Little Richard’s throat-hoarsening tribute to letting loose and partying, “Rip It Up,” just got a facelift and will now amp up football fans before the big game.
A new version of the 1956 hit, which debuted online Friday and features the group Butcher Brown, will touch down on ESPN next week as the new Monday Night Football theme, replacing Hank Williams, Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friend Are Coming Over Tonight.” The new track features a bigger musical arrangement by Butcher Brown, and the group added call-and-response lyrics with Richard’s to transition the song from a Saturday night banger to a Monday night pick-me-up.
“It’s Monday night and I’m feeling fine,” they sing, before Richard takes the lead on the chorus: “I’m gonna rip it up, I’m gonna shake it up, gonna ball it up.” When Richard sings, “Got me a date and I won’t be late,” after a newly added referee whistle, the band sings, “The game is on and I just can’t wait,” instead of Richard’s line about picking up his girlfriend in an Oldsmobile 88.
News of the theme-song swap broke earlier this week. Sources from ESPN told The Washington Post that they wanted a change since no fans in the stadium means a severe decrease in rowdiness. They also said that switching from a song by Hank Williams, Jr. — whose disparaging comments about President Obama prompted the network to yank the tune in 2011 before reinstating it six years later — to one by an African American icon was unrelated to calls for racial equity that have defined much of the year. Butcher Brown member Tennishu commented to the paper, “I do think that just us doing this project is a positive force in itself.”