It's Back To School time! Whether you loved high school, hated it, or are completely indifferent, your memories of those days will stick with you forever. As many area kids head back to the classrooms (Finally! Screw you, Covid-19), my memories of my high school days come rushing back. And almost every single one of them involves cheerleading!
I wanted to be a cheerleader from the moment they fielded a team for Pee-Wee football at the YMCA. It was the only sport besides swimming that I was actually good at, and probably only because I wanted it so badly. I cheered from 6th grade thru high school (minus 7th grade - boooo!) and one year in college. I lived for it and I miss it, even this many years later! Which is probably why every time I hear a song with a cheerleader vibe I jump out of my seat and start bouncing. Which also leads me to this week's 5 Things...
Charley's Top 5 Cheerleader Songs:
1. Toni Basil - "Mickey"
I was 11 years old and just beginning my obsession with cheerleading when this song came out. I still remember my older brother buying it for me for my birthday. The song isn't actually about cheerleading at all, but it's what you think about when you hear it. Toni Basil leaned on her cheerleading days at Las Vegas High School to choreograph the video and every young girl in America was hooked.
2. Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"
Along with "Mickey", this is probably the song you think of when someone brings up cheerleading songs. Unlike Toni Basil, however, Gwen Stefani was never a cheerleader. When asked about the inspiration for the song, Gwen said, "Y'know someone one time called me a cheerleader, negatively, and I've never been a cheerleader. So I was, like, 'OK, f*&k you. You want me to be a cheerleader? Well, I will be one then. And I'll rule the whole world, just you watch me." With that attitude, Gwen, you're welcome to join my squad any day!
3. Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"
So the lesson we're learning from this list is that if a song sounds like a cheer, I'm probably going to love it! This song isn't actually about cheerleading, either, and I'm willing to bet Avril was never on the squad. But that bouncy, rhythmic, peppy vibe can't be denied... Avril's got some spirit in her blood!
4. (TIE) Beach Boys - "Be True To Your School" & Paul Davis "65 Love Affair"
These two songs tie for a couple of reasons:
1) They are the only ones by men
2) They are the only ones that reminisce about high school and talk about real cheerleaders
The Beach Boys' songs almost all bring about memories of living life without a care - the only things that mattered were friends, summer, cars, and school! With a background chorus of "Rah Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah" and the memory of his girl "working on her pom pons now and she'll be yellin' tonight", the visions of the big game come rushing back. Go Team!
You may not think you know the Paul Davis tune right off, but as soon as you hear the "Doo Wop Diddy Wop Diddy Wop Doo" you'll say Oh Yeah! Another song that brings back memories of carefree school days & nights, when all that mattered was trying to get the girl. Ooh wa go team, ooh wa go!
5. Bring It On - "We're Cheerleaders"
No cheerleading list can be complete without a song/chant from the ULTIMATE cheerleading movie, Bring It On! This movie reminds me of the days when our squad went to camp and was super-jealous of the team from Greenup, KY - those girls were machines! Thank goodness we never tried to do Jazz Hands to compete. And yes, Torrence's dream hits me right in the feels - I think I actually had a towel in mine, though.
The girls I cheered with all those years ago still hold a special place in my heart, and these songs bring back the best memories of the many many days, games, practices and camps spent with them. As we like to say, "Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader!" Just don't ask me to do a backhandspring...
Lead Photo Credit: Washington High School 86-87 Cheerleading Squad, Washington IN (I'm the second from the front, leaning to the right)