Saturday, December 31, 2016

Week 17

Song - Automotive Industry
Artist(s) - Warren Bennett
Released - 1989
Primetime Usage - 1990
Featured Highlight - Dolphins @ Patriots, 1990

Ah, Week 17… the most awkward time of the NFL season.  It's a week where 2/3 to 3/4 of the teams have nothing concrete to play for, either because they're out of the playoff hunt or because their playoff seeding is already secure, while the rest often have convoluted tiebreaker scenarios to worry about.  The radical difference in motivation makes for some intriguing matchups, like mediocre teams being favored against dominant teams because the better ones might be resting their starters.  There are some interesting contests in this year's edition of Week 17, too, but the recent intradivision-only mandate has honestly taken a lot of the fun out of this annual holiday event.  I mean, who can forget the famous Packers/Panthers "points war" from 1999?  There's almost no chance something like that would happen today.

I figure the best way to commemorate the weirdness of Week 17 would be to post one of the most obscure songs in the NFL Primetime arsenal.  "Automotive Industry" was only used on the show one time that I'm aware of.  That time wasn't Week 17, unfortunately, but it was in 1990—the first year to have a Week 17.  1990 was also the worst year in the history of the New England Patriots, their only season under head coach Rod Rust.  For all of you familiar with classic video games, this season is why the Patriots are the most laughable team in the original NES version of Tecmo Super Bowl.  Also video-game related is that Automotive Industry contains a similar feel & instrumentation to many of the songs from the Growlanser strategy-RPG series.

Automotive Industry's composer, Warren Bennett, is—like many of the artists featured on this blog—a highly prolific production-music writer.  He's also associated with longtime British rock stalwarts Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the band that made his father, Brian Bennett, famous.  Sadly, Automotive Industry is the only known Primetime track composed by either Bennett, and it was only used one time at that.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Song - Leaders
Artist(s) - Christoph Narholz
Released - 1988
Primetime Usage - 1989-90
Contained on - SON 302 (Leaders, Vol. 2), Sonoton SCD 14 (Leaders 1&2)
Featured Highlight - Bengals @ Raiders, 1990

With the John Colby marathon now over, it was only a matter of time before I'd get back to posting Sonoton stuff.  "Leaders," the only known NFL Primetime track composed by Gerhard Narholz's son, Christoph, uses much the same instrumentation as the other Sonoton songs I've identified.  It is a bit repetitive & bland, comparatively, but ESPN nonetheless used it quite frequently throughout Primetime's Sonoton era (1989-90).  In fact, Leaders is the only Sonoton piece to be used in all eight '89/'90 NFL Primetime episodes I've logged.

The accompanying highlight for Leaders serves as eerie foreshadowing.  As the preview thumbnail shows, Bo Jackson ran for 117 yards on just 8 carries in the Raiders' 1990 regular-season contest against the Bengals.  Jackson also had a breakaway run where he was surprisingly tackled from behind by a Cincinnati defender that kinda previewed his career-ending hip injury against the Bengals in the playoffs later that season.  Just like the following postseason meeting, though, the Raiders came away with a double-digit victory.  Also interesting about 1990 is that it is still, to date, the last time the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game (they beat the Jets in the Wild Card).

Friday, December 16, 2016


Song - Communique
Artist(s) - Mary Therese Matthews, Sally Anne Griffith (?)
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987
Contained on - FirstCom UT104 (Powersurge)
Featured Highlight - Eagles @ Redskins, 1987

The John Colby saga may be over, but that doesn't mean I'm done posting NFL Primetime music.  "Communique" is a perfect track for any football game that seems "frozen," either from excessive cold or from exhausting heat.  The song doesn't really go anywhere, per se, but it's a perfect mood setter.  The only Primetime use of Communique that I'm aware of was for a rather warm contest between the Redskins & Eagles at RFK Stadium in the 1987 opener.  That game served as the coming out party for Doug Williams in what would be his best NFL season, though he would give way to incumbent starter Jay Schroeder for much of the regular season after this.

I'm actually not 100% certain if Mary Therese Matthews & Sally Anne Griffith were the composers of Communique.  I haven't been able to check the UT104 album cover for the credits, and this song doesn't seem to exist anywhere else (there's also virtually no info on Griffith or Matthews, either).  There is a song with the name "Communique" attached to them in the ASCAP database, though, and these two were frequently credited on FirstCom stuff around this time.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Lesser-Known John Colby Trilogy - Part III

Song - Gothic
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1991-92
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - Broncos @ Oilers, 1991

The final John Colby NFL Primetime contribution is my personal favorite of the six.  "Gothic" is relatively short, much like Drive Away, but it has perfect energy for football and anything else with hard-hitting entertainment.  Also, if you're an RPG fan like myself, you might notice it has a similar sound to some of the stuff from Lufia & the Fortress of Doom.  Anyway… the included highlight features the Houston Oilers dominating at home in the "House of Pain," a perfect venue for Gothic.  This also shows how awesome the early-'90s Oilers could be when they were on their game.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Lesser-Known John Colby Trilogy - Part II

Song - Gelman
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1991-95
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - Raiders @ Broncos, 1994

The second entry in the obscure John Colby trilogy, "Gelman," is the most somber & tragic sounding of his NFL Primetime contributions.  I also think it's the weakest of the six, though it still sounds pretty good.  As for the name…  I have absolutely no idea what "Gelman" means.  I mean, I really have no clue.  I don't know of any sports figure or even any famous figure in any vocation with that name.

Gelman's included highlight involves the long-standing rivalry between the Broncos & Raiders.  The game itself wasn't notable, but it does exemplify something else of interest.  1994 was the NFL's 75th. anniversary year, and most every team in the league wore some sort of (often bastardized) throwback uniform at some point during the season.  This began the throwback-jersey obsession that has exploded over the last decade.  On that note, pay particular attention to the comically childish logo on Denver's helmets.

*EDIT* - It was used at least once in 1995 (Week 2 - NO/STL; first Rams game in St. Louis)