Daily Archives: July 17, 2013

July 17, 2013

Huey Lewis doesn’t like canned stadium music

The cover of Huey Lewis and the News' Sports album

The cover of Huey Lewis and the News’ Sports album

Huey Lewis, of Huey Lewis and the News fame, wrote a piece for The Talkhouse this week where he voiced his desire to ban all pre-recorded music at sporting events.

[A]s a sports fan who knows a little about music, I have to get something off my chest: Can we all agree it’s time to ban most, if not all, pre-recorded music from sporting events?

That’s a bold question. Anyone who’s been to any baseball game within the last decades is familiar with the music that’s played, and it’s always a combination of recent pop hits and old rock standards. Not to mention each player’s at-bat music. What’s Lewis got against all that?

He lists 5 reasons.

1. The murmur of tens of thousands of people in a baseball park, vendors hollering about beer and hot dogs, along with the thrilling crack of a bat hitting a ball, an umpire’s throaty call, and the occasional player’s whistle or cry of “I got it!” is a wonderful symphony of sounds that we almost never get to hear anymore.

It is true that the music during the inning breaks often impedes enjoyment of the game’s sounds. But Lewis’ complaint about the music being played too loudly does remind me of a certain scene from Back to the Future.

Lewis continues to criticize the speaker systems in stadiums, noting that oftentimes speakers interfere with each other, reducing the song to just the beat. He also criticizes the over-use of common songs and laments the lack of live bands and organists in parks.

And I gotta say, I can’t help but agree with him on many of his points. I mean, we have heard the boom-boom-clap portion of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” too many times now. Plus, the idea of roving live bands in each stadium, reflecting a part of the city’s musical heritage, is very appealing.

But banning plate music? That seems a step too far. That’s where some of my recent, fondest baseball memories lie. Now whenever I hear Coldplay, I envision Scott Rolen somewhere walking to the plate. Or Adam Dunn always using Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian.” And of course, Joey Votto and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.” No, the plate music I want to keep. But the rest? That I can live without.