Friday, September 30, 2016

What Used to Be

Song - Spearhead
Artist(s) - "Zoë de Souza" (Zoë Kronberger)
Released - 1984
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Cowboys @ Steelers, 1988

The second NFL Primetime track from Good Morning America! (that I know of) is also one that I have just one clip of.  "Spearhead," by Zoë Kronberger under the alias Zoë de Souza, provides a well-balanced mix of synth, trumpet, and electric guitar.  It actually sounds like it could be the battle music for some sort of sci-fi RPG, and that genre's standard of energetic determination also fits well for sports highlights.  Kronberger's career has been a bit back & forth.  According to her website (linked above): she trained as a graphic artist, then switched to music during the '70s & '80s, then gradually focused more on visual art from the '90s on.  Good Morning America! also contains several more solid tracks by de Souza/Kronberger, including the rather trippy "Steel Breeze."  Unfortunately, as I mentioned on my previous post, finding anything beyond a bootleg vinyl rip of this album is a difficult proposition.

The aforementioned clip with Spearhead features the Cowboys & Steelers long past their 1970s prime.  In fact, 1988 was the last ever meeting between hall-of-fame coaches Tom Landry & Chuck Noll.  From watching Primetime episodes from the late '80s, I gather the football media was often asking whether the game of football had passed both Landry & Noll by.  Noll would prove that false just one year later when he won his only NFL Coach of the Year award by taking a bunch of raw rookies & unheralded veterans to the Divisional Round.  Unfortunately for Landry, he never got the same chance as he was unceremoniously & infamously fired by new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones following the 1988 season.  He never coached again.  Anyway, here's the last go 'round between these Super Bowl arch-nemeses.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What Coulda Been

Song - N.Y. Giants
Artist(s) - Ray Russell
Released - 1984
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Cardinals @ Bengals, 1988

The next couple weeks will feature two songs from the same album that may have been used as little as one time on NFL Primetime.  The only highlight I have of "N.Y. Giants," by Grid Lock guitarist/composer Ray Russell, was for a game that ironically had nothing to do with the New York Giants.  In 1988, the Cardinals had just uprooted themselves from tepid fan support in St. Louis and had to get ready for nearly 20 years of similarly apathetic support in Phoenix.  Despite this, and the franchise's historically underwhelming win/loss record, expectations were high for the 1988 Phoenix Cardinals.  The still had Neil "The Grand Cannon" Lomax who, though not on the level of a Joe Montana, was still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.  They also had star WR Roy Green and a decent chunk of other talented players.  An 0-2 start that included a loss to an ultimately terrible Cowboys squad in the Cardinals' first ever game at Sun Devil Stadium probably dinged their egos a bit, but they won 7 of their next 9 games (including a 23-point comeback over eventual Super Bowl champ San Francisco) and were actually leading the NFC East after Week 11.  Unfortunately, 1988 then became the ultimate "what coulda been" season for the Cardinals franchise.  Lomax suffered a leg injury in that last win over the Giants and, though he would eventually return, the team wasn't the same and they lost 5 straight to end the year.  Even worse, Lomax never played a regular-season down again following 1988 due to a chronic hip condition and the Cardinals wouldn't see anything resembling consistent QB play again until 2007.  The franchise's near misses in the late '80s (they also choked away a postseason spot in their final year in St. Louis) combined with the sudden post-Lomax loss of offense led to just one playoff appearance for the franchise from 1983-2007 and largely terrible home attendance over that span.  It's easy to speculate how things could've been different if only Lomax hadn't been hurt or if he hadn't had to retire or even if the team had been able to rally once he returned with 3 weeks to go in the '88 season.  Things are finally going well for the Cardinals now, but it really seems like it shouldn't have taken anywhere near that long.

Anyway…  the aforementioned highlight showcasing N.Y. Giants was the first-ever regular-season game for the Phoenix Cardinals.  Against the Cincinnati Bengals, who would surprise everyone by dominating the AFC that year, Phoenix would kinda foreshadow the tail end of their season by blowing a perfect chance to win the game late.  Oh, as for the song itself:  nothing from the Good Morning America! album was ever released beyond vinyl, as far as I know, so trying to find a bootleg rip online is probably your only option.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Power Cutter

Song - Power Cutter
Artist(s) - Robin Gurin (composer credit only), Georgia Shapiro, Alec Williams (performer credit only)
Released - 1994
Primetime Usage - 1994-96
Contained on - FirstCom A29 (Power Net)
Featured Highlight - Ravens @ Jaguars, 1996

Another track that has made its rounds on various NFL Primetime download collections, "Power Cutter" is one that makes no attempt to stand out.  It's more generic, repetitive, and background-ish than perhaps any other Primetime song, and it was clearly intended to be nothing more.  It works surprisingly well, however, because it at least provides a nice beat & some steady energy for your football-viewing enjoyment.  Power Cutter was created by the same trio that gave us The Event, and is also contained on the same, impossible-to-find FirstCom album.  You shouldn't have much trouble obtaining a legally dubious, lower-bitrate version on the web, but good luck finding an official, high-quality cut.

Power Cutter's featured highlight has two, then-new teams squaring off in an entertaining game in Jacksonville.  Fun fact!:  despite playing only two years in Baltimore, Vinny Testaverde was the Ravens' all-time leader in passing yards until Joe Flacco passed him in 2010.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Song - Leading from the Front
Artist(s) - John Fiddy & "Sammy Burdson" (Gerhard Narholz)
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1989-90
Contained on - SON 234 (Success Story Vol. 2), Sonoton SCD 34 (Success Story Vol. 5&2)
Featured Highlight - Saints @ Buccaneers, 1989

In retrospect, it makes sense that NFL Primetime stopped using a lot of the tracks from the Sonoton music library after a couple years.  It was the '90s, most of the Sonoton stuff was super synth heavy, and '80s synth was soon to be rendered passé with the rise of the grunge movement.  There's one Sonoton track, however, that stands out among the rest in begging the question:  "why in the hell would they stop using that?"  "Leading from the Front," by the familiar pair of Fiddy & Burdson/Narholz, screams "FOOTBALL!!!!!!" more than perhaps any other song used in the entire history of NFL Primetime.  It has a decidedly more American—even "southern-fried"—sound than the Euro-themed tracks that dominate the Sonoton pantheon and, as a result, it works well for just about any NFL game ESPN would wish to highlight.  It's just a shame they ditched Leading from the Front after just two years on Primetime because I'm sure it would've been regarded on the level of International Statement & Powersurge if it had lasted to the more popular era of the show.

Fitting the style of Leading from the Front, here's a tough, hard-hittin', quarterback-injurin' highlight featuring two southern teams.  Enjoy this, and enjoy the 2016 NFL season!