Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oy Canada Needs a Song!

Canadian national mens rugby team sponsor Guinness breweries is probably not tickled about the RWC broadcast ignominy in Canada and the fate that their sponsorship will be going unseen by virtually ALL Canadian sports fans in the next few months. So they've manufactured their own publicity stunt, in the form of a song contest. Apparently, they believe Canadian rugby needs a song ~ or an anthem ~ I'm note quite sure.

In fact, there're a few things that remain mysteries to me... I've been following the Canadian mens rugby team for a couple decades, and for the life of me don't know the team's nickname. Rugby Canada doesn't say. Press and broadcast commentaries at home and abroad routinely call our team the "Maple Leafs," or the "Canucks," and even "Team Canada." Which one is correct? If I was a songwriter, I'd like to get that sorted out in advance. (And don't get me started on the Canadian team insignia!)

You can check out the "song contest" official details and rules here. Deadline for entries is June 25th. Guinness will shortlist ten songs, and voters can choose their favourite song online starting July 3rd.

Nice prize of a trip to France to see Canada play the Wallabies at RWC 2007, with airfares and accomodations paid, plus spending money.

My thoughts:

I hope somebody comes up with something that's not too embarrassing. I suspect they are after some original stirring Braveheart-ish singalong anthem.

Nevertheless, there's a cynical part of me that winces and thinks it sounds more than a little contrived and force-fed. It seems to me the really successful sporting "songs" are actually co-opted from elsewhere, tend to be organic in nature and take on lives of their own after-the-fact.

Liverpool FC's "You'll Never Walk Alone" ~ a popular 1940s hit from the Rodgers & Hammerstein stage musical "Carousel." The intent of that song has nothing to do with soccer.

England RFU's "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" ~ an old black American gospel slave song. The song has nothing to do with rugby.

Both New Zealand's "Ka Mate Haka" and Australia's "Waltzing Matilda" have been part of those nations' identifiable cultures for over a century. But neither was written for sports teams.

My solution:

Rugby Canada should simply grab an identifiable Canadian song. Play it before every home test match as the Canadian boys take the field prior to kick-off. Then play it again every time Canada scores a try. And then again at the end of every Canadian victory.

Neither Guinness nor Rugby Canada would even have to pay the rights for the thing. All they'd have to do it play it and let it take on a life of it's own. The fans will "own" it.

Canada's national rugby program is fairly recent, only being a few decades old. So keeping that in mind, I nominate Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO's) classic...

"Takin' Care of Business."

You get up every morning
From your 'larm clock's warning
Take the 8:15
into the city
There's a whistle up above
And people pushin', people
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train's on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work
at nothing all day
And I'll be

Taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I've been taking care of business
(it's all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime …

The song is not much older than Canada's national rugby program. It reflects the workmanlike blue-collar substance of the team. It's a Canadiana nugget imbued in the national psyche. It's known around the world. It's catchy and memorable, with a driving rhythm and hook. It emphasizes and exemplifies everything Canadians want their national men’s rugby team to represent.

The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves both borrowed the song at various times, so why should Canadian rugby fans feel any shame about singing a home-bred anthem?

Feel free to leave comments...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home