The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Jocks vs. Musicians
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

iSteve commenter Mookie2020 asks:

Hey Steve,

Watching the playoffs tonight and I heard the announcers mention that Ray’s pitcher, Charlie Morton, is an excellent musician. I had always thought Morton had more the personality of a musician than an athlete. This got me wondering about athlete: musician connections. Seemed like the kind of thing that might be up your pattern recognition alley.

The only athlete: musician connection I can think of is Tug McGraw/Tim McGraw. After that I draw a blank. Surely there are others, but I can’t think of them.

In general, athletes and musicians seem to come from different families and there are rarely ties or people very talented at both. One could say it’s the same as the jock/nerd divide, but that raises some interesting questions. Was Eddie Van Halen a nerd? I suppose he was technically a guitar nerd if you want to get into it, but you don’t think of him as a nerd. Being a rock-n-roll god transcends nerdom pretty fast.

A lot of top athletes are actually pretty smart. Top musicians tend to be smart. There’s a known connection between mathematical ability and musicianship, as well as between comedians and musical talent.

Is it possible that athletes and musicians are the most polar opposites? What are the genetic connections you can think of beyond Tug McGraw/Tim McGraw?

You might think that professional athletes would have the time and contacts to become professional musicians after their sports careers end, but in general, jocks and musicians don’t overlap much.

Paul Robeson was an All-American college football player a century ago and then became a famous singer.

On the whole, though, athletic stars and musical stars draw upon different personalities. My impression is that the jock vs. musician dichotomy is lesser among blacks, but, still, it’s hard to imagine Michael Jordan or LeBron James as a pop star.

Here’s heavyweight champ Joe Frazier singing. Joe’s not quite Marvin Gaye-level, but it’s hard to imagine a white hyper-alpha jock like Joe singing that well.

For example, Bruce Springsteen is a physical marvel: I saw him at Dodger Stadium when he was 53 and he did a men’s Olympic gymnast-type strength move where he grabbed the mike stand and held himself upside down for quite some time. But if you watch his video for “Glory Days,” in which he plays a washed-up high school pitching star “who could throw that speedball [sic] right by you,” you can tell that they had to carefully edit around the fact that Bruce can’t throw like a boy.

Springsteen admits that his stage personality is a concoction based on his macho dad while his own personality is largely inherited from his artsy mom. Tom Petty said much the same thing. Prince didn’t even try.

A few music stars are super-macho, like Henry Rollins of Black Flag, who looks like Patrick Warburton, Puddy on “Seinfeld.”

But I’ve always wondered if Rollins is too masculine to be a good musician, kind of like how Greg Norman might have been too tremendous of a jock to be a great golfer.

From iSteve commenter Mister.Baseball:

Bernie Williams, formerly the centerfielder of the New York Yankees, comes to mind.

All-star caliber player from about 1995-2002, and arguably the 2nd best centerfielder in the American League over that period, behind Griffey Jr.

Williams, a Puerto Rican with an Anglo name, was an excellent ballplayer, not quite a Hall of Famer, but not far off: a 5 time all-star. He was a fine postseason player, hitting 22 homers in 121 postseason games, second all-time in homers to Manny Ramirez.

Since leaving baseball, he has become a top-flight classically trained guitarist who composes latin/jazz music; has been nominated for at least one latin grammy; and has worked with Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and published by Paul McCartney’s label. I think he’s received a bachelor’s degree in music since retiring.

Williams was the cornerstone of those 90s Yankees, and Gene Michaels consciously built the team around him. When he arrived in the majors, he was a very toolsy/athletic player with zero baseball IQ and as a very sensitive-unusual artist type who was infamously bullied by a number of other players (and Steinbrenner, who had a habit of bullying him too.) Michaels made it a point of jettisoning any and every player who picked on Williams while bringing in players with personalities much more tolerant of his quirks [or willing to put up with them when he was hitting .320 with 30 HR and a 100 RBIs a season].

You could say the Yankees went out of their way to take a nerdy guy (who studied music as a child and was being pushed towards becoming a doctor by his parents) and fostered a jock-environment where he could succeed.

Lots of athletes try for a musical career, but not many get there.

Wayman Tisdale, an NBA player, later made it to the top of the jazz charts with his smooth jazz playing, but died of cancer at 44.

Mike Reid went to a couple of NFL Pro Bowls and won a Grammy for writing the country song “There’s a Stranger in My House” for Ronnie Milsap.

Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Jack McDowell of the Chicago White Sox, an off-season alt-rock singer-guitarist in Stick Figure, got into a famous brawl in 1993 in the New Orleans French Quarter alongside his pal Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.

They lost.

Hide 214 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. drawbacks says:

    Joe Frazier released some pretty good soul singles.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anon
  2. Hodag says:

    Prince was an All-city basketball player. The famous Dave Chappelle skit “Game, blouses.” skit was based on a Charlie Murphy story turned into stand-up piece. And Prince really would make everyone pancakes.

    What about Country Joe West, the eternal bad umpire with a pair of country and western albums? If there is an argument for repealing the National Labor Relations Act, Joe West is it.

  3. Kobe and Allen Iverson both tried their hand at rapping.

    Kobe starts rapping at around 2:40.

    This is AI’s song.

    It seems like after Kobe died, lots of rappers paid him tribute. At least among Blacks, it seems like there’s a lot of mutual admiration between athletes (especially NBA players) and rappers.

  4. Anon[291] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Rollins is gay. I guess you can be macho and gay at the same time.

  5. I know that big 5 is a standard personality test, while Jung-based Myers Briggs is considered to be pseudoscientific. Never mind, I find it usable as a rule of thumb (not that I have much better opinion on cognitive psychology testing).

    Jung divided people into extroverts & introverts and posed 4 psychological functions: sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition.

    I guess athletes would be people in whom sensation, physical orientation in the world predominates, while musicians are feeling types. Of course, we all have all the functions, but it’s about dominance of psychological traits.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Kgaard
    , @JPP
  6. @JohnnyWalker123

    Sorry, this is Kobe’s rap.

    • Replies: @WJ
  7. AndrewR says:

    Painting with a very broad brush here, but I imagine being a pro athlete is generally so mentally and physically exhausting that you wouldn’t have much free time or mental energy to devote to becoming a serious musician

    • Replies: @Drew
  8. bjdubbs says:

    There’s a funny McEnroe / David Bowie story:

    “One night, I was in London in a hotel trying to get some sleep,” Bowie said. “It was quite late, like 11 or 12 at night, and I had some big deal thing on the next day, a TV show or something, and I heard this riff being played really badly from upstairs. I thought, “Who the hell is doing this at this time of night?”

    “On an electric guitar, over and over [sings riff to “Rebel Rebel” in a very hesitant, stop and start way]. So I went upstairs to show the person how to play the thing,” Bowie told Performing Songwriter with a laugh. “So I bang on the door. The door opens, and I say, “Listen, if you’re going to play… ” and it was John McEnroe! I kid you not (laughs). It was McEnroe, who saw himself as some sort of rock guitar player at the time. That could only happen in a movie, couldn’t it? McEnroe trying to struggle his way through the “Rebel Rebel” riff.”

    • Thanks: Mark G.
    • Replies: @Tim Smith
    , @Tom F.
  9. nebulafox says:

    >Was Eddie Van Halen a nerd? I suppose he was technically a guitar nerd if you want to get into it, but you don’t think of him as a nerd. Being a rock-n-roll god transcends nerdom pretty fast.

    I don’t think “nerd” is the right word, but he also wasn’t a stereotypical rock star personality in the way that a David Lee Roth was, part of the reason they couldn’t stand each other.

    I once read an interview where Eddie stated that he spent his teenage years secluded in his room. He’d get a six-pack of beer, lock the door, and hammer away at his guitar while his brother (who was an extremely good drummer, but not the kind of prodigy that Eddie was) went out to party and get laid. Later, when Van Halen would be on tour, the other three would go out and party, but Eddie wouldn’t. He’d get high and drunk, just like the rest of them, but he’d hole up in his hotel room and grab the guiar. The alcohol and the cocaine were stuff he’d use to lower his inhibitions and intensity focus, respectively. That kind of compulsive obsessiveness had a dark side, though: might have also had something to do with why Alex was able to embrace sobriety in the late 1980s when he realized things had gotten out of control with the booze, yet Eddie couldn’t.

    (Mixing an upper like cocaine and a downer like alcohol is a very, very risky game, but if it works for you, then it *really* works.)

    Interestingly, the Young brothers of AC/DC were similar: they had the “rock star lifestyle” available to them, but mostly weren’t interested in it. They’d tour the world, but they’d basically just stay shut up in their hotel rooms and jam on their guitars. They had zero time for hard drugs. Alcohol was another matter, but even there, Angus was a virtual teetotaler and Malcolm also cleaned up in the late 80s.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  10. Jay Fink says:

    Mike Reid also had a country hit of his own in the early 90s called “Walk On Faith”. It was a good song but he was a one hit wonder.

    I remember Shaq having a rap record out circa 1990.

    • Replies: @Single malt
    , @G. Poulin
  11. Jay Fink says:

    I had no idea he was gay. There has always been a link between macho men and homosexuality. Just ask the Village People.

  12. Jay Fink says:

    In my mind a true nerd wouldn’t be an alcoholic or drug addict period.

  13. There is Kris Kristofferson. An excellent college athlete, Golden Gloves boxer, an Army ranger and helicopter pilot, Rhodes scholar, and then wrote Me and Bobby McGee.

    • Agree: Hunsdon
  14. Polynikes says:

    No votes for Carl Lewis?

  15. Dmitri Shostakovich was football mad, avid supporter of Zenit Leningrad and even qualified as a referee. Does that count?

    Albert Camus was a very good goalkeeper. He was a writer, not a musician though.

    • Thanks: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  16. frankie p says:

    We should immediately disregard the famous athletes who used that fame to try to launch rap or soul or pop singles. That doesn’t demonstrate musical talent; that just shows that fame can be used to launch careers in musical styles that demand little or no talent.

    No, look at athletes who had musical talent before fame. Or on the other hand, look at musicians who were good or great athletes when they were young.

    Bill Evans, perhaps the most important jazz pianist of the second half of the 20th Century, was an avid sportsman. He played quarterback and led his intramural squad to the school championship in university, and both he and his older brother had the skills to consider becoming professional golfers. Not really sports related, but he also loved going to the race track and gambling on the horses. And he knew how to make money at it! I recall reading one of his drummers saying that Bill made more money than the drummer just at the track alone.

    • Agree: Coemgen
  17. RDMK says:

    Williams jammed with the Allman BB one night at the Beacon. Held his own, not easy. He wore a Yankee cap and got a great ovation.

    • Replies: @Prester John
  18. Drew says:

    It’s probable. My youngest brother played football his freshman and sophomore years, but didn’t pick up guitar until his junior year after he quit football. That said, he had a teammate who was in both football and band (WR and trumpet, respectively) who was offered scholarships for both, by different schools. IIRC, the kid suffered some sort of mental problem and was arrested the fall after he graduated for public indecency; he was caught standing naked outside the high school waving around a sign protesting the Iraq war. On general, though, both sports and music take lots of time to master, and are easiest to master in ones late teens or early twenties. Most people are in school at that time, so generally don’t have the spare time to master both unless they are prodigious or sleep-deprived.

  19. watson79 says:

    I was always found Joe Frazier was a genuinely good guy. Much more the type to have a beer with than the other famous guy he fought.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  20. Drew says:

    Steve, I believe that Justin Tucker of the ravens is a classically trained opera singer. And Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys was a pretty talented surfer (Brian Wilson was a star QB in high school too IIRC). Obviously neither of them went pro, do I’m not sure how relevant that is, but neither of them fit either the jock or nerd template particularly well.

  21. @Anon

    Rollins is gay.

    Rollins: “Wishful thinking. If I were gay, you’d know.”

  22. There’s a pretty good overlap w musician and military. Military isn’t quiiiite jock (many are failed jocks) but it’s not far off
    -Christopheron was an attack helicopter pilot
    -shaggy was in the USMC
    -James blunt (“you’re beautiful”) was a mid level Officer in a very well regarded BRITISH unit

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Polynikes
  23. I wish I had something to add on this topic other than envy, but I don’t. As a young man, the two careers that most appealed to me were professional athlete and professional musician. My rough guess is that I’m better than 90% of the population at both sports and music, but that’s far, far away from what it takes to be a professional.

    Two of my high school friends played in the NFL. A couple of acquaintances have been able to make careers on Broadway. All I can say is that professional athletes and musicians are incredibly talented people. They are not normal people.

    • Replies: @jon
  24. Anon[402] • Disclaimer says:

    My wife has a relative whose son works in sports management and Joe came to the son’s wedding along with Dennis Rodman. Joe got up and sang a very respectable “Mustang Sally” and also hung around for awhile for pictures and to be friendly. Dennis didn’t stay long.

    I had an old girlfriend who grew in Freehold a little after Springsteen. Her older brother claimed to have played ball with Springsteen but don’t remember him saying anything special about his talents.

    And I got up close to Bruce one time during a sound check before a 1981 concert. His was friendly and I shook his hand. He is shorter than you think and you would not have thought anything special if you saw him walking down the street. But don’t think he was working out then. His bio makes it sound like he may have still been eating junk foods at that stage.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  25. Thea says:

    Excelling in multiple talents is rare yet our universities are full of athletes on scholarships. It is a strange expectation that has Europeans scratching their heads as jocks aren’t typically known or their study skills.

  26. I think that Oscar de la Hoya’s dabbling into pop music was more successful than Shaq’s rapping though I agree that those sort of vanity projects shouldn’t really count here.

    I have heard the Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard is a nationally ranked ultra marathoner.

    Former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Phillippi Sparks’s daughter won a season of American Idol.

    On the math front, they said in the eighties that Huey Lewis had had a perfect 800 on his math SAT, well before the 1995 recentering that made 800 the new 700. And there is Brian May’s doctorate in astrophysics.

    Not math or music but Byron White was both a great athlete and a great jurist. He set a college football record for yards from scrimmage per game that stood for 50 years until Barry Sanders broke it, and he led the NFL in rushing twice in three seasons before heading for law school and eventually being appointed to the Supreme Court by JFK. It is going to be so good to have his seat on the Court finally filled in a fitting manner.

    • Replies: @Tim Smith
    , @njguy73
  27. Julio Yglesias was a goalkeeper in the reserve team of Real Madrid (until a car accident took him out), and then went on to an international career as a crooner that propelled him to stardom. Even his son Enrique cashed in on the music thing, even though he was no athlete.

    The common point between Julio the goalkeeper and Julio the singer was an extremely masculine level of testosterone always threatening to edge out the very professional composure, self-control, and discipline.

  28. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Future singer James Blunt was the lead tank commander in 1999 when NATO confronted Russia at the Serbian airport. Gen. Wesley Clark ordered opening fire on the Russians, but the Brits thought they could charm the Russians, so young Blunt was sent to parley, which worked out well.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    , @Tim Smith
  29. Trinity says:

    Yeah, my gaydar goes off when I see Henry Rollins spaz on the stage. It is a HUGE stretch to even call Henry Rollins a musician. Isn’t Henry Rollins Jewish? I know his politics reek of the typical Jewy things a Jew would say or think. From what I read of Rollins, he was an admitted nerd growing up and was constantly bullied by Blacks in his school in or near Washington, D.C. and he had a teacher teach him how to lift weights to build up his body. To his credit, Rollins admitted he is no tough guy. I basically still see a nerd who built up an above average physique, nothing more. He definitely is not an athlete or a guy who would be considered “masculine” IMO. I saw a comment about Rollins being gay, and I think there is a good chance he could be given he always avoids questions concerning his relationships with women. Probably a good chance the guy is just a loner though given his background.

    Joe Frazier being a good singer?? Oh, hell no, like Ali said, “who told him he could sing.” Frazier was pitiful as a singer. I cringed when I listened to him once try and sing, Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night.” My gawd on a scale of 1-10, I will be charitable and give it a 1.5.

    Eddie’s partner, David Lee Roth appeared very athletic on stage and I have heard he had a martial arts background. The jumps and moves displayed by Roth were pretty damn good, especially given that he was probably high or drunk when he performed them on stage. Roth was a GREAT ENTERTAINER, but face it, his over the top act was his talent, he was an average singer at best.

  30. Anonymous[770] • Disclaimer says:

    For example, Bruce Springsteen is a physical marvel: I saw him at Dodger Stadium when he was 53

    Why would anybody voluntarily see Springsteen? Good God, that tells me all I need to know.

  31. WJ says:

    Since he became a krispy critter last January, it’s forgotten that one Bryant’s claim to fame was a rap (e) in Colorado in 03.

    A cheap shot but the public grieving over this dead jock was just nauseating.

  32. Anonymous[128] • Disclaimer says:
    @frankie p

    There is still talent required for a sporting legend to turn his hand to music.

    Witness Tyron Woodley:

    Contrast with:

    Yes, RJJ had help, but he still rapped on this one. I don’t even like rap, but there is talent and it makes a great workout song. Not a one hit wonder either.

    RJJ is certainly in the conversation for best p4p boxer of all time, and T-wood is a champion but not on the same respective level. Maybe that helped in some way. His speed was out of this world, and he talked like it too.

    Oh, and Henry Rollins (this never gets old):

  33. @Trinity

    David Lee Roth got into rock climbing. Here’s Galen Rowell’s shot of Roth at Yosemite:

    • Thanks: Trinity
  34. Garlic says:

    Here’s what happens when musicians try to play sports:

    Background: the song is called “Jack’s Heroes”, sung by the Pogues and the Dubliners. It’s about the Irish national soccer team, being led by its legendary English manager Jack Charlton (who passed away earlier this year), and their attempts to make it to the World Cup.

    In the video, the musicians show themselves on the soccer pitch. It’s a spoof, but very funny.

    The lyrics contain fantastic verses like:

    Won’t a cheer go up,
    When the World Cup,
    Is raised on Stephen’s Green?
    Yes, it will!!

    The tune is “The Wild Colonial Boy”, notably sung in The Quiet Man:

  35. @Trinity

    David Lee Roth got into rock climbing. Here’s Galen Rowell’s shot of Roth at Yosemite:

    • Replies: @JMcG
  36. Trinity says:

    According to comedian Dave Chappelle, Prince was a helluva basketball player despite being only slightly taller than a midget. hehe. Prince did has some dance moves on him most definitely and was definitely fit and agile if that counts as being athletic. Not the most masculine guy around like Michael Jackson, but Jackson could move like no one else and while not what the average person would consider athletic, that sort of movement his athletic in my book. IF we go by what being athletic truly means, Michael Jackson and Prince definitely were more “athletic” than the current heavyweight champion of boxing, Tyson Fury.

    Being macho has nothing to do with being athletic. Fighters are some of the worst athletes on the planet outside of their chosen profession. Ever see Joe Frazier on that old sports program called, “The Superstars?” Look at current champ, Tyson Fury, my gawd, he runs like a spaz. Ever see Manny Pacquiao take swings in a batting cage? Mike Tyson shooting hoops? Speaking of Pacquiao, ever heard Manny sing? Well, as bad as Manny is, he is at least better than Joe Frazier.

    Speaking of being macho and athletic, didn’t Caitlyn Jenner formerly known as Bruce Jenner once sing with The Village People or at least he made a movie with them? Maybe, that is when things started going down hill for Bruce, oops, I mean Caitlyn.

    • Replies: @anon
  37. ATBOTL says:

    Henry Rollins is a total joke. He was the replacement singer in Black Flag, a band that almost no one ever actually listened to. He joined after they were well past their prime and almost all of their few fans had moved on and recorded some awful beyond belief albums that literally no one bought or heard. He then had an annoying novelty song on rock radio in the 90’s and never had another hit song after that.

  38. whahae says:

    There’s a pretty large number of soccer players who tried their hand at music but I can’t think of any who were really successful at both. Here’s one list (you can find many similar ones.)

  39. @Steve Sailer

    So, James Blunt stopped WW3 from happening? Cancel the appeasing bastard!

  40. Tim Smith says:

    McEnroe played in a band with Henrik Lundquist (former Rangers goalie, now with Capitals) and some other guys called The Noise Upstairs. They would play a bit around NYC. Lundquist played guitar on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show when the NHL lockout ended in 2013; I think he played “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.

  41. JMcG says:

    Springsteen blew up like a tick between Nebraska and Born in the USA. He was 35 in 84. I saw him that time around and he was noticeably bigger than before. My buddy said he wanted to find out what he was doing in the weight room, but in retrospect I’d say he got into the same stuff as Barry Bonds.
    Very unusual for a man of his age to be built like that after having been pretty scrawny through his twenties.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  42. JMcG says:

    I used to see him in a pool hall 25 years ago. Nicest guy in the world.

  43. Polynikes says:

    Hendrix was in the 101st briefly. But apparently he was such an apathetic soldier they dismissed him from the military altogether. I’m not sure how selection was back then but today you’d have to at least stand out a little in recruitment and basic to get sent to an airborne unit like that.

    • Replies: @David Ruskin
  44. JMcG says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Having Galen Rowell as your personal photographer is pretty funny.

  45. JR Ewing says:

    Justin Tucker is a flat out musical savant. He majored in music at Texas. He sings opera occasionally with the the Baltimore Symphony, can pick a mean country guitar (and sing), and I think he plays classical piano, too.

  46. Garth Brooks

    A bunch, like DLR, get into martial arts

    oh, and who can forget the greatest musician martial artist:

  47. Trinity says:

    Charlie Pride was a pretty good baseball player back when he was younger, good enough to play in the minors and have tryouts with the Mets and Angels. Charlie had to be tough as well, both mentally and physically. Imagine some Black country singer back then performing in some honky-tonk bar loaded with some good ole boys loaded up on Jim Beam and Pabst Blue Ribbon seeing a Black guy come out and start singing country. Charlie is a class act and a real gentleman. Talented singer, and a good enough athlete to have a tryout in the major leagues, maybe Charlie tops the list of singer/jock hybrids?

    • Replies: @Muggles
    , @Bubba
    , @Rohirrimborn
  48. anon[153] • Disclaimer says:

    I think Todd Rundgren who I always took as a navel-gazing arty rocker (but also did have some fratty type music too) was a good baseball player and his son plays or played in the Minor Leagues.

  49. @HammerJack

    Seems pretty unlikely that Rollins is gay although nobody here is going to know that. The thing that is so weird about Henry is the no drugs thing. Who ever heard of a rock star who doesn’t get high?

    I think he’s CIA myself.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    , @Excal
  50. Sean c says:

    There are some examples of athletes related to musicians, Kevin Love and Stan Love, Rohan Marley was a very good lb for Miami. Are there a lot of good tall 6’9″ to 6′ 11″ musicians? Of course now in the NBA a lot of players attempt to be rappers such as Meta World Peace.

  51. Michaeloh says:

    Charlie Pride. He wasn’t shy about reminding interviewers that he had a choice between playing pro baseball or Country music. Dont know much about his prospective baseball career but I can tell you that my Dad was once in Charlie’s home in Dallas. His son was a year or two older than me in a catholic high school. The music career worked out quite well for Charlie.

  52. Tom F. says:

    What a great story. I love these interesting connections. McEnroe discusses trying to get his pop/rock singer wife Patty Smyth (Scandal, and at one time considered as lead singer for Van Halen) to let him play guitar with her band onstage. She said she would do it, after he played mixed doubles with her at Wimbledon (story in Mac’s autobiography ‘You Cannot Be Serious’). Some more examples…

    Denny McLain, 31-game winner for Detroit Tigers in 1968, became a post-baseball professional keyboard player/singer with a lounge act. He had a short run as a duo with Joe Frazier, performing in The D.

    Blackie Lawless, leader of perennial undercard ’80s metal act W.A.S.P., was a pro baseball player until that topped out.

    Danny Gans was a pro baseball player, who then became a top Las Vegas singing impressionist.

  53. I went to a Henry Rollins poetry reading in 1987. The “opening act” poet was nervous and his poetry wasn’t great. Some big guy with a Mohawk haircut started heckling him. Suddenly Rollins comes out of nowhere, walks up to the Mohawk guy, and says, “SHUT THE FUCK UP.” Everyone was quiet after that.

  54. prosa123 says:

    Country music star Marty Robbins was a big fan of NASCAR racing nnd in the late 1960’s became a driver himself. He participated in several races each season and while not a superstar had a decent NASCAR career for over a decade.
    Trivia: Robbins did all that despite having chronic heart disease. Around 1970 he underwent one of the first couple hundred heart bypass surgeries in the world and by some accounts the very first one to involve three arteries. He lived another 12 years.

  55. prosa123 says:

    OT: NYC health authorities have ordered the cancellation of an upcoming wedding reception in Brooklyn that was supposed to have 10,000 people attending. News reports don’t mention ethnicities but it sure isn’t hard to guess.

  56. jon says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    All I can say is that professional athletes and musicians are incredibly talented people. They are not normal people.

    I don’t think most people realize just how good a professional athlete has to be. I played with a couple of guys that went pro. They were NOT good at the pro level. When I played with them, though, (one on my high school team, one on my college team) they were so much better than the rest of us that it was almost hard to believe sometimes. And yet, for all their greatness, they both spent a couple of seasons bouncing around on practice squads before getting cut for good.

  57. Coemgen says:
    @frankie p

    Charlie Rich is another “tops in his musical category” who was also a college football player.

  58. jon says:

    Rollins is gay.

    That would certainly explain his shitty politics. But honestly, I wouldn’t say Rollins is really all that athletic or that talented of a musician. He just works out a lot and had some musical success early that he has been able to ride.

  59. Abe says:

    Eddie’s partner, David Lee Roth appeared very athletic on stage and I have heard he had a martial arts background.

    Duff McKagen, GUNS N ROSES bassist, seriously got into martial arts after the band effectively broke up in the late 90’s. McKagen has the dubious honor of being the namesake for Duff Beer in THE SIMPSONS and was a raging Mic alcoholic during GNR’s heyday, but being a relatively intelligent, higher order sort of Mic, got his personal life together pretty well once unburdened from being in the biggest rock band in the world (not surprisingly he’s clearly in the best physical safe of any of the band members). Duff’s middle class striving has its predictable downsides of course- in his autobiography he mentions punching out a racist rock fan giving grief to Slash, GNR’s half-black guitarist, an incident not recalled by Slash himself in HIS autobiography. Being a “cool” sort of black guy- which everyone on here would agree means being the sort of person one could imagine partaking in any of several typical “white guy” interests among other white guys without constant digression into “blacketty-black-black” talk (by this measure Obama and Colin Powell ceased being cool black guys quite a while ago)- Slash does not mention ANY racist incidents directed against himself in his autobiography though I’m sure some must have happened and that the incident McKagan describes is true. Still, the hunger to play the virtuous white “ally” is so palpable in McKagan’s clawing for middle-class strange new respect it’s only a short step to fabricating racist incidents or at the least shedding crocodile tears of sorrow on Facebook for obvious race hoaxes one pretends to believe.

  60. Tom F. says:

    One more in Steve Sailer’s baseball player wheelhouse: Two-time All-Star Jim “Mudcat” Grant has a professional blues act, where he is the singer. For a long time he participated in the Arizona “fantasy camps” and would work a nice game where he got paid twice for the trip. He would do the camp, then invite the campers to his shows at the Tempe at night. No cover charge, but a split of the bar.

  61. George Thorogood played semi-pro baseball before making it as a musician.

  62. Terry Bradshaw, surprisingly capable
    Just saying

  63. Uber-jock Vanilla Ice was at one point almost managed by Chuck D, and one day away from being signed by Def Jam. He f-ed up – artistically – by trying to be the next MC Hammer, instead of a pre-Eminem. After his hit, he flipped his royalties into a property empire.

    Anyway, at one point he was the world’s No. 6-ranked jet ski racer.

  64. TWS says:

    I saw Johnny Bench sing, ‘Bad Blood’ on the Merv Griffin show. It was bad.

  65. Brian T says:

    The musicians I know all seem pretty uninterested in sport, even as spectators. I know one viola player (violist?) who works out a lot, but I think he does it for gay vanity reasons; he never mentions sport in conversation.

    The lifestyles of athletes and musicians must require very different body clocks. Athletes obviously need to eat carefully and get plenty of sleep, whereas the life of a musician (like that of a politician) presumably involves a lot of late nights, hotel dinners and, often, alcohol. I guess that’s one reason why the two worlds rarely overlap.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  66. FozzieT says:

    George Thorogood played semi-pro baseball back in the ‘70’s. Second baseman.

  67. Carmen Fanzone, who played baseball for the Red Sox and the Cubs in the early 1970s, was an accomplished trumpet player. As a Cub he played the national anthem at Wrigley Field once. After his very short playing career he played trumpet professionally. His wife, Sue Raney, was a four time Grammy Award winner.

  68. Denny McClain played the organ in nightclubs and at autograph shows. The bass player in Pearl Jam was an all state basketball player in Idaho. The lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, was one of the top fencers in Britain. A couple of times he was a contender for for the Olympic team. Only the top 20 qualify and Dickinson usually rated between 20 to 25. He was an assistant coach at one Olympia.
    Joe Strummer ran the London Marathon. This inspired me to run a marathon.

    • Replies: @Trinity
    , @Known Fact
    , @Rosie
  69. eee says:

    You have forgotten the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew, the most talented group of musicians ever to take the field.

    • LOL: Tim Smith
  70. Trinity says:

    Guns & Roses were a talented group back in the day and Slash is definitely one of the top guitarists of all time IMO, but I saw a video just last night as a matter of fact on YT where Rose put out some sort of t-shirt that read, “Live And Let Die With Covid 45” a few months back. I don’t keep up with Rose or GNR anymore, LIKE MOST PEOPLE, hehe, so this was news to me. Slash always did seem like a cool guy, especially for someone half Jewish and half Black, IF he were gay, he could be threefer, just like Jussie Smollet, haha, while Rose seems like a major asshole. I mean what kind of asshole parades around with a Charlie Manson t-shirt which Rose did back in the day while doing a horrible cover of the little known, “Look At Your Game Girl,” a Manson original. Matter of fact, you can compare the two versions on YT and clearly Manson’s version is much better. Hell, who can forget that Manson classic, “Garbage Dump,” Manson could have very well been the original (c)rapper.

    • Replies: @Abe
  71. Tom F. says:

    Slash’s book is really a ‘memoir’ and shouldn’t be taken as more than Saul Hudson’s “truth.” btw, I love these books and read them anyway. There was one racial incident he ‘recalled’ in the book, where he and Lenny Kravitz were drunk on the NY subway and accosted in a racial way. My thought is that if this really did happen, it was because they were drunk in public. But I don’t believe it, and Paul Stanley says Slash’s apology never happened. Slash also got disrespected by full Black kids in school. He actually told the story about a Black bully calling him “Solomon Grundy” and his confusion at what that meant. Guess he never had the curiosity to look it up and understand. Not a compliment.

    btw, his recounting of the nickname given to him by actor Seymour Cassell “because I was always zipping around, slashing all over the place” is incorrect. Cassell was goofing on him, as one of the meanings for “Slash” is debris resulting from the felling or destruction of trees, trimming junky branches from the logs. Also, not a compliment.

    • Thanks: Abe
  72. @frankie p

    Master P is a rare example of the reverse, a successful rapper who leveraged his fame to dabble in professional basketball.

  73. ziel says:

    One interesting one is Butch Trucks, the drummer for the Allman Brothers Band (and a fine pianist) and father of t0p-notch guitarist Derek Trucks, is the nephew of MLB pitcher Virgil Trucks who threw two no-hitters in 1952.

    And of course there’s Stan and Mike Love (and Mike’s nephew Kevin).

    Rod Stewart considered a sports career and tried out for a professional soccer club.

    Though I guess both Mike Love and Rod Stewart are both idiosyncratic singers and not particularly known for any special musical gift. Though Brian Wilson was his High School’s quarterback.

    • Replies: @Tim Smith
  74. Bobbocio says:

    Chad Brownlee retired from the NHL to become a successful country singer

  75. bjondo says:

    Majorettes usually are athletic.

  76. @JohnnyWalker123

    Yes the NBA all star game has become a black rappers convention.

    Shaq also released a rap album back in the 1990s, about the last time I watched the NBA with any degree of interest.

  77. @Anon

    don’t think [Bruce] was working out then

    He famously didn’t start working out until the Born in the U.S.A. album.

  78. I grew up with mostly athletic interests but took up music in my 20’s. After a few years of learning the basics of jazz guitar, I tried to find other people who were interested in playing music and came up short time after time. In contrast, I played pick up basketball throughout my 20s and early 30s and never had a problem finding a pick up game or reasonably competitive men’s league. My anecdotal hypothesis is that athlete musicians are a pretty rare genetic occurrence, requiring both a high level of body awareness as well as introspection. Musicians tend to be introspective and generally bad at communicating and basic team building skillsets like compromise. On the other hand, athletes tend to be less self-conscious and more conformist.

    That being said, surfing has produced a number of capable athlete-musicians: Jack Johnson, Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Donovan Frankenreiter to name a few. My observation is that surfing itself self-selects for athletes with a disposition for artistry. Much of surfing can be thought of as drawing lines on a water canvas.

    Some other thoughts on music in general: culturally, amateur musicianship is down and instrument dealers are struggling. I’m not going to look up the statistics but it is used to be a large number of pianos per household and now it is basically zero. Guitar was a cool cultural signal in the sixties and now it just makes people look like douches. That raises the barrier to entry and keeps the potential population of musician-athletes down. Athletes on the other hand are treated like gods in the US so everybody and their mother does pilates.

  79. @Abe

    Yes, Duff tries really hard to be respectable, which usually means lots of nods to liberal pieties. He emphasizes his punk background and youthful grunge-adjacent career in Seattle, since that distances himself from the LA hair metal label his band received.

    On the other hand his sobriety appears genuine and he clearly attempts to practice the principles of the twelve step world, including not overly trumpeting its tenets. He’s also as much of a family man as one might expect a rocker to be, with a wife and two teenage (now young adult?) daughters.

    • Replies: @Abe
  80. Richard Strauss and Carl Nielsen were avid hikers. Strauss even wrote his longest symphonic poem “Alpine Symphony” inspired by one of his hikes.

    Bach when he was 20 years old walked 200 miles (400-mile roundtrip) to study organ composition with Dietrich Buxtehude.

    Leos Janacek belonged to a gym and even wrote some music for his gym. I have no idea how or if the music was ever performed onsite.

    Mieczyslaw Karlowicz was an avid cyclist and died age 33 in a bicycle crash.

    That’s about all that comes to mind for classical dudes. Most were couch potato introverts and tended to be chubsters or ectomorphs.

  81. Williams, a Puerto Rican with an Anglo name, was an excellent ballplayer, not quite a Hall of Famer, but not far off: a 5 time all-star.

    You are giving Bernie way too much credit here. He maxed out at 9.6%, and I’m shocked it was even that high. He also finished in the top 10 in ALMVP voting only twice: 1998 (7th) and 2002 (10th). As previously alluded to it took him a long time to blossom, which frustrated Yankee fans. His drop-off was steep as well; there was a big game against the Blue Jays where they hit a sacrifice fly to center field, and Bernie 5-hopped the throw home. Even though it was known he had a weak arm, this was particularly embarrassing.

  82. Rosie says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    From what I understand, the classic virtuoso type would be the ISTP. This is also the most male-dominated type.

    Both musicians and athletes are sensing as opposed to intuitive types, though I would expect musicians to be more introverted, feeling, and perceiving, with jocks being more extroverted, thinking, and judging.

    I would be surprised if there was a musician/comedian correlation. It seems to me that low empathy, but not too low, is typical of comedians.

    Rosie’s pick for best macho rock star:

    Note: The nerd is strong in this one.

    See ~1:00 for BD at his most swoon-worthy.

    • Replies: @OilcanFloyd
  83. Tim Smith says:

    Mike Fisher (former Ottawa Senator and Nashville Predator) married Carrie Underwood, does that count as Jock vs. Musician?

    Matt Duchene signed with Nashville Predators largely because of the Nashville music scene. He plays guitar and sings.

    Derek Geary was a Boston Bruins draft choice who left training camp to try and make it as a composer and piano player. He released some of his own music, playing and compositions, and coaches hockey now in his hometown of Gloucester MA.

    Austrian skiing great Toni Sailer was a popular enough singer to release 18 albums.

    Barry Zito the former baseball pitcher retired to Nashville and has put out an album.

    Lance Rentzel was an Oklahoma running back and punter and NFL receiver who played for the Vikings, Cowboys and Rams. He was also a musician who sang, played piano and organ and was married to Joey Heatherton (who was a famous dancer and singer in the 1960s and 1970s). You can find his singing and music playing from back in the day online. His career was derailed by a couple of indecent exposure incidents where he exposed himself to young girls and a marijuana possession charge when he was still on probation from the indecent exposures. His legal issues seem more musical than athletic.

    Denny McLain (baseball) also played organ and put out a couple of albums and played in off-season, including shows in Las Vegas.

    Dean Martin was a boxer.

    Roberto Duran (boxer) was/is a Salsa singer.

    Bing Crosby played college baseball at Gonzaga and was part owner of Pittsburgh Pirates. He was also a big golfer.

    Kenny G the saxophonist is supposed to be a really good golfer.

    This might be the best jock/musician combo ever:

    Anthony Lavelli, Jr. (July 11, 1926 – January 8, 1998) was an American basketball player and musician. He averaged 6.9 points [1] per game during his two-year NBA career (1949–1951) while also providing half-time entertainment with his accordion performances.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  84. Plato wrote that people trained only in music would be effete, and people trained only in gymnastics would be brutes, so in the Republic they would be trained in both to end up ‘balanced’.

  85. @Trinity

    If you are really curious about the Rollins backstory, I would listen to his appearance the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, who really draws him out. Rollins isn’t Jewish per se, but his father was. His father was also the economist Paul Garfield, but the two of them haven’t spoken since Henry was 18.

    I don’t think Rollins is a musician either, even though he was the lead singer of a punk band. I don’t remember him playing any instruments, but I’m not enough of a fan to know if he ever played instruments.

    He actually reminds me of George Sodini, who shot up a Pittsburgh-area LA Fitness due to his lack of success with women, even though he lifted weights and was in shape. He was a systems analyst by profession.

  86. @HammerJack

    ‘Rollins: “Wishful thinking. If I were gay, you’d know.”’

    Lol. Rollins has always loved talking and writing about himself. If he were a sexual deviate, it woulda been common knowledge circa 1988 or before.

  87. Wikipedia reports that Barry Zito, the A’s Cy Young winner, became a musician.

  88. Tim Smith says:

    Rod Stewart considered a sports career and tried out for a professional soccer club.

    One of Rod’s kids, Liam Stewart, whose mother is Rachel Hunter, has played lower level professional hockey for a few years now and has represented Great Britain internationally.

    Rachel Hunter was herself intimately involved with hockey as the “girlfriend” of several NHL players while young Liam was growing up.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  89. >A lot of top athletes are actually pretty smart.

    The only people who say such things are former athletes who don’t want to believe that their high school teams were nothing more than social clubs that distracted them from academic pursuits. It’s like saying that a lot of academics are actually really good athletes. There may be some rare anecdotal evidence, but the percentages don’t hold up. The common putdowns of “meathead” for a jock and either “egghead or brainiac” for a nerd are actually close to reality.

  90. @Anon

    Dating back to elite Greek soldiers thousands of years ago

  91. Tim Smith says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Gen. Wesley Clark ordered opening fire on the Russians,

    In case anyone has forgotten, Gen. Wesley Clark is a Jew who desperately wanted to start a war with Russia. Losing control of the Soviet Union is one of the worst things to ever happen to the Jews and one of the best things for the Russian people. This story is also one of the few times where Brits are the good guys and not the bad guys.

  92. Pelé had something of a musical career. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist. He sang and played guitar on a couple hit singles in Brazil in the late 60’s. He later released an album in 2006 but it doesn’t seem to have done very well.

  93. Tom Scholz, Shaquille O’Neal are the only ones of any note i’m aware of. there’s no overlap in ability here. they are largely diametrically opposed. but not as opposed as athletic ability and writing ability. there are a lot more nerd jocks or jock nerds, by a factor of 100 probably. serious writing ability, one of the most rare talents, is just never found in concert with another high ability, and also seems like it cannot be passed on.

    “A lot of top athletes are actually pretty smart.”

    guess it depends on what you mean. being smarter than average for a jock can help you be better at sports, but not always. on the other hand, at the international level there are no genius athletes.

    “Top musicians tend to be smart.”

    this just isn’t the case. not sure why anybody would think that, unless you’re talking only about classical music. a lot of famous musicians are pretty dumb, even outside of studio pop music.

    “as well as between comedians and musical talent.”

    this is the actual connection – comedians are smarter than average and excel in observational rule forming. they interpolate and extrapolate well.

  94. @Hodag

    Prince was an All-city basketball player.

    Wow. I would not have guessed. I saw him at an airport once and he looked to be about 5’1, with heels. He must have had some mad ball-handling skills.

    An interesting variation on Steve’s athlete/musician dichotomy might be the cross-over (if any) between dancing and sports. In that case, physical skill sets are very aligned.* But the cultural expectations are essentially opposite.

    *OTOH, maybe they are different skill sets. When great athletes, who you’d think would at least be physically coordinated, went on Dancing with the Stars, they ended up being mainly for comic relief.

    • Replies: @Feryl
    , @Jackson Houston
  95. “There’s a known connection between mathematical ability and musicianship”

    this seems to be a persistent and widespread myth, similar to ones like people only using 10% of their brains. any time serious researchers try to look for it, they can’t find it. there is no well established connection between math ability and music ability. certainly by HBD standards, it’s the exact opposite. east asians have the best math ability but among the worst music ability, west africans vice versa, with basically no math ability at all whatsoever, but a natural sense of rhythm and harmony.

    i’ve pointed out how music training gets the exact same long term result as pouring billions into educational reform, but in reverse. in education, you put a billion into head start and special instruction for africans, but get zero college graduates with STEM degrees, while at the same time east asians require zero government programs to produce thousands of STEM degrees. meanwhile, you have a million east asians banging away on pianos and violins from age 4, which then produces zero appearances on Billboard Soundscan. whereas africans with little piano training write platinum selling music on piano. basically despite their fanatical grinding of piano, east asians produce almost nothing of value, while africans with little formal training have produced important piano and keyboard works.

  96. Tim Smith says:
    @Patrick Sullivan

    Not math or music but Byron White was both a great athlete and a great jurist.

    I saw something about Byron “Whizzer” White recently, that he wasn’t a judge when he was appointed but was a corporate lawyer in private practice. Apparently that was the last time a non-judge was nominated, much less confirmed. He was JFK’s friend and chaired his Colorado presidential campaign. I can’t help but to think that could never happen today. Both parties would flip out no matter whose President was nominating. God forbid anyone who isn’t “on-track” be allowed in.

  97. @Jay Fink

    He was also an accomplished classical pianist …

    “After receiving his BA in music from Pennsylvania State University in 1969, Reid would perform as a pianist for the Utah Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.”

    I saw a bit on tv about him about 50 yrs ago and was surprised that a pianist could endure a career as a defensive lineman without wrecking his fingers.

  98. @Anon

    If he was gay, would he have some actual musical talent? He really was best on his spoken word tours, just telling stories. But even that is no more. His woke cable special a couple of years ago sucked really hard.

  99. @Agathoklis

    Shostakovich was about as far from an athlete as you can imagine. Being a fan is very different from being a jock.

  100. Jay Fink says:

    It is disappointing for me to learn Henry Rollins is Jewish or half Jewish. One thing I used to like about Jewish men is we weren’t macho. I suppose Jewish men expressed their masculinity through financial success more than physical prowess.

    Rollins was the first semi famous man I know of to sport the hypermasculine look of big muscles and tattoos. He was doing this in the mid 1980s when hardly any men looked like that….of course for the past 20-30 years that’s all you see. I resent Henry Rollins for starting the hypermasculine trend.

    More recently I was horrified when I saw Adam Levine on a Superbowl halftime show with a chiseled body and covered in tatts. It is so disappointing for me to see a Jewish man look like that.

  101. What about Mick Jagger? He certainly has the stamina of a top endurance athlete. Seems coordinated as well.

    I think Roger Daltrey was also a decent athlete, and good at fighting by most accounts. Of course lead should singers are often not really musicians.

    Alex Lifeson (guitar player for Rush) is a brilliant musician and a decent golfer. That might count.

    • Replies: @Mark G.
    , @pirelli
  102. @Jay Fink

    Worst halftime show ever.

    Maybe second worst.

  103. pirelli says:

    I think part of the lack in overlap owes to the fact that most famous musicians and athletes started seriously dedicating themselves to their instruments or sports — as in, to the exclusion of other pursuits — at a very early age. Slash was apparently a good BMX rider growing up, but when he took up guitar at age 15 (which is actually late for a famous guitarist), that became essentially all he did (he also started skipping class to practice guitar under the bleachers). Anyone who “makes it” in sports or music is unlikely to have had much time left over during those crucial teenage years to develop pro level competence in other pursuits.

    Regarding whether musicians and nerds are cut from the same cloth, I think the answer depends heavily on (a) the instrument and (b) the genre of music.

    Classical violinists? Nerds, obviously.

    Rock guitarists and vocalists? Narcissistic “sigma male” types, but not really nerds.

    Keyboardists? Perverts, every last one of them. Compulsive onanists.

    Drummers? I think a lot of them were athletic kids. Dave Grohl said in an interview that he was athletic before he got into drugs and alcohol (at like age 13), and videos of him performing (both as drummer and front man) would seem to support that. Or watch Carter Beauford’s live drumming, which clearly requires an extremely high level of coordination. Then again, Keith Moon wouldn’t have been more than a stain on someone’s boot on the pitch, and likewise Mitch Mitchell and Ringo Starr.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  104. Trinity says:

    Damn, Thanks, I have McLain’s book, “I Told You I Wasn’t Perfect,” and forgot all about mentioning him. McLain’s love of Pepsi, he reportedly drank a case a day, real Pepsi not Diet Pepsi, his prison stint, all covered in this book. He even describes “working” at a bar with Leon Spinks in the Detroit area at one time and Leon was fired for stealing or taking cash out of the till, forget which, have to read the book again. McLain goes into detail about prison life, pretty damn miserable.

  105. anonymous[282] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve you forgot about Shaq’s rapping career. He didn’t have the most flow, but dropped a bit of a red pill:

  106. Handle says: • Website

    In addition to the perfect 800 SAT math score mentioned above, Huey Lewis was an all-state baseball player and is apparently also an excellent golfer. Maybe it has something to do with whatever reason The News named their most successful album “Sports”.

  107. Mark G. says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    What about Mick Jagger? He certainly has the stamina of a top endurance athlete. Seems coordinated as well.

    Jagger’s father was a physical education instructor who helped to develop Mick’s physical skills. Jagger Senior helped to popularize the game of basketball in Great Britain and wrote a book on basketball that at one time was the best selling book on basketball in Britain.

    I’ve long been a follower of the local Indiana Pacers basketball team. The Pacers used the number two draft pick in the 1985 draft to pick Wayman Tisdale. Tisdale was a talented jazz bass player. He released eight albums and his 2001 album “Face to Face” reached number one on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart. I don’t know of any other professional athlete who reached number one on any of the Billboard music charts.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  108. G. Poulin says:
    @Jay Fink

    Check out Chase Truran’s excellent cover of Mike Reid’s song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on Youtube.

  109. pirelli says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    I think Roger Daltrey was also a decent athlete, and good at fighting by most accounts.

    Yes, as Pete Townsend knew only too well.

    An earlier eruption by Daltrey in 1965 — during which he beat the living shit out of Keith Moon, who had attacked him after Daltry flushed Moon’s bag of drugs down the toilet — led to Daltrey briefly being kicked out of the band. He’d been more or less the band leader up until that point, or at least co-leader with Townsend. From that point onward though, it was Pete’s band (that was also when Townsend started writing big hits like My Generation, which of course contributed to the shift in power).

  110. Jocks never had to pick up a guitar to get laid, so most never learned.

    Musicians, being usually losers, had to pick up the guitar or no woman would’ve ever paid attention to them.

    By the time top-level jocks age out, they’re pretty tired. They’ve spent a lifetime concentrating on their sport and taking ‘roids and being broken and doing whatever. Switching that to learning a guitar the same way is tiring. Most people have only one career in them.

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    , @Kgaard
  111. JMcG says:
    @Brian T

    I used to have a buddy in the Phillies organization. The 93 Phillies team that won the pennant were very not interested in eating right and getting lots of sleep.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
  112. @nebulafox

    “Being a rock-in-roll god transcends nerdom pretty fast”

    Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neal Peart: Impeccably monstrous musicians who remained nerds despite their deification amongst their huge and international fan base who are mostly nerds.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  113. Kgaard says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Yeah good point. Musicians are generally NFs and athletes are SPs or SJs. It’s a much smoother transition for an athlete to move into business than into the arts.

    As for failed musicians … well … many of them can write or teach or just generally have a natural empathy that allows them to get by.

    A 19th century philosopher had a theory that you can’t do anything you’re not truly inspired to do for more than 6 months. I think that’s about right. You can only succeed by following heart-based inspiration.

  114. @James Braxton

    “There is Kris Kristofferson”

    A Renaissance man. The 60s and 70s cultural milieus worked perfectly with his rough edges. He could not have come before the the early 60s or after the early 80s when corporatization became a religion.

  115. @Tim Smith

    Neither William Rehnquist nor Lewis Powell were sitting judges when Richard Nixon nominated them to the Supreme Court in 1971. Rehnquist was an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department; Powell was in private practice in Richmond (Virginia), and had been president of the American Bar Association.

    Bill Clinton wanted to break the mold of appointing either federal or state appellate judges to the High Court, and first offered Byron White’s seat to Mario Cuomo, then in his third term as New York’s Governor.

    Cuomo was in the midst of budget negotiations with the Republican-controlled New York State Senate, and used that as his excuse for turning down a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. (“I can’t leave the people of New York State at a perilous time like this,” etc., etc.) More likely, as reports suggested at the time, Cuomo didn’t want to undergo the full-scale FBI vetting and background check all prospective federal judges undergo.

    Your point is well-taken, though: politicians stake out positions on all manner of controversial issues, either to make a name for themselves, help with fundraising, or even because they believe in the rightness of the cause (just kidding). Any position taken on such an issue can come back to bite you in a confirmation hearing, which is why Judge Barrett spent a lot of time batting away hypothetical questions (“Senator, I couldn’t possibly answer that, since cases involving facts similar to those in your question are making their way through the federal courts right now. For all I know, the Supreme Court will be asked to rule on one of these cases, somewhere down the road… “).

    But if Trump had nominated, say, Ted Cruz, who clerked for Justice Rehnquist, was the Texas Solicitor General, has been a top-flight appellate advocate in private practice, and is as qualified for the High Court as Amy Coney Barrett — the Left would have gone absolutely insane. (I know: how can you tell?) “How could you possibly replace RBG with a white, male, right-wing Senator who lacks any judicial experience?”

    In general, Republicans like to choose from appellate judges who have already shown themselves reasonably conservative. When George W. Bush went against type and nominated Harriet Miers, the outrage from the conservative intellectual/Federalist Society types was instantaneous and unanimous: here we spent time building a deep bench, and a GOP president doesn’t bother to use it? Fortunately, W. was persuaded to withdraw the Miers nomination, and select Samuel Alito instead. The episode shows the hazards of nominating someone who’s essentially a political crony.

  116. @Tim Smith

    “really good golfer”

    Golf requires practice and skill but it is not a sport. It’s a leisure activity usually accompanied by drink.

  117. @Hodag

    Prince was an All-city basketball player.

    Sadly, the champion Lakers left town when he was a baby.

    Jerry Jeff Walker was a starting forward on his high school basketball team, which advanced well into the postseason. I can’t find a picture, but here is one of Anthony Fauci elsewhere in the state the same year:

  118. prosa123 says:
    @Tim Smith

    Over the last 20 years or so Rod Stewart built what’s possibly the world’s largest and most elaborate model railroad setup. He’s now in the process of moving it from Los Angeles to Britain.

  119. Ted Plank says:

    I have known a handful of gals who have had “intimate relations” with Henry Rollins, and they laughed at the notion of him being a homo. Henry used to come into my record store in Hollywood all the time, is a total music geek, very knowledgeable, and was always very friendly if you stuck to music and talking about the Good Old Days of early 80s American Hardcore. He NEVER tripped off my gaydar, and this was a record store on the fringe of West Hollywood, that sold plenty of Judy Garland and Bronski Beat CDs. He never set off my Jewdar either (Aron’s was in a heavily Jewish neighborhood). Having caught several Black Flag shows during the Henry Rollins period, I saw Hank haul off and clock a couple different tormentors in various crowds. He knew how to fight, he wasn’t a pansy pretending to be a tough guy.

    The lead vocalist of The Village People, Victor Willis, was also straight. Everyone around him was gay, but the voice you hear on the big hits is that of a heterosexual black man.

    I can’t believe Steve or any of the commenters so far didn’t pick up on the Mike Love of The Beach Boys / younger brother Stan Love of The LA Lakers / San Antonio Spurs connection. One Rock Star in the family, one nationally acclaimed athlete in the same family. Stan’s son Kevin currently plays for The Cleveland Cavaliers.

    • Replies: @Tom F.
  120. Sean says:

    Springsteen admits that his stage personality is a concoction based on his macho dad while his own personality is largely inherited from his artsy mom. Tom Petty said much the same thing. Prince didn’t even try.

    Personality and brains mostly from mother, but as Level 42 sang in Running In The Family, we all have our daddy’s eyes. And muscles too I suppose..

    Douglas Springsteen suffered from mental health problems. There is no question in my mind that artistic ability goes with a tendency to very serious mental illness among relatives.

    A lot of top athletes are actually pretty smart

    A bouncer who worked in a nightclub frequented by (mainly white) pro athletes told me different , he described them as “morons”. Muhammad Ali failed the IQ test for the Draft. Journalists fed their families reporting on him, so he was reported on like he was the black Einstein. The connection of Joe Frazier’s boxing to his great sense of complex (and very African) rhythm. 3:37

  121. Ted Bell says:

    I’m no rap fan, so I can’t comment on how good he was. But Roy Jones Junior was known to do a concert immediately before stepping in to the ring, and he released at least a few albums. In an unrelated note, he was plainly the inspiration for Chris Rock’s “Terry Armstrong” skits.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  122. @Hodag

    Prince was an All-city basketball player.

    Where, Munchkin Hills?

  123. Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, was a (moderately) successful rocker before breaking into professional wrestling (apparently both angles were worked to get girls…) But interestingly says he wasn’t much into sports in HS…

  124. Anonymous[128] • Disclaimer says:

    Can you find a photo? In my mind he has an attainable natural physique that starts by simply being in the weight room (most people don’t). Not overly vascular and traps aren’t huge either.

  125. Another clue that Springsteen wasn’t much of a baseball player is that he used the term “speedball.” A fastball has been called a speedball by approximately no one ever in the history of the sport. It even has the same number of syllables as fastball so that can’t be the reason. Maybe as a musician he confused the term for the lethal mixture of cocaine and heroin that killed John Belushi for a type of baseball pitch.

  126. usNthem says:

    Look at Brett Young (country music star) – major league pitcher physique, but his arm crapped out after a year or two of college ball – and thus, music.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  127. Feryl says:

    Rollins isn’t gay, but is neurotic with a lot of intimacy issues. He has a lot of childhood baggage related to his father and to bullying. Also, Rollins no drug stance is something that only straight guys ever get into (gay men are notorious drug abusers).

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  128. Feryl says:

    Dancing is about fine coordination, most sports are about explosive power (running, jumping, punching, tackling, lateral cutting, etc). Incidentally, football kickers tend to be the smallest and weakest players; I suspect they are better dancers than the non-kickers.

    Not that many people possess the power to be high end athletes, but most women are capable dancers If they lay off the ho-hos.

  129. Tim Smith says:
    @Gary in Gramercy

    Neither William Rehnquist nor Lewis Powell were sitting judges when Richard Nixon nominated them to the Supreme Court in 1971.


  130. @prime noticer

    on the other hand, at the international level there are no genius athletes.

    Jose Mourinho, peripatetic soccer manager of various teams — Porto, Chelsea, Manchester United, and now Tottenham Hotspurs — was famous/infamous for giving all his players IQ tests.

    At Chelsea, his star midfielder and England international Frank Lampard, reportedly scored 150.

    Lampard now manages Chelsea.

    Frank didn’t interview much as a player, but as a manager in the Premier League, you have to face the press regularly. He certainly sounds pretty smart.

    I have a nephew who played high level soccer, and one of his coaches once told him that the best soccer players instinctiveo know trigonometry.

  131. Did I overlook the name, or was Kevin Love simply not mentioned?

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
  132. @Tim Smith

    Even then, being a former Heisman Trophy runner-up helped Whizzer. Jock sniffing isn’t a modern phenomena.

  133. Violinist Vanessa Mae 🎻 is a great musician and she also took part in the Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sotchi as a ski racer ⛷️…

  134. Muggles says:

    re: Charley Pride

    Back in the 60s, I think, Mr. Pride worked at the Anaconda copper smelter plant in E. Helena, Montana.

    My next door neighbor worked there and later became manager. He knew Pride, though I never met him.

    Pride would play locally, had a good reputation. One of the very few black people there and the only local musician who later became quite famous in Nashville. Don’t know how he ended up in Montana, perhaps for the job. Or he might have been recruited to play in the local Helena AA baseball team, the Helena Brewers. That would have been part time at best.

  135. @flyingtiger

    Bruce Dickinson also became an airline pilot — big jets and everything, which is a weird occupational overlap. Sure don’t want to look in the cockpit and see anyone from AC/DC or Slayer

    • Replies: @flyingtiger
  136. @Rosie

    During my freshman year in high school, Iron Maiden was in town on the same night as the opening night of football season. Half of the band and a good number of the football players were missing. They went to the concert.

    • LOL: Rosie
  137. anon[153] • Disclaimer says:

    Tyson Fury famously sang (pretty well) (a very long version of) ‘American Pie’ after winning the title against Wilder.

    • Thanks: Trinity
  138. Mike Tre says:

    Danny Carey of Tool (better than Peart, Copeland, Bonham, you name it) is 6’ 5” and big fan of basketball, and wears basketball jerseys when he performs.

  139. Abe says:

    Slash always did seem like a cool guy, especially for someone half Jewish and half Black

    Common mistake- despite the Hebraic first name Slash is not, in fact, half-Jewish (‘Saul’ being the given name of some artist admired by his British father).

    while Rose seems like a major asshole. I mean what kind of asshole parades around with a Charlie Manson t-shirt which Rose did back in the day while doing a horrible cover of the little known, “Look At Your Game Girl,” a Manson original. Matter of fact, you can compare the two versions on YT and clearly Manson’s version is much better.

    All three GNR autobiographies agree Axl was a headcase and a control freak. Still, he was the intellectual of the band and the one who imbued it with whatever artistic credibility it ultimately achieved (he selected the artwork for both their album covers and I have to say the USE YOUR ILLUSION ones still look pretty cool to this day- better in fact, than the majority of alternative/grunge album covers from that same decade, which almost all seem to unimaginatively ape a sort of Robert Maplethorpe transgressive shock art style).

    Axl was unfortunately never quite able to transcend his Indiana redneck roots and all his stabs at serious artistry come of as lame and try-hard, including his ‘edgy’ invocations of Manson. To be fair, though, altrock “It Boy” Trent Reznor did the same thing (recording DOWNWARD SPIRAL at the house where the Manson murders took place) with far less listenable results. And for all Axl’s faults he was a shrewd enough businessman. I was grinning with contempt many years ago reading a NYT article (written while it still hadn’t come out) about what a total catastrophe the making of the CHINESE DEMOCRACY album had become (its title itself another hamfisted Axl attempt at artistic seriousness- Chinese democracy- so desirable yet so difficult to achieve- deep, man). Yet the article ends with Axl driving away from another bust meeting with Geffen executives smiling in his Ferrari. What gives, considering GUNS hadn’t come out with an album in over a decade by then? Well, genius, Axl had kept the rights to the GUNS brand, and instead of selling new material at $0.99 a song to the tiny number of music fans still buying silver discs instead of downloading it all for free over Napster he was selling the GnR classics at $10/song to live audiences again and again and keeping probably 70%+ of the 8-figure nets by being the only full member of GUNS left standing (all the other musicians playing live with him were contract players). Whatever his faults, Axl was no dummy.

  140. The huge ’60s hit A Taste of Honey was co-written in a matter of minutes by a little-known guy who often played low-level thugs very convincingly on the old Hawaii 5-0. As far as being athletic, he suffered a fractured skull in a diving accident — does that count?

    This is one of those bios that needs to be seen to be believed.

  141. Dancers and athletes share body-centricity, strength and coordination. But dancing is (or can be, or usually is) also about expression, beauty, spirituality, eroticism in the larger sense, and letting the music have its way with you. Those aren’t generally important concerns for athletes. An interesting thing to ponder is the similarities and differences between gymnasts and dancers. Gymnasts do amazing things, and they often do those things to music, but they aren’t dancing.

  142. Abe says:
    @John Milton’s Ghost

    Yes, Duff tries really hard to be respectable, which usually means lots of nods to liberal pieties. He emphasizes his punk background and youthful grunge-adjacent career in Seattle, since that distances himself from the LA hair metal label his band received.

    On the other hand his sobriety appears genuine and he clearly attempts to practice the principles of the twelve step world, including not overly trumpeting its tenets. He’s also as much of a family man as one might expect a rocker to be, with a wife and two teenage (now young adult?) daughters.

    Right, from a guy who was the real-life embodiment of Duff Man (down to his pancreas almost bursting due to rampant alcohol intake before turning 40) he really seemed to turn his life around. My favorite anecdote was his taking business classes at a local Seattle area community college after leaving GUNS. A key creator of the biggest and- I have to say- best debut rock album of all time sitting in a Business Administration 101 class at Podunk Community College and GUNS being uncool enough at the time for it not to have become a total circus and him being left alone enough to take the course is too much.

    His story is a bittersweet one to me. Yes, he escapes his prole white roots of domestic violence and substance abuse through intelligence and fortitude- but for what? To ultimately become an approval-seeking good white douche? (he humorously recounts his tour bus etiquette of each dude turning his butt to the other when squeezing down the aisle to avoid any crotch-to-butt or heaven forbid! crotch-to-crotch contact- hey, Duff Man ain’t no fag! I can bet you $100 that if called on the implicit homophobia of that passage by some SJW creep he’d abjectly apologize now). The white person tragedy, I guess…

  143. @RDMK

    I heard him do Bach and some classical Spanish guitar compositions. He is easily as talented as a musician as he was as a baseball player.

  144. Counterpoint: DEION SANDERS.

  145. Most of the athlete musician combos mentioned tend to be singers who, speaking as a bar band musician, usually need the least amount of practice at their craft when compared to those that play instruments.

    Most singers I’ve worked with can kind of just show up and do their thing. The rest of us our mainly practicing all the time

  146. Rosie says:

    The lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, was one of the top fencers in Britain.

    I don’t know if he’s still fencing or not, but he is still in excellent physical condition, astonishingly so for his age.

    • Replies: @No0biE
    , @Abe
  147. @Steve Sailer

    Pretty cool, the Joe Frasier ref. He was on the stern show years before Stern went satellite. K Rock outta NYC. It was right after Joe sliced off a couple of toes with his mower. They were goofing on him about it. He was a funny guy. He wrote and sang a ballad to that cow Robin Quivers. I can’t remember who, but he reminded me of some jazz guy with the timbre of his voice leavened with gravel. He didn’t deserve Ali’s horseshit.

    As you were..

  148. @pirelli

    As I’ve mentioned a million times, drummer Alex Van Halen’s son was on my son’s baseball team. Aric Van Halen was a fast little guy, a good centerfielder and lead off hitter who stole a lot of bases. Probably the MVP of the team. He went on to be one of the better high school cross country runners in the San Fernando Valley. His cousin Wolfgang would come to some of his games. Wolfgang Van Halen seemed more the sensitive musician type compared to his cousin being a good jock.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  149. No0biE says:

    Wrestling world champion J’den cox is a talented musician. His kind, thoughtful personality is a marked contrast to his fearsome physicality.

    Overall I agree there is little overlap which makes one appreciate the exceptions like J’den. Musicians are a feminine bunch, even the “hypermasculine” rappers, many of whom are bi or “down low”. For a good example of this, here is a pre-fame interview with the best rapper of all time, Tupac Shakur:

    • LOL: JMcG
  150. No0biE says:

    It’s called steroids

    • Replies: @Rosie
  151. p s c says:

    Baltimore Raven PK Justin Tucker is an excellent (opera type) singer and is one of the best kickers in NFL.

    This thread includes many mentions of Joe Frazier …. a couple of stories…. my brother and mother attended a wake for a tavern owner who was also active within the boxing community of the Philadelphia area. Joe and his son Marvis Frazier were standing in a very long line outside of the funeral home like everyone else. Joe Biden pulls up and skips the line and enters funeral home.

    Joe Frazier could have performed the same maneuver as Biden due to his being former Heavyweight champ and being beloved in the Philadelphia region ….but he stood with the regular people.

    I was in a bar in Cape May NJ during summer in the early 90’s and the place weas jumping …. live band …. Joe Frazier walks in along w son Marvis and singer of band acknowledges his arrival and the crowd went nuts cheering. Joe shook hands, waved to the crowd, and pretty much enjoyed the rest of the evening w everybody else. Man of the people.

    • Agree: JMcG
  152. @Ted Bell

    I’m no rap fan, so I can’t comment on how good he was. But Roy Jones Junior was known to do a concert immediately before stepping in to the ring, and he released at least a few albums.

    Y’all musta forgot…

    RJJ’s only issue was that he fell into the trap of hanging around well past his sell by date. He didn’t seemed to realize that his athleticism was going to taper off one day.

    RJJ at his best was supernatural. He was so fast he made other top shelf pros look like foolish toddlers.

    RJJ fights were far and away one of the best things about the 90s.

  153. @usNthem

    Morgan Wallen was offered a scholarship to play baseball in college:

    One of the guys in Florida Georgia Line also received a baseball scholarship to Florida State, but realized he didn’t have the talent to compete at that level:

  154. @Feryl

    Rollins isn’t gay, but is neurotic with a lot of intimacy issues.

    I dunno man…Rollins really overcompensates in a lot of his screen roles:

    Also, he sounds awfully queeny in recent interviews:

    Still, the 90s were so much more fun than the past 2 dogshit decades.

  155. @OilcanFloyd

    True – I thought he was great in “Failure to Launch”.

  156. Think what you will of Mr. Springsteen’s music (nah), but years ago one of his smarter fans told me that Boss had his then-$300M fortune tied up in municipal bonds.

    The story is that Boss was inspired to write his post-9/11 album by seeing (from a vantage point in the NJ highlands) the spotlights above the smoldering WTC.

    I think his inspiration came from the exhilarating realization that his Port Authority NY/NJ bond portfolio was secure.

    Why do little people, e.g. poor slobs who have to scrounge for the $20 toll charged to get across the Hudson River, love him so much?

    • Replies: @JMcG
    , @obwandiyag
  157. Eric Show, pitcher, carrer era 3.66, jazz musician, depressive, addict, suicide.

  158. Brandon Flowers of The Killers has a cousin ten-years older, Craig Barlow, who was a pro golfer. Flowers golfed and was thinking about following his cousin: “Had Brandon Flowers’ car not been stolen when he was in high school, he might have been a golfer instead of the frontman of a group that’s sold more than 2o million albums. When the car was stolen, along with the golf clubs he’d left in the trunk, Flowers had recently begun hanging out with more creative types who got him into playing music. When the car was eventually recovered, the clubs were gone, he tells TIME: ‘I just decided I wasn’t going to buy another set and I followed the music.’”

  159. Bubba says:

    Definitely agree – great comment.

  160. Rosie says:

    It’s called steroids

    Remind me why steroids and diet pills are illegal again.

    • Replies: @No0biE
  161. @Morton's toes

    The Nuge says he’s never touched drugs. And he is exponentially more talented than Rollins.

  162. @Known Fact

    The drummer of Iron Maiden had a multi engine rating. He encouraged Bruce to try flying. Before you know it Dickenson has enough training and hours to become a commercial pilot.
    Iron Maiden’s bass player, Steve “Bomber” Harris was a professional soccer player for four years. I think he played in their minor leagues. Then he started the band.

  163. @JMcG

    “’93 Phillies” it worked for them, if for one season only. My favorite team of all time. A bunch of misfits.

    • Agree: JMcG
  164. njguy73 says:
    @Patrick Sullivan

    And the 1987 NL Champ St Louis Cardinals had not one, but two players who had kids who competed on Idol: Ozzie Smith, Jr. and Shannon (daughter of Joe) Magrane.

  165. Abe says:

    I don’t know if he’s still fencing or not, but he is still in excellent physical condition, astonishingly so for his age

    I saw him and IRON MAIDEN live last year before COVID. Seats were too far away to get a good look at his condition but he had no trouble running around the stage or scaling the, to be frank, Spinal Tap-ish stage scenery (was accompanying a friend to the concert; I am more pro-IRON MAIDEN in concept than in actual execution).

    • Replies: @Rosie
  166. @Gary in Gramercy

    To partially borrow the Sailer phrase, Supreme Court nominations are different in this era of The Great Credentialing.

    The fact that Barrett is a Domer certainly runs against the current current, but only partially so. Aside from that she is true to type.

    Though you can do worse, lots worse, than have the Federalist Society do your first round vetting.

    Aside from the horror that the Federalist society types had, was there any indication that Miers had the intellectual firepower to sit on the court?

    In one of his many entertaining talks, Scalia said that people have no idea what happens at the Supreme Court because a substantial portion of the cases they cert have to do with administrative law, which, of course, requires you to deal with convoluted legislation and a thicket of case law.

    It struck me that as a super smart guy who loved of plain clear prose and, of course, not being too keen on the administrative state in general, he was highly irritated about that reality.

    • Replies: @Curle
  167. No0biE says:

    I don’t maintain a position that they should be. Just pointing out that it is not quite “astonishing”.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  168. Anon55uu says:

    More surprised about Henry Rollins being woke than gay (and un-woke and gay seems to be on the increase) given I remember reading that he was a witness or possibly victim of a gruesome home invasion robbery by youths of color.

  169. MBlanc46 says:
    @Mark G.

    I believe that Jagger played some club cricket.

  170. anonymous[304] • Disclaimer says:

    Rollins barely qualifies as a musical artist and he’d probably tell you so. He admits to not being able to play an instrument and his vocals are mostly spoken or shouted rather than actually sung. He would be incapable of performing a solo musical concert.

  171. Excal says:
    @Morton's toes

    That’s a very old rumour, probably started by Rollins’ many adversaries in the punk schoolyard. I don’t think it’s true. If it is, he hides it well.

    There are quite a few rock stars who have stayed clean, often after seeing the long-term effects of hard living up close. I can’t be bothered to fetch examples right now, but one that seems to surprise people is Frank Zappa — he didn’t even drink.

  172. @Hypnotoad666

    Emititt Smith did win Dancing with the Stars once

  173. JPP says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    On the subject of musicians’ sensibilities for the hard and physical, I’ve always enjoyed the following quote of Hindemith, who briefly served on the front in WWI, which concerns the suitability of composers for war (a sphere not too far off from that of athletic competitions) : “I can hardly imagine most musicians as soldiers. Bach as a staff-sergeant (handing over a pair of oversized boots), that would be okay, but Beethoven practicing rifle drill, Mozart throwing hand-grenades or standing guard in front of a barracks; Schubert as an air force lieutenant and Mendelssohn as an NCO at a vehicle fleet convoy? They are inconceivable.” Hindemith’s contemporary Ravel didn’t seem to have much of an appetite for the front either, in spite of sincere efforts. And come to think of it, I could list a whole host of other front rank twentieth century composers who were about as well cut out for the wars of their era as Pierre Bezhukov was for Tolstoy’s Borodino.

    Though I don’t feel inclined to pursue the matter here, I would submit that, interestingly, the situation in terms of personality match differs quite a bit for the case of poets….

  174. How about Michael Flatley “The Lord of the Dance.” His Wikipedia seems borderline unbelievable, but as far as I can tell it’s all true. Here’s just a taste:

    He began dancing lessons at age 11 and at age 17 was the first American to secure a World Irish Dance title at the World Irish Dance Championships, the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne.[1] He is also an accomplished flautist, having won twice in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil Concert Flute competitions from 1975-1976 and later in his career having released two albums.[2] In his youth, Flatley also practiced amateur boxing; at age 17 he won the Chicago Golden Gloves Championship title.[3]

    To make it even worse he is apparently a very nice guy and his wife (yes wife) looks like this:

  175. A few more tidbits on Flatley…he was a top student while doing his boxing/dancing/flute playing and he was accused of rape by some strumpet and she ended up having to pay him $11,000,000!

    The guy was Superman.

  176. @Excal

    A lotta good that did him. Dead at fifty-two.

  177. Sparkon says:

    Not too many noteworthy crossovers between sports and music, and not too many athletes who kill theselves already in their 20s and 30s, like Janis Joplin, dead at 27 of a heroin overdose in 1970, just 16 days after the death of Jimi Hendrix, who was also 27. In 1969, Rolling Stones lead man Brian Jones drowned, aged 27. In 1971, Jim Morrison died in Paris, also at the age of 27. In 1994, Curt Cobain killed himself, aged 27.

    One jock who did in 2019 was Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, dead at the age of 27.

    Generally speaking, athletes traditionally had to take better care of themselves than musicians, but performance enhancing drugs have found an infamous place in sports. Doping is the main reason I don’t pay that much attention to sports any more. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Armstrong, and all the other dopers pretty much ruined it.

    Consider two big stars of sport and rock from the 1950s, say, Elvis Presley and Mickey Mantle. Mantle acknowledged he didn’t really take good care of himself, but despite all the boozing, The Mick still lived to be 63, while Elvis died at 42, after years of abusing a host of drugs.

    Getting back to Kris Kristofferson and something good, I think his version of “Me and Bobby McGee” is by far the best.

    Kris Kristofferson – “Me and Bobby McGee”

  178. @Ben tillman

    Yeah. I was going to comment about Kevin and Mike Love, but CTRL-F revealed that it had been covered already. See, e.g., comments 53 and 77. So, too, was Denny McClain, the other “musician” of which this post reminded me.

  179. anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    Frank Sinatra- famous barroom brawler also noted for his vocals.

  180. The best example I can think of is Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers. Basketball captain, Fraternity president and Accountant of the year at college.

  181. anonymous[304] • Disclaimer says:

    It surprises me that no one has mentioned Bruce Hornsby. He was a high-school basketball player and his two sons earned D-1 scholarships . One ran track for Oregon and the other played basketball for LSU.

  182. @Polynikes

    Hendrix wanted out, so he did some goofy shit like jacking off in the mess hall. Edgar Allen Poe got booted from West Point by coming to formation buck naked, so artists are known for a a love/hate thing with the military. In Poe’s case it was a rebellion against his step father, as he actually loved the military. But strange is strange and creativity brings it out in the artistic mindset. Jimi wasn’t a bad soldier per se; he was popular with his mates, and only a stud made it through airborne school in the 60s, but let’s face it — Jimi was Jimi and being an E-nothing in the Army wasn’t going to outweigh being a professional musician during the Psychedelic era. As in lots of P***y vs. scrubbing latrines and doing KP…. Yeah, didn’t think so. So Hendrix got himself a Section 8 and the world was changed. We also have to remember that this was the draft era, so it’s not like he had a lot of options in the first place. Still, he made it to a tough Airborne unit (101st) and was respected by some of the toughest soldiers in the world, so there’s that. As an Airborne soldier, I can guarantee that Jimi was not pathetic, just different.

    Hoo Aah Jimi!

    • Replies: @JMcG
  183. Prince didn’t even try.

    But still, Prince was the Macho Michael Jackson.

  184. @SunBakedSuburb

    huge and international fan base who are mostly nerds.

    Today they are a nerd band. But at their peak Rush was adored by jocks. I went to a Rush show in ’85 with my college room-mates who were all varsity football players and all die hard Rush fans. The nerds were the early adopters and the nerds stuck with Rush over the years, but even now I would bet Canadian hockey players still listen to “Tom Sawyer” and “Red Barchetta”.

  185. @Steve Sailer

    Maybe Wolfgang has more of the Valerie Bertinelli genes. In general the Dutch seem to be better athletes than they are musicians. At least the ratio of great Dutch athletes to great Dutch musicians seems strongly biased in favor of the former. I would put Norwegians in the same camp.

    Metal – a genre that is popular in Northern Europe – is also known more for the physical demands it makes on musicians (speed, precision, energy) rather than musicality. Probably not an accident.

  186. @Trinity

    Good comment. That reminded me that the very gay and talented singer Johnny Mathis was an elite track and basketball player in the early 1950s.

  187. JMcG says:

    I agree. I was in Ireland years ago, and there was a story in the paper about how he had chartered a plane to fly his daughter’s horse across the Atlantic for her appearance in the Dublin horse show. I think he had a couple of lines in his Broadway act to the effect that he couldn’t believe people believed his bs. The crowd lapped it up.

  188. JMcG says:
    @David Ruskin

    Did he actually go to jump school? My father went in 61 and then went with me when I made my first jump (civilian) when I was 16. He was hard as nails.

    • Replies: @James Braxton
  189. Dan Smith says:

    Marty Liquori, a top American middle and long distance runner of the 70s, did TV sports for awhile, then started a second career as a jazz guitarist.

  190. @R.G. Camara

    ” Musicians , being usually losers, had to pick up the guitar or no woman would’ve ever paid attention to them”

    I guess you mean myself, a Jazz player (winds) of fifty years plus, world traveler, married to a still beautiful retired ( female) teacher, and able to pick up his horn to this day, flute or saxophone, and blow swinging solos one after another til he’s exausted

    You are full of shit, and have no vague clue as to the nature of musician personalities.


    • Agree: Rosie
    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    , @Rosie
  191. anonymous[751] • Disclaimer says:

    Not really helping your point since if ANYONE in music was CIA….Zappa would have to be your first choice.

    • Replies: @Excal
  192. For these kind of questions you can use PetScan:

    It lets you find the intersection of two different categories on Wikipedia.

    It you put ‘American sportspeople’ and ‘American musicians’ on two separate lines in the ‘Categories’ box, and a number between 2 and 5 in the ‘Depth’ box (you have to experiment a bit), then it will come up with a load of people who are both ‘American sportspeople’ and ‘American musicians’.

  193. @Authenticjazzman

    So your counter to my argument….is to admit that, yeah, playing music made you get a pretty girl, travel the world, and make money.

    Quit being butthurt.

  194. Rosie says:

    Spinal Tap-ish stage scenery

    Agree. Drama has always been an important part of the IM style, and I would imagine that is one of the problems with being a pop artist. How do you grow but stay yourself at the same time? IM certainly doesn’t need gimmicks. They are one of a handful of bands I still listen to from my angry misfit headbangin’ days.

  195. Rosie says:

    You are full of shit, and have no vague clue as to the nature of musician personalities.

    His claim that musicians so music to get laid says more about him and his nature than about musicians, men or women.

  196. Rosie says:

    I don’t maintain a position that they should be. Just pointing out that it is not quite “astonishing”.

    The selective paternalism of TPTB really makes one wonder. They’ll let you buy all sorts of junk food, but then get. all concerned when people want to access PEDs to help them cope with the aftermath.

  197. @JMcG

    I doubt it. A jump record was not in his army records that were FOIAed and released to the public.

  198. Kgaard says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Jocks are probably on a faster life-path generally. Apparently some people age quickly (which benefits them in youth) and others age slowly (so they peak later).

    Musicians are not losers. You have to be pretty smart and intuitive to be good at an instrument. You also have to LOVE it. Musicians do not get good unless they are in love with the sound of the instrument. So the notion of guys picking up instruments to meet girls … it’s not that consistent with what happens in reality.

  199. @Excal

    Zappa had a D.C. origin in common with Rollins. Fugazi also from D.C. also notoriously straight edge. Some social scientist should correlate party animalism amongst middle class whites from D.C. and not from D.C. The schools there maybe might do the best job of daring to scare the crap out of their students.

  200. Jocks and musicians both suck.

    But each in their own special ways.

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
  201. @Abolish_public_education

    So there oughtta be a law against rich people, ever, ever, ever speaking out on behalf of poor people.

    The classic deconstruction of the fart-brained. Oh, you’re rich so how dare you talk about the poor.

    Smart people who aren’t so stupid as you say, go ahead, do it, speak on behalf of the poor every chance you get. No matter what your income. The more the merrier.

    Even better, try to convert your fellow rich people into concern for the poor. Now, that would be a good deed of the first order, because it would have more concrete effect than thousands of soup kitchens.

    Oh, I give up. You just want to say what everybody else says. You don’t want to hear anything new. Just like all the rest of them.

  202. Tom F. says:
    @Ted Plank

    I liked Aron’s, and also Peaches Records. Was a vinyl child in the ’70s/’80s. Thank you for your work, Ted Plank! I’m so jealous that you got to do that for a living!

    Also, one more athlete/musician thus-far unmentioned…Sammy Hagar was also a Golden Gloves boxer, could give and take a punch.

  203. Tim says:

    What about Terry Crews?

    He went to Interlochen, then played NFL football, and is now a TV Star.

  204. Curle says:

    In my fantasy world administrative law would be nothing more than a body of cases striking down legislation as void for vagueness.

    If a legislative body can’t write it and agree on it then it shouldn’t exist.

  205. Excal says:

    Yes, Zappa led an interesting life, didn’t he? You must be familiar with the late Dave McGowan’s writings on the old Laurel Canyon scene and the many, many military brats, like Zappa, who rose up through it to fame and fortune. If Pynchon-grade Americana is your thing, you can get lost for hours.

  206. Morrissey was a very good soccer player. “I was, perhaps oddly, very athletic”. Still became the patron saint for two generations of pasty faced, nonathletic jock-hating emo teens.

  207. @obwandiyag

    ” Both suck in their own special ways”

    Safe to say that you have no talent in any direction, other than posting worthless garbage on the net.


  208. anon[497] • Disclaimer says:

    Tyson Fury can sing

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments are moderated by iSteve, at whim.

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS