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What Makes The Perfect Pre-Game Song? Metallica Knows

The point of music at an American sporting event is to intensify the passion felt by fans during the game, this holds especially true during the entrance.

Last weekend, America witnessed exactly how a carefully selected intro song can help an extraordinary athlete reach iconic levels. During the pregame ceremony in honor of Mariano Rivera, Metallica performed “Enter Sandman” live as the soon-to-be-retired pitcher walked to the infield. The platinum single manages to set Rivera as a powerful threat as he confidently walks out to the rising riff of the music and James Hetfield roaring “Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight.”

After more than a decade, Rivera’s signature entrance has become a legendary part of the pre-game thanks to the power of “Enter Sandman,” which, although is completely unrelated to sports, ignites a competitive hunger from the crowd through its hard-core menacing melody.

Rivera is one among many examples to use amazing entrance music, yet there are those that just don’t get it, for example the Cincinnati Bengals. Last week, they unveiled Katy Perry’s “Roar” as the pregame, in-game and postgame song causing a wave of backlash from enraged and embarrassed fans, who got lulled to sleep by Perry’s soft “Roar” about “dancing through the fire.” #Facepalm.

Music is as important as the game itself and as the introduction it sets the mood for the rest time, so is there a way of figuring out what a successful entrance song is?

Many think that the Bengals failed at their latest attempt because they ventured outside of the genre rock, but that’s false. Yes, rock has ruled sports for years take for example: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” or Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Can’t Stop,” but that’s only part of the story. After careful research I found that the perfect intro song can be found in practically any genre as long as it has/is one more of the following: an ominous bass; a timeless classic; an established hit (so popular your grandma even knows it); tribute/shout out; and/or has a strong fist-pumping, head-bopping, head-banging or danceable beat – yes folks, it’s that simple.

Here are some examples of excellent non-rock opening jams:

Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something” used by Nyjer Morgan

This 1983 fusion of funk and dance-music is a timeless and established hit with a contagious dance beat.

Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” used by Brandon Crawford

This 2012 bestselling single proves that songs by women or in the genre pop work in sports (for those of you who tried to use that as an excuse for the failure of “Roar”).  It may not be rock, but it’s a definite head-banger.

Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” used by Todd Frazier

This unexpected classic from 1964 is Frazier’s tribute to his home state of New Jersey, where Sinatra is also from. It’s a pleasant and timeless tune that everyone young and old knows.

 Tupac’s and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” used by San Francisco 49ers

This head-bopper is one of Tupac’s greatest hits and it represents California to the core.

So as you can see an excellent entrance song is not difficult to achieve. In the future, I think we all hope that this formula serves as a guide for athletes and their PR teams so that fans won’t suffer yet another “Roar” mishap.

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