What's with Blues playing 'Gloria' and 'Country Roads' at home games? originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
We'll forgive you if you haven't watched many Blues games in St. Louis this season.
We'll also forgive you if you're watching the Boston Bruins' Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis on Saturday and wondering why 18,400 Blues fans are belting out two songs that have nothing to do with their city.
We're talking about Laura Branigan's "Gloria" and John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," the former of which has become the Blues' official goal song and the latter of which has become a sing-along anthem in the third period of games at Enterprise Arena.
But Branigan was a New York native and Denver's hit song is about West Virginia. So, why the heck did the St. Louis Blues adopt them?
The explanations are equally random. "Gloria," it turns out, came to the Blues by way of Jacks NYB, a bar in South Philadelphia where a group of Blues players went to watch the Eagles-Bears playoff game on Jan. 6. According to Blues forward Robby Fabbri, one patron kept yelling "Play Gloria!" during commerical breaks to request Branigan's 1982 hit. The DJ obliged, the bar went wild, and Fabbri and his teammates hatched an idea.
"They just went nuts when they heard it, and we loved watching it," Fabbri explained earlier this month, via USA TODAY. "So, we just happened to get a win the next day and made it our win song."
Fast forward to late May, when "Gloria" has become synonymous with the Blues' deepest postseason run since 1970 and, of course, has made its way onto a T-shirt.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 20, 2019
"Country Roads" came to Blues games a few weeks after "Gloria," and Boston fans will find its origins ironic. Blues game operations director Jason Pippi was trying to play Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" -- synonymous with eighth innings at Boston Red Sox games -- at home games, but the song never caught on with St. Louis fans.
So Pippi, a University of Pittsburgh graduate, randomly suggested "Country Roads" during a meeting.
"(Sweet Caroline is) a Pitt classic, but it didn't stick anywhere nearly as much as Country Roads," Pippi told WVU Sports. "It was a bit of a mistake how it happened. It came up in the office, 'So, what about Country Roads, everyone loves that one' and I said, 'I'll tell you what, I hate it!' But everyone knows the words to it."
Pippi tested out "Country Roads" in the third period of a late February Blues game and actually mistimed the song, cutting the music right as the chorus began when play resumed. But the Blues crowd picked up the slack by signing the rest of the chorus anyway. When Pippi tried the same tactic at the following game, the crowd did the same thing, and another "tradition" was born.
So, there you have it. While the Bruins' victory song -- "Dirty Water" by The Standells, featuring the chorus "Boston, you're my home" -- needs no explanation, the soundtrack at St. Louis games is a bit more eclectic.
And if the Bruins would rather not hear "Gloria," they could always pitch a shutout Saturday night.
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