2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Taylor Henry

University of Iowa
“We’re Gonna Dazzle You with Our Play:” Gender, Genre, and the “San Diego Super Chargers” Theme Song

In 1979, the NFL's San Diego Chargers released a fight song to create local buzz around the franchise. Simply titled “San Diego Super Chargers,” the track’s repetitive melody, disco-tinged instrumentation, and simple lyrics became iconic amongst fans, with a legacy continuing to the present day. The song was released during the team’s “Air Coryell” years, in which Head Coach Don Coryell famously implemented a high scoring offense emphasizing a vertical passing attack and star offensive players such as Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow. This presentation seeks to explore the connection between the team’s theme song and its style of play on the field. Additionally, it seeks to interrogate the gendered dynamics of the seemingly paradoxical juxtaposition of the hypermasculine image of professional football with disco music, as disco was a genre often popularly coded as feminine and embraced by many in the LGBT community. Finally, this presentation compares “San Diego Super Chargers” to other NFL fight songs in terms of its lyrical and musical content relative to the fight songs of other teams, analyzing how fight songs were utilized to market the NFL in the 1970s and construct the league as a masculine space in popular discourse.