Andy Murray is best known for his gritty determination and prowess on the tennis court, but he’s got another talent that he only rarely displays to the public: he’s a budding rap superstar.
And tonight the Scottish tennis ace will showcase his hip-hop skills for the first time in ages on Sky1’s sport-based comedy quiz A League of Their Own, in what promises to be quite a spectacle.
While I for one can’t wait to hear Murray bustin’ some new rhymes, his penchant for performance reminded me of some other notable sports stars who’ve shown off their musical sides in years gone by…
1. New Order feat. John Barnes 'World in Motion' Who could forget the midfielder’s immortal contribution to New Order’s Italia 90 single? Delivered at a leisurely pace through a huge grin, and dealing very specifically about the beautiful game, Barnesie’s rap is in many ways still the gold standard of sporting/musical crossovers.
2. Macho Man Randy Savage ‘Be a Man’ After winning the highest accolade in the world of professional wrestling, the WWF championship, twice, where else was there to go but into the world of hip-hop? This song, a ‘diss’ aimed at Hulk Hogan, is probably the best of the late grappler’s musical oeuvre.
3. Ian Wright ‘Do the Right Thing’ Released in 1993 at the peak of the striker’s popularity, this dance-pop paean to determination and never giving up sounds as inspirational today as it did 18 years ago. Well, sort of.
4. LA Lakers ‘Just Say No’ In this country it was the kids from Grange Hill who recorded a song of that title warning of the dangers of drugs, but in the US it was up to the Los Angeles basketball team to convince youngsters that there's no place for narcotics on or off the court.
5. Jacques Villeneuve 'Accepterais-Tu?' The Canadian F1 driver has evidently spent his time away from the track studying the psychological effects of music and using his findings to inform his singer-songwriter efforts if this clip's anything to go by, in which he showcases a track from his album Private Paradise.
6. Chas & Dave feat. Tottenham Hotspur FC 'Tottenham, Tottenham' The lads from White Hart Lane enlisted the help of Spurs fans Chas and Dave for this 1982 cup final single, which must surely rank as the most end-of-the-pier sporting song ever recorded. Though I warn you, if you listen to it, you'll have the chorus stuck in your head all day...
7. Shaquille O’Neal ‘(I Know I Got) Skillz’ While the breakout basketball star’s skills have never been in doubt, he felt the need to reassert his dominance on this 1995 single, which features such NWA-lite lyrics as “I’ll punch you in the stomach, I don’t give a heck”. OK, Shaq, point taken.
8. Liverpool FC 'The Anfield Rap' Like a Harry Enfield sketch come to life, this Scouse-tastic ode to regional dialects is also notable for featuring John Barnes’s first on-record rap and Bruce Grobbelaar’s only musical performance to date.
9. Keedie and the England Cricket Team ‘Jerusalem’ The 2005 Ashes series was one of English cricket’s most glorious post-millennial successes with the team romping home to victory over the Aussies, helped no doubt by this stirring anthem, which featured the England cricket team on backing vocals.
10. Andy Murray ‘Autograph’ As I say, he only rarely demonstrates his hip-hop credentials, but he entered the studio to lay down a rhyme for a song by Bob and Mike Bryan back in 2009. Possibly the only rap to feature the word ‘Wimbledon’ in the whole of musical history.
Will you be watching Andy’s performance tonight? What’s your favourite song by an athlete? Post a comment and let us know.