This 1970s promotion for St. Louis poses the situation: “Next time somebody says, ‘St. Louis? What’s St. Louis got?’” You’re supposed to answer the St. Louis skeptic by gathering up a posse of female backup singers and singing this tune.
Every city has a few earworms — and St. Louis has several songs that served as background music to a childhood here or a ride down Highway Farty-Far toward Busch Stadium.
One of those songs "St. Louis A to Z" was launched on April 28, 1974, with a campaign heralded with a full-page ad in the Post-Dispatch.
Whether you grew up in or around St. Louis or not, whether you remember them or not, these songs are bound to make you twirl around the Arch grounds and toss a Styrofoam container of toasted raviolis into the air Mary Tyler Moore-style. Or not.
Enjoy your earworms, St. Louis!
Compiled by Valerie Schremp Hahn
April 28, 1974: St. Louis has it all from A-Z
St. Louis A to Z
Sold on St. Louis
The song was produced in 1987 as part of a regional development campaign and performed by St. Louis musician Ralph Butler. The video is a must-watch. With opening shots of Fredbird playing the saxophone under the arch, the video shows images of the Admiral (gone), the old Busch Stadium (gone), St. Louis Centre (gone), and Ozzie Smith doing backflips (we assume the 61-year-old can’t do that anymore, but we’re up for surprises).
Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” became the anthem for the 1982 Cards World Series win against the Milwaukee Brewers. “We’re gonna have a good time tonight, let’s celebrate, it’s allright!” has prefaced Cards games since.
St. Louis Rapper Nelly’s debut single in 2000 has clean and lyric-scrubbed versions for radio. For example, the lyrics “street sweeper baby cocked” replaced with “boom boom baby,” to soften the reference to the shotgun. The catchy tune is based on the hand-clapping game “down down baby” and the video shows hundreds of his friends and supporters shimmying on the streets of the north side. The song quickly climbed the Billboard charts and launched Nelly into the public spotlight.
Celebrate St. Louis
More like a jingle than an anthem, this was written by St. Louis musician and composer Randy Mayfield for KDNL (Channel 30) as part of a promotion for a positive news story series.
Here Comes the King
This jaunty Budweiser anthem is played on the organ at every single Cardinals game, and at every home opener when the famous Clydesdales trot around the field, pulling the Budweiser beer wagon.
The Heat is On
During the 1985 season, the Cardinals adopted this song, which was released by musician Glenn Frey the year before. A Cards mix version of the song with snippets of Jack Buck’s voice calling the action played on local radio airwaves. The tune invokes memories of sweltering St. Louis summers and the pressure the city felt during the I-70 World Series loss against the Kansas City Royals. “Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho, tell me can you feel it, tell me can you feel it, tell me CAN YOU FEEL IT?”
Meet Me in St. Louis
Written in 1904 for the St. Louis World’s Fair, the version of "Meet Me in St. Louis" that usually rings through our brain is the one sung by Judy Garland for the movie in 1944. Question: if we can pretty much guess what it means to be someone’s “tootsie wootsie,” does anyone really know how to dance the “hoochie coochie?”
Christmas in St. Louis
Another tune written and performed by local musician Randy Mayfield, this made its debut in 1992 and was featured on KMOV (Channel 4). The video shows scenes from shoppers at Union Station (now undergoing a reincarnation as an aquarium) and the lyrics mention “ice down on the river” and the “Landing dressed in bows.” It’s an admittedly sweet tune, though the video makes you wonder when 1992 started looking so dated. That’s OK, because you don’t have to watch - your eyes will be closed as you croon along, holding a mug of spiked nog.
Talkin' Baseball in St. Lou
This classic was originally released the year before during the 1981 Major League Baseball Strike. Written and performed by Terry Cashman, it talks about the history of baseball from the 1950s to the early 80s, and directly references a couple dozen players. The song has several different versions to pay homage to several teams and franchises. The St. Louis version includes: “I'm Talkin' Baseball...Hendrick, Keith Hernandez...Cardinal baseball...Oberkfell and Sanchez.”