Sports and music have a long, tangled history, from Julio Iglesias’ short stint playing goalie for Real Madrid to No Limit’s Master P’s (short-term) NBA contract to Lil Wayne’s trenchant analysis on his ESPN blog. With a pair of unrelated music-sports news items today, the door between the two disciplines remains as fluid as ever.
Today the NFL announced that Cee Lo Green, of “The Voice” judgeship and Gnarls Barkley/Dungeon Family fame, will sing this year’s Thursday Night Football theme song. According to the NFL, each Thursday night game will open with a 90-second fan-sourced video uploaded by fans performing Cee Lo’s new “Fanthem” — as the league is calling it — which is the song “I Love Football,” set to The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The song will be set to fan videos specific to the night’s matchup.
“It’s finally that time again… and I really love my football,” Cee Lo said in a statement. “The NFL always brings us the biggest and brightest entertainment spectacle in sports and now with ‘Fanthem,’ NFL Network gives loyal fans the chance to participate!”
The song will debut with Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers fans singing the Ramones’ chorus along with Cee Lo on Sept. 13. Team fanatics can upload their best Joey Ramone here.
In unrelated music and sports news, ESPN has hired former X-Ecutioners DJ Rob Swift to perform in-studio on the sports network’s new live entertainment show, “UNITE,” which debuts Aug. 27 on ESPNU. The NYC-born and bred dexterous turntablist will be the first-ever in-house DJ and/or daily musician on an ESPN program.
Swift, who has worked with everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Herbie Hancock to Mike Patton and Linkin Park, will join the “UNITE” team, which features college football analyst Danny Kanell, comedian Reese Waters and sports host Marianela Pereyra.
Swift made his name in the early ’90s with New York City’s X-Men or X-Ecutioners scratch collective, which included Roc Raida, Total Eclipse and Mista Sinista. He is also a past winner of the DMC World DJ Championship.
ESPN’s press release — explaining exactly what it is that Swift does — makes it clear that many ESPN fans may not be familiar with the cutting and scratching he’s known for. “Practicing a DJ style called turntablism,” the release said, “Swift scratches new rhythms and blends using only his hands on vinyl, spinning at variations of 33-1/3 resolutions per minute.”