Aug. 20, 2008 - Issue #670: Three Chords and the Truth
Enter Sandor - Dum-du-dum-du-dum no more
As of Aug 31, CBC will no longer accept entries into “Canada’s
Hockey Anthem Challenge,” inviting songwriters of all skill levels to
submit themes. The winner’s tune will replace Dolores Claman’s
famed music as the new theme for Hockey Night in Canada.
As of last week, more than 2200 entries had been submitted. And, while, for
the most part, the songwriters are novices, at least one interesting name
is in the mix. Randy Bachman of Guess Who fame—or, at least a user
claiming to be Bachman (this is the online world here, so nothing can be
taken at face value)—has submitted “Hockey Rock,” a
two-minute rocker that’s more a riff song than a true theme. So far,
listeners have given Bachman an average score of two out of five.
And, one of the biggest buzzes on the anthemchallenge.cbc.ca site has been caused by 11-year-old pianist Addison Leigh of Ajax, ON, whose “Jazzy Hockey Nights” is one of the entries that has generated the most comments so far.
And there are signs that voters have a sense of Project Mayhem in them. As
of last week, the highest rated (at 3.5 out of five) was Logan Aube’s
“Hockey Scores,” which features the bleating of sheep over an
electronic, static beat. Hilarious.
One thing I noticed from the random sampling of potential themes that I
took was that so many people have written long intros, or treated the songs
as verse-chorus-verse entities. For the theme to work as well as
Claman’s song, a CBC director can take a 15-second snippet from it
and, well, you know what the theme is about. This is not art rock,
The winner will get $100 000 and, according to the CBC, “half of the royalties for public performance of the theme will be paid to the songwriter(s), and half will be donated by CBC to minor league hockey.”
We all know Claman’s song will survive on TSN/CTV hockey broadcasts.
But, according to John Ciccone of Copyright Music & Visuals,
which represents Claman, the CBC could have extended its deal for the song
at the rate of $400 - $500 per game, the same as it had been over the last
decade. Ciccone claims that the Claman camp also offered to settle a
longstanding $2.5 million lawsuit filed against the CBC “by
essentially covering our costs.”
Ciccone said a total buyout package, the price based on 13 years of use,
was also offered to the CBC.
Still, if CBC uses the theme 100 times a year (let’s not forget the
playoffs, when hockey is on nightly for about two months), well
that’s $50 000 a year. That makes the $100 000 prize seem small,
What’s really strange is that the official voting on what theme fans
like best begins on Oct 4, which is actually the date the NHL begins
regular-season play in Europe. Games on North American soil begin Oct 9. If
the voting only coincides with the start of the regular season, and
isn’t done before the first puck drop, does that mean Hockey Night in
Canada will be without a theme for the first few weeks?
Or will it substitute that awful Nickelback version of Elton John’s
“Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” which it has
dredged up to play over b-roll images of hockey action over the past few
Please, anything but the Nickelback song. Give me a hip-hop HNIC theme. Or a polka. Or even no theme at all. Our great game deserves better. V
Steven Sandor is a former editor-in-chief of Vue Weekly, now an editor and author living in Toronto.
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