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Super Bowl music matchup: Indiana vs. Louisiana

Kickoff to Super Bowl XLIV is now just a few breathless second away . . . and I'm already drool-cup bored with the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. Sure, I might have a friendly wager on the Crescent City crew (+5.5, if you know what I mean). But after two weeks of Big Game buildup, I'm done chattering about X's, O's and the healing power of Breesus.

So let's talk music instead.

Pop critics tend to filter most debates through our record collections. Give us a sporting match or a political race, and we'll use music as the deciding factor. Obama vs. McCain? Obama, by a hair — but only because we dig Chicago's Wilco slightly more than Arizona's Alice Cooper. Suspect reasoning? Absolutely. But that's why we're music critics and not Wolf Blitzer. So in keeping with this year's Super Bowl adversaries, I ask you this: Which state has the richer musical legacy, Indiana or Louisiana? Not so fast. Although New Orleans is the birthplace of popular music, Indiana gave us the Jackson 5. Louis Armstrong vs. the King of Pop? Hmmm. We're going to have to break this down a bit. Herewith, the rosters of the inaugural Music Super Bowl . . . plus an ultimate winner.


DE Louis Armstrong Call him "Pops," call him "Satchmo," call the ample-cheeked trumpeter one of the most influential artists of all time. Don't forget the beloved jazzman's gravelly voice, which helped make this a wonderful world indeed.

DT Louis Prima The King of Swing, baby! Jump Jive an' Wail, I Wanna Be Like You, Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody. Not sure if Louis can play football, but he'd sure be a heck of a lot of fun at the postgame after-parties.

LB Mahalia Jackson The Queen of Gospel — Aretha before Aretha — had God on her side and great licks of fire in her voice. She'll play in the Music Bowl — and sing the national anthem.

DB Hank Williams Jr. Bocephus! "All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight!" Forget Howard Cosell, Al Michaels or Mike Tirico: Hank Jr. is the real voice of Monday Night Football.

DB Lil Wayne Weezy is the top tough in rap — and also one of the most incarcerated, as he's about to hit to the clink. But give the Nawlins native credit: At a time when album sales are in the toilet, he sold 1 million copies of his last album. In one week.

On the bench: Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Master P, Tim McGraw


QB John Mellencamp Nicknamed "Little Bastard," the Hoosier State's chain-smoking native son has the hits and anger issues to lead the pack. Are YOU going to take the ball from him?

WR Michael Jackson The prettiest, most incandescent player in the Music Bowl. Score a touchdown? Psh. How 'bout moonwalk a touchdown? Hee!

WR Axl Rose Scrappy, surly, prone to biting, he's a cross between the Patriots' Wes Welker and a psychotic leprechaun. Indiana produced two of rock's top frontmen. The other is at running back.

RB David Lee Roth Diamond Dave, the mouthpiece for Van Halen, is the trash-talk king. You wouldn't want to play against DLR . . . or sit next to him on a plane . . . or have him date your sister. But sing Jump? You bet.

C Tito Jackson Think of Tito, the cherubic anchor of the Jackson 5, as the William "Refrigerator" Perry of this Indiana team. He's willing to block . . . and sing backup on I'll Be There.

On the bench: Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Janet Jackson, John Hiatt, Izzy Stradlin, Shannon "Blind Melon" Hoon


That's some serious talent on both sides. We can only hope the actual Super Bowl is this close. (I'm liking my +5.5 even more now, if you know what I mean.) In the end, though, you have to acknowledge the progenitors over the pop heavyweights. In other words, no one beats Louis Armstrong. Louisiana over Indiana in a last-second encore of When the Saints Go Marching In.

Wanna play?

Go to Pop Life Online to cast your vote — Indiana or Louisiana? — in Sean Daly's Music Super Bowl!

The Homework Playlist

My older daughter just turned 6. Kid Lulu is in kindergarten, tucked cozily between the paste-eater and the nose-picker. She "sort of" believes in fairies; she "oh yeah" believes in Santa. She spends most of her time thinking about popsicles. She attends a Pinellas County magnet school chockful of ragin'-liberal rainbowness. We love it. We do. However . . . my daughter, who not so long ago wanted to be a raccoon when she grows up, has more homework than an MIT student rocking genomics. I'm not complaining; I knew the Faustian bargain from the start. But just last week, I had to help Kid Lulu construct an explanatory penguin habitat. I spent $35 at Michaels buying all manner of faux icebergs, aqua glitter and region-appropriate critters. This thing was like the flippin' Avatar of penguin dioramas! She also had to create an accompanying treatise on how we, as a people, can help preserve Antarctica and its chief avian species. So I helped her create an SUV-drivers-are-hellbound global warming poster that would make Al Gore sob into his Prius. When all was said and done, I asked Lu what she had learned about penguins. And in a high-pitched voice, she shrieked: "They're so cute!" Indeed they are, honey.

1 Homework,

Corbin Bleu

2 Alphabet St.,


3 The Math,

Hilary Duff

4 The Eraser,

Thom Yorke

5 Do It Again,

Steely Dan

6 Cut Cut Paste,

Tokyo Police Club

7 Glitter in the Air,


8 Teacher, Teacher,

.38 Special

9 Why Does My Head Hurt So,

Isobel Campbell

10 Penguin Attack,


Super Bowl music matchup: Indiana vs. Louisiana 02/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:08pm]
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