it makes this list.
‘Aussie Rules I Thank You For the Best Years of Our Lives’ – Kevin Johnson (1996)
Written to the tune of Johnson’s ‘Rock and Roll I Gave You The Best Years of My Life’, the singer revisited the song in 1996 to celebrate 100 years of the VFL/AFL. It’s heartfelt, it’s bloody Australian.
‘Channel 7 Theme Song’ – VFL Players (1985)
In 1985 Channel 7 enlisted the musical skills of various VFL players to sing on a TV promo for the station. Some are bemused, most are confused, very few of them can sing, but this footage should be placed the national archives for our future ancestors to gain some understanding of 1980s Australian culture.
‘I Only Take What’s Mine’ – Warwick Capper (1985)
In 1985 Warwick Capper, the flamboyant and attention seeking Sydney full forward decided he wanted to become a pop star and released this three minutes and fourty-eight seconds of pure gold.
Apparently this video was shown once during a break in the Collingwood vs Sydney match of round 16 in 1985 and then dissapeared until some kind soul uploaded it to YouTube in 2008. Now we can all back in the glory.
‘More Than a Game’ – Chris Doheny (1994)
From the eery wind effect to the triumphant trumpet synth line and dramatic drum intro, ‘More Than a Game’ has been the welcome sound to signal the beginning of The Footy Show since it was released in 1994. The fist pumping hook is custom designed to get the adrenalin pumping, a` la ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Iconic.
‘Out of Bounds’, Eric Bana (1994)
Before he was a Hollywood star Eric Bana was a comedian best known for his impersonations of Ray Martin and the Warwick Capper-esque character Poida on the sketch comedy show Full Frontal. In 1994 he released the football focused comedy album Out of Bounds, and this title track even received a video.
‘When The Outer Roars’, Greg Salter (1985)
The theme from the 1985 Grand Final between Essendon and Hawthorn captures the feeling of the day and has quite a pretty melody.
‘Up There Cazaly’, The Two-Man Band (1979)
Probably the first non-club song that people will think of when contemplating footy anthems. Written by Mike Brady and recorded and released by his duo with Peter Sullivan The Two-Man Band in 1979, the song was used for Channel 7’s coverage of VFL games and, when released independently, became the largest selling Australian single at that time, moving 250,000 units.
Though the lyrics refer to early 20th century ruckman Roy Cazaly, who played for Carlton, St Kilda and then South Melbourne, to this day many a football fan will proudly yell along with the chorus despite not knowing or caring what a Cazaly is. It’s the spirit of the thing, it’s pure footy.
Extra Time / Honourable Mentions:
That song about the MCG by the Gravy guy:
And, who could forget Picket Palace’s inspiring ode to Essendon’s key small forward, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti?
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