September 17, 2021

Bucs Life

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Little Richard Replaces Hank Williams JR.

1 min read

Little Richard onstage with his band in a scene from the 1957 film Mister Rock and Roll. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives

Are you ready for some football? Monday Night Football is getting a new theme song. ESPN has swapped out Hank Williams Jr., and his song ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight‘ for Little Richard, and his 1956 smash hit, ‘Rip It up.’

Richard Wayne Penniman, who is known better as Little Richard, passed away in May of 2019, so his voice will be added to “a new musical arrangement by the Richmond, Virginia group Butcher Brown, which plays a variety of musical styles, and features a multiracial lineup of musicians.”

Monday Night Football started using Hank Williams Jr.’s song, ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight’ in 1989; however, in 2011 Williams Jr. struck a nerve with ESPN for his comparison to then-President Obama’s golf game with House Speaker John Boehner to “Hitler Playing Golf with Netanyahu.” ESPN did re-feature the theme song in 2017 but did not disclose it’s permanence.

According to sources, the change to Little Richard and his song has nothing to do with the protests for racial justice, but more to do with the original song itself. ESPN Executives thought that the song stating, “All my rowdy friends,” would be slightly inappropriate due to the lack of a crowd and social distancing caused by COVID-19.