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Thanks, Leafs. Now we can’t get Hall & Oates out of our heads

A 41-year-old pop song plays on Lightning fans’ nerves after every Maple Leafs goal in Toronto.
Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his goal with teammates Mitchell Marner (16) and William Nylander (88) during the second period of Toronto's 5-0 rout of the Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Toronto.
Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his goal with teammates Mitchell Marner (16) and William Nylander (88) during the second period of Toronto's 5-0 rout of the Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Toronto. [ FRANK GUNN | AP ]
Published May 11|Updated May 11

Five games into the Stanley Cup playoffs, the 41-year-old pop ditty almost certainly has slithered its way into your cochlea and consciousness, an earworm that simply can’t be squashed.

Admit it, you’re hearing Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” in your latest nightmares.

As we’ve learned over the last 10 days, that onetime top-five tune — slathered in keyboards and cheesiness — serves as the celebratory song each time the Maple Leafs score a goal at Scotiabank Arena. By the end of the Leafs’ three-goal third period in Tuesday’s 4-3 triumph against the Lightning in Game 5, the song was inducing nirvana in Toronto and nausea in Tampa.

But amid the annoyance lurks curiosity.

Daryl Hall and John Oates had a top-five hit with "You Make My Dreams Come True" in the spring of 1981.
Daryl Hall and John Oates had a top-five hit with "You Make My Dreams Come True" in the spring of 1981.

Surely you’ve asked yourself (I know I have) why the organization opts for a song older than any player on its roster and only seven months younger than its coach (Sheldon Keefe). Why not cue up something crunchier, with more bombast or more brazen riffs? An anthem that can elicit fist pumping and/or foot stomping? Why not something from a modern artist?

Instead, Leafs fans must revel to modern-day elevator music, something that might randomly seep from the public address system at a Stein Mart. Meantime, Lightning fans’ lone recourse is the mute button.

For answers, we reached out to the Maple Leafs’ media-relations department, which had no concrete answers for the song selection. We have learned, however, that it was introduced as the club’s goal tune in 2018, supplanting a modified version of “Enforcer” by Ontario-based rock band Monster Truck.

And around the league, the choice has been widely lauded. The Sporting News ranked it as the NHL’s sixth-best goal song in 2020; hockeywilderness.com ranked it No. 10 that same year.

But in Toronto, it seems polarizing. A fan site — Leafsnation — published several suggestions for a new goal song last September.

Grammy Award-winning music producer (and hard-core Leafs fan) David Bottrill has gone to the extent of creating (and tweeting out) his own goal song, which intersperses the “Go Leafs Go” chant. Bottrill recently told The Athletic that he likes Hall & Oates but doesn’t embrace “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” as a celebratory anthem.

“I’ve watched it in Toronto,” Bottrill said. “They score. Everybody cheers. The song comes on, and everybody sits down and starts talking to each other again. I want them to be up and singing for at least 30 more seconds!”

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Of course, any future change in song selection does no good to Lightning fans in the moment. Tampa Bay’s only hope is for the Lightning to win the next two games.

And let that earworm slither in one ear and out the other.

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