Friday, December 3, 2010

1985 Bears Flashback: The Super Bowl Shuffle

     Twenty-five years ago today, on December 3, 1985, the “Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew” entered a studio to record “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the audacious rap song that would be heard almost incessantly over the next two months and has endured, somewhat surprisingly, as a landmark of sorts in the subsequent quarter century.
     Despite having sustained their first defeat of the season (after 12 consecutive victories) the very night before, the Bears remained quite sure that they were headed to the Super Bowl, and the “Shuffle” was a bold statement to that effect. The project was the brainchild of Dick Meyer, a lifelong Bears fan who enlisted Willie Gault, the elegant wide receiver and aspiring actor/singer, to be his point person with the players. “A substantial portion” of the proceeds was to be donated to charity.
     Meyer and Melvin Owens wrote the lyrics, which were tailored to each of the ten featured “singers”: Walter Payton, Gault, Mike Singletary, Jim McMahon, Otis Wilson, Steve Fuller, Mike Richardson, Richard Dent, Gary Fencik, and William Perry. Bobby Daniels and Lloyd Barry wrote the music, and Meyer acted as producer and choreographer.
     In addition to the ten front men, 14 other Bears also participated in supporting roles. All are listed below. The players might have done the project as a lark, but “The Super Bowl Shuffle” was a genuine phenomenon. It sold more than half a millon copies as a 45-RPM record, ascended to No. 41 on the pop music chart, and was nominated for a Grammy. At the end of the day, some $300,000 was donated to the Chicago Community Trust to provide food, shelter, and clothing for needy families.

Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew (featured singers, in order of appearance)
34 - Walter Payton, running back
83 - Willie Gault, wide receiver
50 - Mike Singletary, linebacker
  9 - Jim McMahon, quarterback
55 - Otis Wilson, linebacker
  4 - Steve Fuller, quarterback
27 - Mike Richardson, cornerback
95 - Richard Dent, defensive end
45 - Gary Fencik, safety
72 - William Perry, defensive tackle/fullback

Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew Band (in alphabetical order)
  8 - Maury Buford, punter (cowbell)
29 - Dennis Gentry, running back (bass)
98 - Tyrone Keys, defensive end (keyboard)
33 - Calvin Thomas, running back (saxophone)
18 - Mike Tomczak, quarterback (guitar)

Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew Chorus (in alphabetical order)
21 - Leslie Frazier, cornerback
23 - Shaun Gayle, safety
75 - Stefan Humphries, guard
51 - Jim Morrissey, linebacker
89 - Keith Ortego, wide receiver/punt returner
48 - Reggie Phillips, cornerback
53 - Dan Rains, linebacker
20 - Thomas Sanders, running back
31 - Ken Taylor, cornerback/punt returner

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