city fight song

last monday on the parkway with fireworks exploding overhead, i learned that philadelphia’s anthem is without a doubt the theme to rocky, and it got me thinking… what does it say about the city, the song, and the rest of america?

ok, so i know the 4th has long past, but this post isn’t really about the 4th, even though it starts there. last monday i rode my bike up to the parkway to watch the fireworks over the art museum. the streets were packed with people, many of whom were there to see sir elton, others to see the fireworks, and some to see both. for me, it was all about the fireworks. 10:30 pm came and went, sir elton played on, my shirt got sweatier and my frustration grew. finally, around 11:00, elton played his last and the fireworks began.

they were impressive, the fireworks, and would have been enough on their own. presumably to improve the exprience, the city decided to play music as well. standard stuff, living in america, born in the usa, that kind of thing. the crowd barely reacted to the music. where i was standing, the brothers and sisters were dancing to the beat of some music coming from a dj spinning at a hotel a few feet away, while i and the other white folks were just watching the works.

then came the theme from rocky.

the entire crowd cheered. ok, not the entire crowd, but a lot of it, and the reaction crossed racial barriers. when the theme from rocky is playing, we’re all philadelphians, united in our underdog status, cheering for the little guys whose noble spirit embiggens the smallest of them.

i thought that was kinda cool. i also thought it interesting that the theme from a movie, and the movie itself, could become so tightly coupled with a city the size of phildelphia. it says a lot about rocky, of course, which spawned four sequels and has endured because it’s such an archetypal story line, and the theme song, which is a very well constructed piece of music. it also speaks volumes about philly, which is without a doubt the underdog of american cities, as once this country was to the rest of the world.

then i got to thinkin’, do other cities have theme songs? new york immediately comes to mind, as there have been so many songs written about it, probably more than any other city. i think it’s fair to say that, if new york has a theme song, it’s “new york, new york” by sinatra. did he write that song? i don’t even know, but i doubt it.

anyway, that’s new york, but what about the rest of the country? i couldn’t come up with any others. l.a. – “welcome to the jungle” by guns & roses? orlando – disney’s “micky mouse”? isn’t there a song that goes, “meet me in san francisco?

yeah, i’m an idiot.

3 Comments so far

  1. Dave (unregistered) on July 13th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    Is the Philly theme song the Rocky song, or the Eagles chant?


  2. suzanne (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 9:33 am

    It can only be the Eagles chant if it’s sung by someone other than the actual football team, Dave…


  3. Sherri W. (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

    I’d vote for the Rocky song—it has wider resonance with the non-sports fan (yes, there are some authentic Philadelphians who aren’t sports fans!!) on account of that whole underdog triumph of the regular man vibe.



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