Hot Stove #15 – Prince of Baseball


Prince of Baseball: The death of the music artist Prince this past week was widely noted, including on baseball diamonds. Prince songs were played in many stadiums and several players changed their walk-up songs to honor Prince. Alex Rodriquez used a different Prince song for each of his four at-bats (0-2 and 2 walks). Over the years, Prince’s hometown team, the Twins, have welcomed new players with a ritual where the player sings excerpts from Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” (click here, 39 seconds). The song is about a one night stand with a fast woman (she being his “Little Red Corvette”) – my generation’s version was Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” (“why can’t you be true…”). General Motors ran its own tribute ad:

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Lonnie’s Jukebox

September, 2009, on the occasion of the 50 Year Reunion of the Van Horn Graduating Class of 1959

My Jukebox. I do not actually have a jukebox, but it sounds better than referring to my four beat-up record cases holding my 45-rpm record collection. Every adolescent generation fondly remembers its own popular music, but those of my age were uniquely blessed because our teenage years coincided with the birth of Rock and Roll. It was not really the birth of the style of music, but instead the mass acceptance of a genre that had been around for years as “race music,” a mix of blues and jazz, which in 1948 became known as Rhythm and Blues – a term coined by Jerry Wexler, a writer at Billboard Magazine, to provide a more marketable reference for the music. Rock and Roll would emerge from this genre, often with crossover elements from country, folk, gospel and pop. When my wife Rita and I made the pilgrimage to Cleveland to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, I saw a great quote from a Muddy Waters’ song: “The Blues had a baby and they named it Rock and Roll.” Muddy also had a 1948 song titled “Rollin’ Stone,” which inspired the naming of a band still playing today and, in conflicting reports, may have also inspired the naming of Rolling Stone Magazine (the other possibility being 1965’s “Like a Rolling Stone” by Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan). Continue reading