MUSIC, COMEDY and MORE
The story behind the song
Way back in 1978, I wrote and recorded SMU’s official fight song, “Mustang Mania.” It’s on my Here We Go Again CD and also available as an mp3 from iTunes, Amazon, etc.
So you might ask, “How does a Jewish kid from the Boston area come to write the fight song for a Dallas-based big-time football team?”
OK, you probably aren’t going to ask (or care) but here’s the answer: Sports Illustrated had done a write-up about my baseball songs in July 1978 (right). Baseball songs were somewhat of a rarity at the time so this was kind of a unique story.
The following week I got a phone call from Brad Thomas, the Sports Publicity Director at SMU. He wanted a song for a new campaign called Mustang Mania.
I had never done anything like that before and stammered a bit, hesitating and trying to sort it out in my mind. I wasn’t quite sure that I was the right person.
Then he said, “I can pay you $1,500.”
I then quickly replied, “Yes, I can do that.” ($1,500 was a lot of money back then. Actually, it still is.)
Thomas further explained that they were looking for something that was light, humorous and, well, outside-the-box. Having read the Sports Illustrated piece, he envisioned me as the perfect songwriter to pull it off.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED July 3, 1978
I guess I was. I wrote the song in a day and a half and then had to rush off to the studio to get it recorded. I enlisted some studio musicians and we did a country arrangement with fiddle and twangy electric guitar.
(I tried to make this long story short … but it’s worth reading, nonetheless. Please keep going. You’ll thank me later.)
Time was of the essence since it was mid-July and the season opened in less than two months. There was no digital music back then, so we had to create a 45 rpm single and have it shipped to Dallas.
This required driving to New York City to have the tape made into a mastering disc, then mailing the master to someplace in the Midwest so it could be pressed into 45s.
Sometimes when you keep things simple and work quickly, you get good results. That’s what happened. I shipped 1,000 copies of the disc to SMU and kept 200 for myself. “Mustang Mania” was an upbeat, catchy country song that was played before each game at the Cotton Bowl.
Most people loved it but the song was kind of sarcastic, self-deprecating and goofy (which is how I wanted it). The record had its share of critics.
But it was different.
Anyway, that’s the story. If you’ve read this far, you might as well listen to the song and view the lyrics.
The official fight song of the 1978 SMU football team
From Howie's album Here We Go Again