Another preseason preview gives us reason to roll out the 2011-12 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured the most compelling moments from the 2010-11 season, many of which will bring back the goosebumps and some of which will leave you shaking your head in frustration. For the complete list of this year’s reasons, click here. Enjoy!
#1 – Where Welcome Back, Luther Happens
We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 seasons.
Our long national nightmare is over. Ok, maybe it was only one year, but CBS has announced that it had decided to go back to the more “traditional” Luther Vandross version of “One Shining Moment” after using Jennifer Hudson’s version last year. While fans and critics widely panned Hudson’s version for the artistic liberties she took with the song and the fact that the video featured several clips of her instead of basketball footage CBS was more kind in their assessment of her version. Harold Bryant, the vice president of production for CBS Sports, stated “Both versions are great. She [Hudson] did a great job. We just felt like we wanted to go back to Luther.”
The Vandross version is one of four (including Hudson’s) that have been used since the song was used at the end of the NCAA Tournament in 1987. The two other renditions are from its songwriter David Barrett (1987-1993) and Teddy Pendergrass (1994-1999). With this year being the 25th anniversary of the song’s introduction it appears to be an especially appropriate time to bring back the Vandross version of the song.
By now you have probably heard the news that CBS will have a new singer for its traditional “One Shining Moment” montage to finish the NCAA Tournament. To be perfectly honest the reason that it took me so long to get this post up is because I had to figure out who Jennifer Hudson was. I’m not saying she isn’t a “big name”. I have heard of her, but I had no idea why she was “famous”. So after an extensive literature search, we can tell you this about her:
Was a finalist on the 3rd season of American Idol (never watched it)
Won a bunch of awards for her role in Dreamgirls (never watched it)
Had a self-titled debut album that sold over 1 million copies worldwide (never listened to it)
Is friends with Barack Obama (familiar with him, but still waiting on our invitation for a RTC vs. White House pick-up game)
Has a few hit singles, “If This Isn’t Love” and “Spotlight” (never heard them before, but I am assuming they are hits because they have over 3 million and 8 million hits on YouTube and don’t involve dancing babies or drunk girls)
Your new "One Shining Moment" singer
Now that we have that background information out of the way we can get to the important stuff namely Hudson being the fourth person to sing what might be the most second most famous song in sports (behind “The Star-Spangled Banner”, just ahead of “O Canada” and “Take me out to the ball game”, and well ahead of “Sweet Caroline”). As every college basketball fan knows, the three previous singers–David Barrett (1987-1993, 2000-2002), Teddy Pendergrass (1994-1999), and Luther Vandross (2002-2009)–were all guys and while the knowledgeable fan can differentiate the versions by singer having a female voice will certainly be a significant change. While I am willing to try change (rtmsf might disagree with this), I have to admit that I would have preferred if they had went with the Teddy Pendergrass version given his death in January of this year as a tribute much like they did for Doug Towey, the CBS producer who decided to use the song in 1987, after his death in March last year.
In any event, we will just have to sit back and listen to Hudson’s version on April 3rd before passing final judgement, but you can be sure that the Internet will have plenty to say about it on the morning of April 4th.
After the jump we have videos of “One Shining Moment” from each of the three previous singers to get you in the mood for March Madness. If you have any thoughts on your favorite version of the song or on Hudson taking over the reins, we would love to hear them in the comment section.
John Stevens is a featured columnist for Rush The Court.
On the news feed tonight the information has come down that Doug Towey, the CBS Sports executive who was responsible for the playing of the song “One Shining Moment” at the end of the network’s men’s NCAA Tournament coverage (that is, the song that plays over the highlight montage after coverage of the championship game), has died at age 61.
Evidently, the story of the song’s emergence goes like this: the song was written on the back of a napkin by a man named David Barrett, who actually wrote it after watching Larry Bird play for Indiana State in the 1979 version of the Dance. Barrett passed the song on to a friend at CBS (rumored to be Armen Keteyian) who in turn passed in on to Mr. Towey. The original plan was to air it after Super Bowl XXI (1987). Time constraints didn’t allow it, so the song was eventually aired after the 1987 NCAA Tournament final (Indiana 74, Syracuse 73, aka the Keith Smart game). I, for one, say thank God for the long interviews after Super Bowl XXI.
I recall the first-ever spin of the song after that IU-Syracuse game. As happy as I was to hear Teddy Pendergrass, with the first few notes I remember thinking that this was going to be some worthless attempt at tear-jerking, wondering why they would choose to end their coverage in this manner. By the end of the song, I had already called a fellow hoops fan who I knew would be watching and we agreed — it was perfect. The song itself can stand alone, especially because it was written with our beloved game in mind. But when you pair it with the highlight montage… well, you indeed have perfection.
Nobody Turns Off the TV Until Luther is Done (photocredit: AP)
The late great Luther Vandross has had the honor since 2003. And I’m not afraid to say that whether it’s Pendergrass or Vandross singing it, when I hear it, the ol’ eyes still well up to this day. Maybe it’s because of what it symbolizes — you know, another season’s end. Or maybe it’s because it’s just a great song.
So with nods to Messrs. Barrett, Pendergrass and Vandross, today we at RTC offer special thanks to Mr. Towey for pairing this song up with our game. In that spirit, here are a couple of samples of what Mike Krzyzewski (and countless others) calls “the national anthem of college basketball.”