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    Sunday, July 9, 2017

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Great Balls Of Fire!

    We're fresh off WWE's first ever Great Balls Of Fire pay-per-view, and for all of the crap the title received when it was first unveiled earlier this year, we at the Smark Henry offices have learned to just laugh at it the same way Vince McMahon probably does every time he remembers that he named an event after a pair of burning testicles the Jerry Lee Lewis hit song from 1957.

    Whether or not you choose to believe the rumors that the title was really borne out of Vince's sophomoric sense of humor is irrelevant at this point. WWE managed to get away with naming a PPV with a name that wasn't trying to be badass like Vengeance, Armageddon, or even Insurrection. They even doubled down on it by actually using Jerry Lee Lewis' song in its promotional materials, leading to this wonderful promo, which aired during Money in the Bank last month.

    Jesus Christ, Dean Ambrose's bit just cracked me up again!

    Even though your favorite masa and easy listening radio stations won't be playing songs from the 50's until next Sunday, we'll make an exception for this week's #ThemeSongTuesday by featuring—what else—Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire!"

    I'll be honest. I didn't know about "Great Balls Of Fire" until WWE named a PPV after the damned song. But my mom apparently knows it. My dad apparently knows it. Your parents probably know it. Hell, Ric Flair got his signature "WOO!" from it. And, well, yesterday happened.

    If you have any idea what a jukebox is, this is the type of song you'd expect to hear it play. It's the type of rock and roll song that was popular in the 1950s. Specifically, its genre falls under "rockabilly," which is one of the classic styles of rock and roll, even combining the styles of country music and rhythm and blues. Hell, even the term "rockabilly" is a portmanteau in itself because it's "rock" + "hillbilly" as it references the genre's roots in country music.

    The song itself is actually fun to listen to because it's upbeat and catchy, and Jerry Lee Lewis just plays the piano with so much gusto. The way the notes come together makes you just want to get up and dance like you're in Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe in 1957.

    From the moment Jerry Lee Lewis sings, he sounds like a slick country boy with a gift for music. He sings with a midwestern drawl and tops it off with a yodel for certain syllables, most notably when he sings, "Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!" What's most impressive about all of this is how Lewis is able to sing pretty much the same way decades later, as you can see in this live performance from 2009—when ol' Jerry Lee is at the ripe age of 74.

    Sure, he also sounded pretty drunk and slightly apathetic. But you have to hand it to "The Killer"—yes, that is actually a nickname he goes by, now, tell me again that he has no business being even associated with pro wrestling—because he still performed with enough gusto to knock his stool down after performing arguably his signature hit in front of that Madison Square Garden crowd.

    It's amazing to think that a song like this, which was released in 1957 would go on to sell five million copies, land on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time List (at #96!!!), and have a legacy that resonates in pop culture across decades. Decades.

    From references in Monty Python, to a scene in Top Gun, to a quote from the Tempest in StarCraft II, to how it gave birth to Ric Flair's "WOO!" and yesterday's PPV, we continue to feel the impact of a song that existed before some of our parents were even born. I mean, if a song like that can have a lasting legacy, then that leaves us with some hope for "Despacito" to leave a legacy of its own many decades down the line, right? Right? Man, I don't know the words so I'll say Dorito.

    Photo from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio broadcaster, events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can also catch him every month attempting to keep order in a fancy suit as PWR's General Manager.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Great Balls Of Fire! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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