Disclosure: I’m only moderately interested in baseball. As far as the Boston Red Sox are concerned, I have no opinion about them, positive or negative. But “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys is, hands down, my favorite sports anthem of all-time. It sounds like a drunken collision between the Pogues, Mott the Hoople, and Social Distortion … a collision that also describes what the Dropkick Murphys sound like. That’s a huge compliment, by the way.
In any case, this song has a wonderful history. “Tessie” was originally written for a turn of the 20th century Broadway musical called “The Silver Slipper,” where it was called “Tessie (You are the Only, Only, Only).” The song was adopted by a fervent group of Red Sox fans called the Royal Rooters and sung at Red Sox games until around 1918, when the Rooters stopped singing it. Coincidentally, 1918 was the last year the Red Sox won the World Series for several years.
Cut to 2004 … Boston punk legends the Dropkick Murphys recorded a cover of “Tessie,” explaining that they recorded it to “bring back the spirit of the Rooters and to put the Red Sox back on top.” I’m not saying that the Murphys were responsible for helping the Red Sox break the “curse of the Bambino,” but that year, the Red Sox finally did win the World Series for the first time since 1918. Now the Murphys’ “Tessie” is second only to the Standells’ “Dirty Water” as the song played after every Red Sox victory. (I’d rather not mention the third song).
If you’re a Red Sox hater, there is probably nothing I can do to convince you this is a great song. But I love it and “Tessie” is justifiably a classic.