Spring is here and baseball season is upon us. To celebrate, I decided to scrounge up a list of my favorite walk up songs for hitters and pitchers. There’s so many great songs out there that have been used time and time again, and of course, you always have those rare gems that come out of nowhere and get everyone in the stands and on the field groovin’ hard. It was only fair to deem a few tracks off limits (“Hells Bells”, “Enter Sandman”, Welcome to the Jungle”), but nonetheless, here are 20 badass walk up songs. Excuse the abundance of classic rock and hip-hop.
1. Cream – White Room
Originally penned by poet Pete Brown, the 1968 smash from blues-rock legends, Cream, became one of the most beloved songs of its time. Between Jack Bruce’s majestic vocals, the aggressive rhythm section and Eric Clapton’s wicked guitar playing, this track always makes for a fiery entrance.
2. The Who – Eminence Front
One of The Who’s last great songs, the drum machine and a quirky synthesizer melody make for a huge build up before the track erupts into pure arena-rock magic. The only word can truly describe the feeling when the drums kick in: epic. It might be worth taking “ball 1” to let the two minute intro sink in.
3. Kid Cudi – The End
Utilizing a spacey, hypnotic Skip Mahoney sample from the 1970s, this hip-hop cut has one of my favorite intros in recent memory. The drop is downright ill.
4. Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks
Led Zeppelin’s near-psychedelic closer to their fourth studio album airs on the meaner and nastier side of their discography. Walk out to this and you’re sure to strike out the side with emphasis.
5. Snoop Dogg – Tha Shiznit
So you want your walk up song to be a banger? Party-rap staples like “California Love” and “Still D.R.E.” are easy choices, but for something a little less obvious, look no further than Snoop Doggy Dogg. This track embodies the West Coast gangster spirit like no other.
6. The Green – Keep On
This trunk-knocking reggae smash takes you straight to Ewa Beach. The big horns and smooth harmonies might make you want to hit the water more than step in the batter’s box, but if a nice relaxed song gets you in the zone, this track is for you.
7. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name
Heavy riffs, instruments clashing and Zack De la Rocha. The perfect equation for getting your mind right to hit dingers. Or set fire to someone.
8. Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
There had to be one Hendrix track on this list for it to be legitimate. There had to. His remix of Bob Dylan’s signature tune takes the cake. It’s hard not to get fired up when you hear the bursts of electric guitar in the intro and on the chorus.
9. Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise
When I think of the music that comes out of New York City, a few words come to mind: grit, edge and toughness. The Beastie Boys fit that description as good as any other crew to come out of the Big Apple. “Make Some Noise” brings these qualities to life in wonky, fun fashion.
10. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Bowie’s massive 1983 hit needs no introduction. The groovy, synth-driven “Let’s Dance” was him exercising his commercial power on a global level.
11. Steve Miller Band – The Joker
An oddball, soft-rock classic perfect for scrappy hitters who hate batting gloves. Salute, space cowboys!
12. Tribal Seeds – Vampire
Stoner anthems make great walk up songs too. If you can avoid the kush coma this song induces, you’re bound to hit a bomb.
13. Gang Starr – Full Clip
From DJ Premier’s iconic Big L shoutout that opens the song to Guru’s slick delivery, this song has everything you want in a ‘90s rap song. Proceed to nod.
14. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou
This classic CCR cut adopts a cooler, southern tone as opposed to the upbeat melodies of classic songs like “Fortunate Son” and “Up Around the Bend.” Easy going yet unquestionably badass for the hurler or the hitter.
15. Jurassic 5 – What’s Golden
This track should be a staple in any 2000s hip-hop playlist. It’s an old school anthem with hard hitting boom-bap drums with each member stopping in to drop conscious bars and slick flows. Think music for a back alley ball game with a positive vibe.
16. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Here’s an American recipe for you: baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet and Tom Petty. What more needs to be said? A classic tune from one of our country’s greatest rockers.
17. Sublime – Doin’ Time
This track has long been a popular selection among big leaguers and ball players all over. Still, it doesn’t take away from the breezy Long Beach vibe.
18. Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane
The Eagles have Joe Walsh to thank for the signature opening guitar riff on this Hotel California cut. What used to be a warm up exercise for Walsh ended up being a great highway rock song. Rumor has it that it knocks your fastball up a couple ticks too.
19. Frank Zappa – Willie the Pimp
Easily the nastiest cut from my favorite Zappa album, Hot Rats. As a magnificent composer of countless styles of music, Zappa wore many hats during his prolific career; I don’t think it bothered anyone when he just let loose on the guitar and shredded out songs like this.
20. Onyx – Slam
To date, “Slam” remains Onyx’s most popular song. It bangs as hard as its title implies. Be warned, the Sticky Fingaz verse has been known to incite bench clearing brawls.
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Let me know some of your favorite walk up songs in the comments!