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Little Richard Song Chosen as New ‘Monday Night Football’ Theme

Andy Lyons / Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Andy Lyons / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

When ESPN’s Monday Night Football returns for the new season next week, the show will open with a revamped version of Little Richard’s classic song “Rip It Up.”

The classic cut replaces Hank Williams, Jr.‘s “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night,” which has served as the program’s theme for a total of 24 years of the show’s 50-year history.

Rolling Stone noted that a reference to Monday night would probably replace the original reference to Saturday night in “Rip It Up.” While Little Richard’s original 1956 vocal performance will be used in the new theme, Butcher Brown have re-recorded the backing track.

Band leader Tennishu said that working with the rock ’n’ roll pioneer’s voice was “almost a dream come true, because that’s basically what we spend our time doing.”

Listen to Little Richard’s ‘Rip It Up’

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Williams’ song, originally titled “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Round Tonight,” was released in 1984; he recorded an alternate version for Monday Night Football in 1989. That track remained as the theme until 2011; it then returned in 2017.

Rolling Stone suggested that show producers felt the song was no longer relevant, since coronavirus lockdown provisions prevent the kind of gatherings celebrated in the song’s lyrics.

Little Richard died in May at age 87. He played his final concert in 2014, a year after announcing his retirement.

“I am done, in a sense, because I don’t feel like doing anything right now,” he explained in 2013. “I think my legacy should be that when I started in show business there wasn’t no such thing as rock ‘n’ roll. When I started with ‘Tutti Frutti,’ that’s when rock really started rocking.”

Next: Top 10 Little Richard Songs

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