1st Edition

We are the Champions: The Politics of Sports and Popular Music

By Ken McLeod Copyright 2011
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    268 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sports and popular music are synergistic agents in the construction of identity and community. They are often interconnected through common cross-marketing tactics and through influence on each other's performative strategies and stylistic content. Typically only studied as separate entities, popular music and sport cultures mutually 'play' off each other in exchanges of style, ideologies and forms. Posing unique challenges to notions of mind - body dualities, nationalism, class, gender, and racial codes and sexual orientation, Dr Ken McLeod illuminates the paradoxical and often conflicting relationships associated with these modes of leisure and entertainment and demonstrates that they are not culturally or ideologically distinct but are interconnected modes of contemporary social practice. Examples include how music is used to enhance sporting events, such as anthems, chants/cheers, and intermission entertainment, music that is used as an active part of the athletic event, and music that has been written about or that is associated with sports. There are also connections in the use of music in sports movies, television and video games and important, though critically under-acknowledged, similarities regarding spectatorship, practice and performance. Despite the scope of such confluences, the extraordinary impact of the interrelationship of music and sports on popular culture has remained little recognized. McLeod ties together several influential threads of popular culture and fills a significant void in our understanding of the construction and communication of identity in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

    Contents: Introduction: warming up; 'Take me out to the ball game': a brief history of music, sports, and competition; 'Let's get physical': female identity, music and the fitness industry; 'Who let the dogs out?': sports music, marketing crossover, and the business of performance enhancement; 'We will rock you': sports anthems and hypermasculinity; 'It's a man's, man's, man's world': constructing male identity in African American music and sports; 'Go West': the integration of sports and music in constructing national and transnational identities; 'Gonna fly now': visual media and the soundtrack of sports; 'Na na hey hey kiss him goodbye': codas and overtimes; Bibliography; Index.


    Ken McLeod, Assistant Professor of Music History and Culture, Department of Humanities, University of Toronto, Canada

    'This is an excellent book that shows the fusion between sport and music. Covering the ancients to the post-modern, this book is arguably the best yet and will please scholars in music and sports studies.' John Bale, Keele University, UK 'Readers will be impressed by McLeod’s knowledge of both music and sport and his understanding of the economic, political and engendering functions they perform in contemporary society. Meticulously researched and admirably well written, We are the Champions is a richly rewarding study of the myriad links and parallels between these two hegemonic cultural forms. This is a book that had to be written and its author’s insights into this increasingly conspicuous convergence fill a yawning void in the literature.' Anthony Bateman, De Montfort University UK ’We Are the Champions provides a significant contribution to the study of sports and music, with a wide range of analysis underpinned by rigorous theoretical and broad empirical research. Not only is it a worthy volume in the Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series, it also makes an important contribution to the cultural history of sports. It would be a valuable addition to any library’s collection, whether in sports, physical education, or other subject areas of a cross-disciplinary nature dealing with cultural history and gender studies.’ The Canadian Association of Music Libraries Review