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Sports & Play

That time when the Jays had songs, anthems & albums

Posted by Ed Conroy / June 5, 2014

Toronto Blue Jays SongWhere have the all Blue Jays songs gone? For much of their formative era, campy odes and anthemic ballads about the Toronto Blue Jays and their star players were aurally ubiquitous in the city: major airplay on the radio, music videos on TV, and even a series of pop albums lovingly released on fresh LP, CD and cassette guaranteed these feel good boppers a special place in Hogtown's heart. When the boys in blue were flying high (as they are now-ish), these songs helped ossify the bond between fan and brand, big time. Who were you in 1986 if you weren't power moving to a worn out cassingle of "Shaker's Rap - It's Lloyd Moseby Time!"

Not surprisingly, themology was in the Blue Jays DNA from the very beginning: are you old enough to recall the boogie nights flaring to a special disco, Blue Jay bird sampling theme song when the franchise first launched in 1977?

Throughout the 1980s, radio station personalities sometimes recorded their own songs based upon the team, such as this 1982 classic "Hang on Blue Jays," a Howard Cosell sampling riff on The McCoys bubblegum classic "Hang on Sloopy" created by some CHFI sonic boffins and played before games in the '82/83' season:

Some never stuck. This bizarre 1985/1986 song "The Ballad of Jesse and George" by (then) Citytv sportscaster Peter Gross was recently unearthed at the end of a mouldy VHS tape rescued from near oblivion at a garage sale. It is doubtful that either George Bell or Jesse Barfield hum this poor man's sea shanty in the showers:

In the early 1990s, a joint deal between the Toronto Blue Jays, the Variety Club of Ontario, and Sony Music Canada ushered in a trilogy of Blue Jays albums (Out of the Park (1991), Class of '92 (1992), and Salute to the Champions (1993), mercifully reaching a crescendo as the team went supernova after winning the World Series in 1992.

Blue Jays World Series 1992Blue Jays Album

As World Series champion fever swelled to gargantuan proportions in 1993, the Blue Jays albums charted higher than releases from fellow Canadian artists The Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, and The Tragically Hip. With $1 of the purchase price going to charity everybody pitched in from supergroups formed by Much Music, Q107, CISS FM, CHUM-FM, to mysterious players such as Dug and the Dugouts, The Kokomo Beach Band and the vaguely offensive "Hoodat Singer" (note the copyright on each album was ©Hoodat Singin... Extremely Limited.)

Blue Jays Album

Aside from dusty 45 rpms languishing on eBay, or ripped mp3 files hosted on fringe Blue Jays fan blogs as curate's eggs from a checkered past, most of these songs have long ago dissipated from the public conscience. Of course, the mightiest of them all - "OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball)" by the Bat Boys was the subject of much contention a few years ago when it was unceremoniously scrubbed from its primetime real estate - the soundtrack of the 7th inning stretch. For old school fans, the idea of going to a Jays game and not hearing that incendiary 1983 song seems just as alien as not seeing BJ Birdie, natch.

Will the Jays ever help produce another LP of spoof songs and pump up anthems, or are these jangly jiggles a relic of the less cynical and frankly more bonkers decades that also brought us the arrival of SkyDome, two back-to-back World Series wins, "Catch the Taste!" and more band wagon fans than the Maple Leafs could dream of?

"Help Us Mookie," make the Jays number one!

Retrontario plumbs the seedy depths of Toronto flea markets, flooded basements, thrift shops and garage sales, mining old VHS and Betamax tapes that less than often contain incredible moments of history that were accidentally recorded but somehow survived the ravages of time. You can find more amazing discoveries at www.retrontario.com.

Discussion

18 Comments

akswun / June 5, 2014 at 09:13 am
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Actually found the 12" Vinyl of "Shakers Rap" at the Pickering flea market a few months ago. I think its still there and it was never opened.
Brent / June 5, 2014 at 09:32 am
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I used to have one of those on cassette. I think it was 1989, because I remember being disappointed that it didn't have "The Jays Are Gonna Win It", a cover of "She Drives Me Crazy" that was done on then-CKFM (99.9) when they were in the pennant race with the Orioles. I taped it off the radio... it might still be hiding on a tape somewhere in my basement.
yt / June 5, 2014 at 09:45 am
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what about the thames compilation?
Danny / June 5, 2014 at 09:59 am
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Somebody get Jose Reyes on it, he has a rap album or something.
Not Keith Hampshire / June 5, 2014 at 10:20 am
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"OK Blue Jays" is timeless!
Vern Johansson / June 5, 2014 at 10:52 am
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There was also a song about Tom Henke called "Terminator"
Ricky Martin Jr. / June 5, 2014 at 11:16 am
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I remember. That sucks.
Robbie Alomar / June 5, 2014 at 11:44 am
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Da one wit Ma-Cain punch!
Todd Toronto / June 5, 2014 at 11:46 am
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The Blue Jays Album was definitely 1989, and featured a different Hoodat Singer song. But more importantly, it was the first time "OK Blue Jays" appeared on CD, which is why I picked it up.

They don't play it during the seventh inning stretch any more?!
RandomJaysStuff / June 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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Another fantastic post, Ed Conroy!

They still play OK Blue Jays in the 7th, but just a truncated version of a remix done in 2003. For some reason they can't seem to play perfectly good popular songs at the SkyDome because they seemingly have some 80% remix quotas to hit.
iSkyscraper / June 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm
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OK Blue Jays is permanently seared in my brain. Lyrics:

http://www.torontomike.com/2007/08/ok_blue_jays_lets_play_ball_1.html

As I recall, that was it - there was no American-import "Take Me Out To the Ballgame". You just had the hilarious tracksuited people from the Ministry of Health or whatever come out and lead the crowd in stretches and everyone had a good time.

They did start playing Take Me Out To The Ballgame a few years back and now I think they currently play both. Is that right?

More on 7th Inning Stretches:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-inning_stretch
dy / June 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm
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http://youtu.be/ivpZuw6GioA
d.a.r.y.l. / June 5, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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@iskyscraper - they do play both back to back for the 7th inning stretch. unfortunately they play a bastardized 'remix' of the 'ok blue jays' song. the kids don't know any better. sigh.
Daryl / June 5, 2014 at 01:38 pm
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What about the Cocoa-Cola theme song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLTQhW85Ezo
Brent / June 5, 2014 at 04:02 pm
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Trivia! The singer in "OK Blue Jays" is Keith Hampshire (uncredited at the time), who had a few Cancon hits in the late 70s (e.g. cover of "The First Cut is the Deepest").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK_Blue_Jays
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Hampshire
Brent / June 5, 2014 at 04:03 pm
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Correction: his hits were in the early 70s.
A. / June 5, 2014 at 06:02 pm
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Blue Jays sing O Canada
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4bJuAFm-gQ
sean replying to a comment from d.a.r.y.l. / June 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm
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Agree! At my first game this year in forever and stood up to sing OK Blue Jays and was like WTF are these words???? Bring back the original.

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