Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crush You

Song - Crush
Artist(s) - Mark Matthews, James Griffith
Released - 1990
Primetime Usage - 1991-95
Contained on - FirstCom A2 (Intense)
Featured Highlight - 49ers @ Cowboys, 1995

"Crush" could probably count as NFL Primetime's "epic" theme for the first half of the '90s.  I like it, though, because it has more synth and is therefore less over-the-top than International Statement.  It was composed by Mark Matthews and James Griffith.  I couldn't figure out if Mark is any relation to Mary Therese Matthews or if James is related to Sally Anne Griffith, but—since they were all FirstCom composers—I wouldn't be surprised.  Unlike with the female Matthews/Griffith set, however, I have not found more than one Primetime song written by Mark or James.

Crush is contained on FirstCom A2 - Intense.  Unlike a lot of the Primetime themes on early FirstCom CDs, I don't think this track is on any of the earlier FirstCom Up Tempo LPs.  Crush isn't legally streamable or downloadable, as far as I know, but the single-digit FirstCom "A" discs are the most common ones to show up on eBay (that's how I got FC-A2).  Fast Drive is also on this album, plus one other Primetime song I haven't yet covered.

Accompanying Crush is an interesting footnote from the 1995 season.  The defending champion 49ers, despite being without Steve Young, rolled into Texas Stadium and thumped the eventual champion Dallas Cowboys.  Also included in this highlight is Merton Hanks's famous (infamous?) "Pigeon Dance," which was certainly one of the most unique celebration moves in NFL history.  Have fun!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bad Company

Song - Bad Company
Artist(s) - Robert J. Walsh
Released - no later than 1999
Primetime Usage - 1999-05
Contained on - Hollywood Film Music HFML 15.10, Hollywood Music HM-007 (Renegade)
Featured Highlight - Chiefs @ Bears, 1999

NFL Primetime almost always had a go-to song for defensive, tough, and often ugly games.  In the last several years of the program (in its original form), that track was "Bad Company."  It's a more orchestral song, rather than synth or rock, and it definitely works as a mood piece for football grittiness.  In addition to defense in general, Bad Company was also associated on the show with the Oakland Raiders and the "Black Hole" motif of Raider Nation.  It was composed by prolific movie/TV/production composer Robert J. Walsh, who—in addition to his composing work for the company—was briefly a FirstCom executive in the mid '90s.  Walsh also founded the Hollywood Film Music library in 1987, which is not to be confused with the Hollywood Music label linked above.

This track is streamable on FirstCom's website.  One thing I don't like about their organization is that, although you can sort albums by release date, there's no way I can find where you can actually see the release date listed.  If anyone has figured it out, please let me know.

Below is, to my knowledge, NFL Primetime's first use of Bad Company.  The Chicago Bears, behind "The Shane Matthews Band," (one of Chris Berman's best nicknames) edge out the Kansas City Chiefs at home to open up the 1999 season.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Song - Strategy
Artist(s) - Mary Therese Matthews, Sally Anne Griffith, John Bähler, Matthew Muhoberac
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987
Contained on - FirstCom UT105 (New Beginning)
Featured Highlight - Lions @ Vikings, 1987

It doesn't get much more obscure than this.  "Strategy," composed by same three artists as "Fast Drive" plus Matthew Muhoberac, was used on the very last highlight of the very first episode of NFL Primetime and I haven't seen any other clips use it.  The availability of 1987 Primetimes is rather limited, however, so it definitely could've been used more than that.  Still…  it's probably one of the least remembered songs used on the show.  That doesn't mean it's bad, though.  Strategy's combination of '70s style and '80s instrumentation is unique, and it's relatively large amount of starts & stops—though not ideal for sports highlights—makes it an interesting song to listen to.

Finding the hard copy of FirstCom UT105 is the only way to get this track legally, I'm pretty sure.  Good luck with that…

As indicated above, Strategy's only known highlight usage was the Lions/Vikings game that ended the first-ever NFL Primetime.  Minnesota pulls out a somewhat comfortable, albeit sloppy, win that kicked off one of the most schizophrenic seasons for a team in NFL history.