The greatest running list of walk-up songs on the internet has returned to coincide with the start of MLB’s highly anticipated 2021 season. That’s a bold claim, but I’m riding high off the adrenaline from watching 12 hours of baseball yesterday and am allowing myself the false sense of “walk-up superiority.”
You know the drill by now. We’re up to 75 tunes this year – new additions include AC/DC, Bee Gees, Funkadelic, The Gap Band, Redbone, and more. Spotify playlist available to stream at the bottom.
Tracks deemed off-limits for their cemented status as legendary walk-ups: AC/DC – “Hells Bells”; Guns N’ Roses – “Welcome to the Jungle”; Metallica – “Enter Sandman”
AC/DC – Night Prowler
You could easily slot any song from AC/DC’s catalog on to this list but I’ll take the closer from 1979’s seminal Highway to Hell. Lurching, spine-tingling, blood-thirsty rock and roll – also the final track of the Bon Scott era.
Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
The ultimate fusion of easy-riding stoner music and ‘70s hard rock. Aerosmith rules, simple and plain.
Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
In an age where rock music has periled in social relevance to other genres, Arctic Monkeys remain one of the era’s most prominent bands. They may not quite be iconic, but the rocking stomp at the intro of “Do I Wanna Know?” is just that.
The B-52’s – 52 Girls
Most people may know the B-52’s for 1989’s classic party jam “Love Shack,” their discography is loaded with alternative hits, perhaps none better fit for the diamond than “52 Girls,” an uptempo rocker dripping with ballpark-friendly guitar fuzz.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care of Business
Instantly recognizable for its opening guitar riff and racing piano melody, this classic cut from Bachman-Turner Overdrive has all the makings of a summer time banger that’ll have the whole park rocking.
Bailter Space – Untied
If the objective of your walk-up is getting some adrenaline going, “Untied” is the fuel to your fire. It’s the rush of a skydive jump, the feeling of squaring up with a bull one on one, the upstairs heater for strike three. Mid ’90s rock = a mid 90s fastball, right?
The Band – Chest Fever
Beyond its epic organ intro (the perfect prelude to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”), “Chest Fever” is a classy and flashy display of The Band’s incredible musicianship without compromising the badass and reckless attitude of classic rock ‘n’ roll. It’s demonic, funky and pure fun.
Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise
When I think 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 and exciting fashion.
Beastie Boys – Sabotage
For the first three years of this list, I avoided adding multiple songs from the same artist in an effort to keep things fresh. This year, we’re breaking all the rules and who better to cross the line with than the greatest rap-rock punks of all time? On the surface, “Sabotage” sounds like sludgy chaos but this is the Beastie Boys at both their loudest and most precise.
Bee Gees – Stayin Alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha.
The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You
There’s a number of songs by The Black Keys that would fit right into this list, but “Howlin’ For You” is the top choice for its rocking percussion and memorable slash easy-to-chant refrain. As safe a pick as there is in modern rock.
Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Black Sabbath needs no introduction. This heavy-metal staple belongs in any and every walk-up song conversation.
Blank Banshee – Teen Pregnancy
Spacey, rhythmic, and swagged out. Blank Banshee delivers a nice slice of mellow EDM with a touch of funk. Built for sluggers who just like to vibe, man.
Boston – Rock & Roll Band
Boston’s debut album was pop-metal magic from cover to cover. Although not as widely known as “More Than A Feeling” or “Peace of Mind”, “Rock & Roll Band” is the cinematic type of song that puts the showtime into sports.
Brothers Osborne – Shoot From The Hip
This track is best fit for a Wild West shootout, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound good inside a ballpark. Strictly for gunslingers.
Bruce Springsteen – Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Aside from the fact that having a walk-up song by The Boss increases your success rate by 160%, the piano-sax grooves that kick off “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” pack enough punch to get everybody in the crowd moving.
Buck Owens – Buckaroo
No one did the Bakersfield boogie better than Buck and his good old Buckaroos. This short instrumental tune captures the feel-good energy of the band’s live shows while firmly holding onto the laid back groove so commonly associated with California country.
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
There may not be one living American who can’t sing in harmony with this tune. Calm, cool and collected – for the players who let their game (and their walk-up song) do the talking.
Chris Stapleton – Second One to Know
Chris Stapleton has many great songs, but few are as rugged, raw and southern to the core as this cut from his sophomore LP. Yew!
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.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born On The Bayou
This classic CCR cut adopts a cool 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.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Ohio
Few bands have achieved such high classic rock royalty status with having released such little material as CSN and CSNY. As Neil Young biographer put it, “Ohio” captured the fear, frustration and anger felt by youth across the country after the Kent State shootings and set it to a death march that hammered home the dread. Over 50 years later, it still sounds just as harrowing.
Danny Brown – Dance (Instrumental)
A party-starter and underground gangsta-rap anthem all in one. The instrumental is an especially dope choice.
David Bowie – The Jean Genie
Bowie had so many great artistic peaks and there are incredible songs from each of his many phases. I prefer his glam rock days the best, simple because they are the most fun. “The Jean Genie” is pure rock and roll, a riff-heavy guitar song with a sexy bassline, and tons of Bowie swag.
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Bowie’s massive 1983 hit needs no introduction. Perhaps a game of good ol’ pitch and catch isn’t quite as exciting as a live show from the Thin White Duke, but every lineup needs at least a little dose of funkiness in their song selections.
David Gilmour – There’s No Way Out of Here
This Gilmour classic sounds lifted straight out of the Pink Floyd playbook, but that doesn’t take away from the magic of its slow-burning and dream-like quality. Every fireballer needs a tone-setter. Look no further.
The Doors – Soul Kitchen
Caught somewhere between the blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, “Soul Kitchen” is the ideal backdrop for a smoky, mid-20th century post-game bar sesh. Disclaimer: using this track may require lighting up a cigar on your way to the dish.
Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
If Rick Vaughn couldn’t have used “Wild Thing” as his walk out to close games, I feel confident in saying Donna Summer would have been his next choice. Legend has it that “Hot Stuff” has a perfect track record in the bottom of the 9th.
Dr. John – Right Place Wrong Time
Any hitter who walks up to the relaxed funk frenzy of Dr. John is guaranteed to know how to have a good time.
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. I wouldn’t be surprised if it knocks your fastball up a couple ticks too.
Findlay – Stoned and Alone
Every team has that one guy with a dope walk out song nobody really knows, but really likes and grooves to every time that hitter comes up. Yeah, that’s pretty much “Stoned Alone.” I forecast an abundance of base hits with this as your table-setter.
Foghat – Slow Ride
Windows down. Radio loud. Open road. Babe in the front seat. Some guys get in the zone by finding their happy place. “Slow Ride” will take you there.
Frank Zappa – Willie the Pimp
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 like this.
Free – All Right Now
Similar to Foghat, Free embody the carefree spirit of the 1970s. “All Right Now” is the epitome of feel-good jammin’ to get your game on.
Funkadelic – Can You Get to That
Walking out to Funkadelic instantly provides loads of street cred with any crowd in any ballpark. Sure, “Can You Get to That” may be their most popular song, but sometimes it’s best to start with the basics (classics), no?
Gang Starr – Full Clip
From DJ Premier’s iconic Big L shoutout that opens the song to Guru’s slick delivery, this track has everything you want in ‘90s rap. Proceed to nod.
The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me
I think the dance-funk realm is the most agreeable genre of walk-up song. Who in their right mind could deny this? Those synths?!?! This is the definition of a certified banger. Thank you, Gap Band, almighty crafters of undeniable party jams.
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.
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightning
This blues classic might be better suited for a movie scene in a dusty cocktail bar in 1950s Chicago but I suppose having it soundtrack your stroll into the batter’s box would also be pretty badass. Kudos to Hubert Sumlin for laying down one of the sweetest licks of all time.
J Boog – Coldest Zone
Everybody needs a little more J Boog in their life. Here, he ditches the sunny, island love songs for a thumping, horn-infused banger. The prerequisites for using this song include a high level of experience and swag, but mostly swag.
JAY-Z – D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
If classy-mafia-boss-dinner-party-gangsta-rap is your thing, do you really have a choice other than to have JAY-Z soundtrack your walk to the plate?
Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
There had to be one Hendrix track on this list for it to be legitimate. 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.
Joey Bada$$ – ROCKABYE BABY
This menacing cut from Joey Bada$$ sounds exactly like what its title implies. For mean-muggers only.
Journey – Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
As if this list needed anymore stadium rock. Sue me. Rather than go with the all too obvious “Don’t Stop Believin’,” how about arguably the most hard-rocking song in the Journey catalog?
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 an all-smiles neighborhood vibe.
Kid Cudi – The End
Utilizing a spacey, hypnotic Skip Mahoney sample from the 1970s, this unique hip-hop cut has one of my favorite intros in recent memory. The drop is downright ill.
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.
Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good
Somewhere between nostalgic classic rock and irresistible ’70s pop radio gold. Oh, and Linda Ronstadt is an all-time babe.
Lou Reed – Vicious
Dirty, reckless, straight-out-the-gutter glam-rock made by a New Yorker for New Yorkers.
Mazzy Star – Blue Flower
If “Fade Into You” is the only Mazzy Star song you know, you have some homework! They are without question the kings of ’90s dream-pop, but guess what? They can rock. Rest in peace, David Roback.
My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow
More distortion, please.
Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl
Neil Young is a must-have on any rock-inclusive playlist. “Cinnamon Girl” stands out as one of his most casually kick-ass songs ever, much in thanks to the raucous energy of his backing band, Crazy Horse.
Onyx – Slam
To date, “Slam” remains the most popular song in the Onyx catalog. It bangs as hard as its title implies. Be warned, the Sticky Fingaz verse has been known to incite bench-clearing brawls.
Outkast – Slump
Country meets gangsta on this Outkast deep cut, which somehow makes a fat bassline, alien-like guitar plucking and a whining baby voice into a quintessential Southern rap banger.
Pink Floyd – Have A Cigar
What are the odds Pink Floyd liked baseball? I would say beyond slim, but that is besides the point. The way this song tumbles into its lush art-rock soundscape has an endearing garage-like quality.
R. Ring – Cutter
Sometimes you just need some angsty alt-rock to pump through your veins before you go and try and hit taters.
Rage Against the Machine – Killing In the Name
Heavy riffs, instruments clashing and Zack De la Rocha. The perfect mix for getting your mind right to hit dingers. Or set fire to someone.
Redbone – Come and Get Your Love
Not enough wonderful things can be said about this song. It’s a perfect slice of funk-rock magic with the perfect song title and the perfect chorus. Essentially, the perfect walk-up song.
The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Like many bands on this list, The Rolling Stones boast a legendary discography filled with numerous songs that could make awesome walk-up choices. One of their more notable guitar-centric tracks, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is about as fiery as it gets. A just pick for the flame-thrower or the base-stealer.
Rose City Band – Reno Shuffle
Between all the classic rock, radio pop, and modern day rap jams you’re bound to encounter at a ballgame, a little stone fried country-rock is guaranteed to bring the vibes back to something chill and groovy. Rose City Band does just that.
ScHoolboy Q – What They Want
Any number of ScHoolboy Q songs could work as the perfect trap banger of a walk-up. The sinister tone of “What They Want” hangs eerily in the background like a potent hitter waiting his turn to wreak havoc in the on-deck circle.
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 the D-O-G-G. This track embodies the West Coast gangster spirit like no other.
Steve Miller Band – The Joker
An oddball, soft-rock classic perfect for scrappy hitters who hate batting gloves. Salute, space cowboys.
Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
In updating this list, I came to the realization that there wasn’t enough ‘90s rock here. Stalwarts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam have their fair share of solid walk-up picks but Stone Temple Pilots aren’t any kind of slouch themselves. “Plush” is for pure power hitters.
Sublime – Doin’ Time
This track has long been a popular selection among big leaguers and ball players all over. Sublime has always been a problematic band but as far as their music, few groups embody the breezy, laid back California vibe like them.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Here’s an American recipe for you: baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet and Tom Petty. Need I say more? A classic tune from one of our country’s greatest rockers.
Tom T. Hall – That’s How I Got To Memphis
Not every walk-up song has to be a banger. A signature love tune from one of Nashville’s greatest songwriters, this track has laid back country boy written all over it. How can you not feel good listening to those opening guitar licks?
Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love
Bred from the zeitgeist of 1980s nightclub culture, “Genius of Love” may very well be the greatest song of all time. Okay, maybe not that far. But its grooviness is something of another planet. Strongly recommended for those fond of bat flips, post-extra base hit dance moves and shaking it down to the ground.
Tommy James & The Shondells – Crimson & Clover
This song screams 1960s in the best way. Raw, innocent, and a tad psychedelic. Plus, when your teammate asks you what your walk-up song is and you say “Crimson & Clover,” you’re just going to sound cool.
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.
Ty Segall – Every 1’s a Winner
Ty Segall is a man of many talents, but there’s no denying he is most comfortable when his main quest is to bring the noise. Play at max volume for the best results.
Tyler Childers – House Fire
Tyler Childers’ smokey-roots sound may be better suited for a good old fashioned pistol duel outside your back porch, but a pitcher-batter faceoff works just fine.
Van Halen – Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
Pretty much all the songs on Van Halen’s first album are viable options here. Take your pick. What makes them all great walk-up songs is the axe of their musical leader, the late and great Eddie Van Halen.
Waylon Jennings – Lonesome On’ry & Mean
The ideal description for a Waylon Jennings walk-up candidate: guitar-playing, always-fightin’, lady-loving, highway-chuggin’, fried chicken-eating, flame-throwing hoss.
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 that can truly describe the feeling when the drums kick in: Epic. It might be worth taking a balk and going down 1-0 to let the two-minute intro sink in.