THE passing of Aussie boxing legend Lionel Rose meant the loss of a sporting champion and an Aboriginal icon.
Rose was also something of a trendsetter - he was one of the first sportspeople in the world (certainly one of the first in Australia) to turn his hand to making music in a big way.
In honour of Rose, Musicology looks to the sporting arenas of the world to find more athletes who moved onto music for better or worse (mostly for worse).
TOWARDS the end of his career, Lionel Rose turned to singing, particularly country music. His first single, I Thank You, earnt him a gold record to go with his world bantamweight title belt and it is believed to be the 25th biggest-selling song of 1970 in Australia (Roy and HG have also put it forward as a new national anthem). An album of the same name also yielded another single Please Remember Me, which again showcased the fact that Rose could actually sing. Another boxer getting hits outside the ring is Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino champ currently regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Pacquiao has released a couple of chart-topping albums in The Philipines and there's some great footage of him on YouTube performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Less good is Roy Jones Jr, a '90s heavyweight champ with a solo album under his belt that contains the hilariously bad blow-by-blow account of his career Y'All Must've Forgot. Not to be outdone is recently retired Mexican-American fighter Oscar De La Hoya, whose self-titled album of cheesy bilingual ballads is about as un-macho as they come. Still, it earnt him a Grammy nomination, although we're not sure if that says less about De La Hoya or the Grammies.
They say you should sing about what you know... no matter how bad. Here's Roy Jones Jr, dropping it like it's hot:
FEW sports can compare to basketball when it comes to producing wannabe musos. Looming over most of them is Shaquille O'Neal, who dropped his first rap album in '93 - the same year he won NBA rookie of the year with Orlando Magic. A legend on the court, he's not so great on the mic, despite releasing four albums and collaborating with Michael Jackson and Ice Cube. When he's not rapping about keeping it real on the streets or how awesome he is on the court (check out the god-awful Shoot Pass Slam), he's rhyming about his shoes and claiming to be 7'3" (although he's listed as being 7'1"). Following quickly in his enormous footsteps were the likes of LA Lakers' five-time championship player Kobe Bryant (whose album was so bad it didn't even get released), five-time All-Star Chris Webber (whose album-long whinge 2 Much Drama can now be bought for one cent on Amazon), 11-time All-Star Allen Iverson (whose album was stopped from release by the NBA due to its violent, offensive and homophobic lyrics), 2010 championship player Ron Artest (who can actually rap somewhat), and many more. Bucking the trend is three-time All-Star Tony Parker (who at least raps in French) and Olympic gold medallist Wayman Tisdale (who was a handy smooth-jazz bassist that released eight albums prior to his death in 2009).
Do you want Shaq to shoot it? Do you want him to pass it? Do you want him to stop rapping?
BETTER remembered for his wacky on-field antics (handstands, punch-ons) than his goal-kicking, Mark 'Jacko' Jackson retired after his 1985 season with Geelong and swiftly released the Ian Dury-esque I'm An Individual, which stunned many by going to the pointy end of the charts. A second single Me Brain Hurts, was so terrible that even Jacko sounds bored by the end of the song. No one bought it. A third single in 1991 - You Can Do This - also failed. Inspired by the success of I'm An Individual, equally flamboyant forward Warwick Capper knocked out a single I Only Take What's Mine, which failed to chart and sank without a trace. Taking the music game slightly more seriously is former Demons forward Russell Robertson, who released an album of covers called Higher in the wake of his appearance on celeb-singing show It Takes Two. Robertson now plays in bands around Melbourne, mostly doing corporate gigs alongside the guy who sings The Footy Show theme More Than A Game.
Here's some unadulterated gold:
IN the history of Australian music, there is no band quite like Six & Out. Thank the gods for that because they're hilariously bad. Made up of members of the New South Wales cricket team (vocalist Richard Chee Quee, bassist Brett Lee, guitarists Shane Lee and Brad McNamara, and drummer Gavin Robertson), the band released two albums - a self-titled in 2000 and Bring It On! in 2002. While Can't Bowl, Can't Throw is their best-known track, having snuck into the ARIA charts at number 100 for one week, their shining moment is the abysmal Cyclone Sally, a song so hysterically bad you'll only find the first two minutes of it on YouTube. Lee also went on to record a duet in 2006 with Indian diva Asha Bhosle. The song - You're The One For Me - went to number two in India and South Africa.
Be warned - you won't get these two minutes of your life back if you click 'play':
THE only sport that beats basketball for creating wannabe musos is baseball - one of the few sports in the world that Australians don't give a toss about. The only baseballer who took to the stage that's worth caring about is former Yankee Bernie Williams, who's a very handy guitarist and has released two albums. The other most notable one is Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who released a much-derided alt-rock covers album in 2005 and featured on a Dropkick Murphys track. There have been many others, going back to Denny McLain, who was an organ player in the '60s, but if you're really desperate to hear baseballers on the mic, the best starting place is Oh Say Can You Sing?, a compilation featuring 11 baseballers belting out songs by the likes of U2 and Stone Temple Pilots.
I wouldn't have a clue about Bernie William's baseballing prowess, but the man can play guitar: