While working today with a friend, renegade came on the radio and I was telling him how that song is what gets the crowd pumped at Heinz field during the games. He asked when that became the anthem song and I had no answer for him. So whats the history behind renegade becoming the "pump up the crowd" anthem at the Steelers games? Thanks
I also would like to know the origin story.
Can't find the link, but I read that it was a production team member at Heinz who came up with the idea.
'Renegade' an unlikely anthem for Steelers fans
By Rege Behe
Published: Friday, January 14, 2011
Joey Granati has played songs for tips at piano bars in Western Pennsylvania for 15 years.
If the Beaver County resident, best known for his work in the Granati Brothers, is working the night before a Steelers game, he can count on one thing: Someone will pony up a few bills to hear "Renegade," the vintage Styx song that has become an anthem on game days at Heinz Field.
"It's kind of like this ominous feeling, like you're being led to slaughter." Granati says of the song's haunting intro. "You hear this really cool music, and then there's this huge (butt-whipping). All of a sudden everybody is up with their Terrible Towels."
"Renegade" is an unlikely anthem, even in a city that tends to revere the past. Released in 1979 on Styx's "Pieces of Eight" album, the song reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Written by Styx guitarist and singer Tommy Shaw, the song's first lines are definitely not rah-rah material:
Oh momma I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law,
Lawman has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my home.
Oh momma I can hear you a'crying and you're so scared and all alone
Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don't have very long.
"I've actually talked to JY (James Young) from the band multiple times about this," says Sean McDowell, the long-time disc jockey at WDVE-FM. "Everybody in the band knows how popular the song is here. They laugh about it because it has so many twists and turns."
The song caught on during the Steelers' 2002 season. In a short film about the Styx-Steelers connection by NFL Films, the use of "Renegade" was credited to Mike Marchinsky, then an intern in the team's marketing department.
That year, in a wild card playoff game versus the Cleveland Browns with the Steelers losing 24-7, "Renegade" was played and the team rallied. The song was played a second time during the game, and the Steelers went on to the win 36-33, cementing the tune's reputation as a musical talisman.
That was only the beginning of the "Renegade" legend. In 2008, during the Steelers' drive to Super Bowl XLIII, nine times after the song was played, the team's defense either forced a turnover or stopped an opponent's drive.
Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is the first player shown in the "Renegade" video at Heinz Field home games.
"The first guy," he says with a laugh, "that's the best part."
The music and video help to fire him up -- and the fans.
"I watch the whole video," Woodley says. "That's like a highlight film in the fourth quarter, so that gets the energy going. During that TV timeout, you're resting up, the crowd's yelling and, sometimes, you make a big hit coming out after that song."
The question is: Will it work against the Ravens?
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh doesn't appear worried.
"We love playing there," Harbaugh says of Heinz Field. "When that 'Renegade' song comes on and they crank up the music, I start getting a little dance going. The crowd goes crazy and that energizes our guys."
Granati thinks the part of the song's resonance comes from the region's support of musicians such as David Bowie, Kansas and Styx.
"The city has a great affinity for art rock," Granati says. "Styx always did better in Pittsburgh than anywhere else when the band was starting out."
It still does well. The song plays in regular rotation at WDVE-FM classic rock station, with four or five spins per week, according to music director Val Porter.
But not everyone is enamored with the song. Jimmy Roach, a DJ who is part of the morning team at the three Froggy Radio stations in the area, says he never understood the appeal.
Chip DiMonick, a local musician whose tastes run from glam to punk to hard rock, thinks the appeal of "Renegade" lies in the region's ongoing nostalgia for music and sport.
"So, it's a foregone conclusion that the two will get combined, even if done in a nonsensical way," DiMonick says. "I mean, come on -- a song about someone preparing to die by hanging used to represent a good defense• Only in Pittsburgh."
NFL Films Presents had an episode partially dedicated to the story of how "Renegade" became the unofficial Heinz Field/Steelers anthem...the interviewed the member of the Heinz Field production crew (Mike was his first name, his surname excapes me..) who thought of adding the song to the repertiore...
NFL Films even spent some time with Tommy Shaw, who wrote the song, in the episode...it's a few years old...
Even Harbaugh gets pumped up. :Beer
Originally Posted by fordfixer
Thanks Fordfixer. I personally cant stand Styxx, but the story and the effect the song has on the crowd is pretty cool.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ravens' Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery BY CHRIS G. (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON JUNE 21, 2011
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are the fiercest rivals in the NFL today. Every time these two teams match up you can expect a hard-nosed, physical football game.
The two teams are mirror images of each other, built around a franchise quarterback on offense and two of the best defenses in the league. Players are beat up after playing in this game.
Ryan Clark has knocked out Willis McGahee. Ray Lewis broke Rashard Mendenhall’s shoulder. Ben Roethlisberger had his nose broke by Haloti Ngata.
But at the end of the day, more often than not, the Steelers come out on top, particularly in the playoffs.
After yet another playoff loss this past season John Harbaugh stated that he thinks about the Steelers “every single day, in all honesty.”
Apparently the Baltimore Ravens scoreboard operator can’t either. According to the Raven’s official website:
HELP US! YOU DECIDE
You can help make our home games even more exciting and fun, while making M&T Bank Stadium more intimidating for visiting teams. Our fans are outstanding and our home record is an indication of how much you help us. Since 2000, the Ravens have the third best home record in the NFL (and 19-5 in the last three years under Coach John Harbaugh).
What we want to do is raise the noise level at M&T. When we told Coach Harbaugh about this, he was enthused. “We know how good our fans are – and they’re great at M&T. They get it and they help us win. If we can take the noise to another level, let’s do it,” the head coach exclaimed.
Ravens fans picked the name of our team and helped in choosing the amenities when we built our stadium. Now, you can help pick a “pump-up” song we would use when we need a big defensive stand for our team. Please send us your suggestions.
Though this announcement has since been mysteriously taken down, it is quite obvious that the Ravens are trying to find their own version of “Renegade.”
If you aren’t familiar with “Renegade,” here is a quick rundown.
At a crucial moment of the game, typically in the fourth quarter when the Steelers need a big defensive stop, the screen on the Jumbotron goes to black.
The fans no what is coming and get to their feet. Then you hear the lyrics, “Oh mama I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law…” The screen is black and white as you see LaMarr Woodley spraying water from his mouth as he does during the pre-game introductions.
As the slow part of the song continues, the screen “beats” with the bass, almost like a heartbeat.
The slow build up gives the crowd time to energize before the “Ahhhh…The jig is up, the news is out, they finally found me.” Now you have over 65,000 fans waving Terrible Towels screaming to a montage of big defensive hits, and some by Hines Ward too.
When the video comes to a close, highlights of big hits are right in time with the thud of the bass and then a “Defense” chant. The video sends the crowd into a frenzy and more often than not, the defense as well.
There is nothing like experiencing “Renegade” at Heinz Field, especially in a big game against the Ravens.
It is no mystery why Baltimore would also want to make their home games “more exciting and fun, while making M&T Bank Stadium more intimidating for visiting team.” It works for the Steelers, why not for them?
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? The NFL is a copycat league and Baltimore is going that route to enhance their home field advantage. You can’t blame them. The Steelers are a very successful organization.
Baltimore has built an elite defense like the Steelers. They play a physical brand of football like the Steelers. They wear black jerseys like the Steelers. They even copied the Terrible Towel when they passed out “Rally Towels.”
To the Ravens' credit, it did help out a charity like the Terrible Towel does.
Regardless, the Ravens took their arch rival’s iconic towel and made their own version of it.
When they passed them out in 2009, Baltimore gave white towels to the fans. (White? Really?)
Mark Clayton liked the idea as it reminded him of what Heinz Field looked like.
“Honestly, when we were in Pittsburgh for a Monday night game and they had those towels going, that was awesome,” he said. “It felt like a college atmosphere, electric-like. That was tight.”
Ray Lewis was not so enthusiastic.
When asked if he would be waving a towel Lewis replied, “No.”
I wonder if Lewis’ view of "Renegade" was closer to what Clayton had of the towels because the video makes the atmosphere electric.
Apparently someone in the Ravens organization doesn’t believe their fans are good enough or that their defense can rise to the occasion anymore. Or maybe they are just that jealous of what Steelers fans bring after “Renegade.”
From the Steelers' perspective, the whole thing is quite amusing. Here you have a coach and a roster that does nothing but make excuses why they can’t beat the Steelers, yet their organization continues to model themselves or borrow ideas from Pittsburgh.
Regardless, Baltimore’s search for a “pump up” song is just another way for them to imitate Pittsburgh, and remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.