Hello everyone, and welcome to my new feature ‘Run For Glory’, which is in conjuction with my campaign to raise funds for and awareness of the Motor Neurone Disease Association via my participation in this year’s Great North Run. Over the next few weeks this epically named feature will provide a series of thematically linked songs that will provide you with an insight into not just what I’m running to, but what’s really driving me or pumping me up as I run across the various roads, trails and towpaths of West Yorkshire, England.
This first installment focuses on the only place this could start: the beginning. As in, the songs that prompt you to get up and get out. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing lists based on other varying themes, progressing from the start right to the triumphant finish. Let’s get cracking. And leave your appropriate suggestions in the comments box while you’re at it!
Judas Priest – Battle Hymn/One Shot At Glory
[from ‘Painkiller’, Columbia, 1990]
Judas Priest may have more in common with motorbikes than running, and thematically this song has sod all to do with running the open pathways, but there’s an undeniably epic feel about warming up and heading off to this track. The ‘Battle Hymn’ intro is dispensable, but it serves ably as a warm-up track to mentally prepare you for the miles ahead.
Key lyric: ‘Let me hear the battle cry/Calling in the wind’. It’s the opening salvo and its hard to pick out another lyric to motivate as much as that one, but Halford delivers it with such authority you can’t help but be fired up.
This selection owes as much to its musicality as it does any wordplay, but the opening riff sets up the beginning of a run perfectly. Of course, it’s a song about a fleeting obsession with a person of extreme beauty before said beautiful person heads off into the never. But portions of its lyrics can be interchanged with that which drives us as runners – but mainly, it’s the riff and the pace of the song that makes this such an excellent track to set off to.
Key lyric: ‘Sifting to the bottom/every day for two/all energy funnels/and all becomes you’. And ‘One minute here, and one minute there/and then you wave goodbye’ – the set up for the driving riff.
‘Along For the Ride’ possesses a great melodic riff, an anthemic chorus and all round perfect structure to get up and run to. Lyrically it’s perfect as well, with several lines in the song relatable to our eagerness to get up and get out of the door, though the song is seemingly a resignation of trying to be perfect. It sums up exactly what life as a amateur runner should be all about – don’t try too hard to be the best. Just enjoy it.
Key lyrics: The chorus: ‘We’re all flawed by design/we used to be alive but now we’re just along for the ride/there was a time when the world was under our control/but that time has died, so now we’re just along for the ride‘
Rollins Band – Do It (Live)
[from ‘Insert Band Here’, 2.13.61, 1990]
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Rollins Band took on this Pink Fairies classic with gusto and morphed it from a psychedelic blues rock number into a…with Rollins as drill sergeant as he barks out the lyrics. As a staple of their live set in their earlier days, the intensity went up another notch, from Rollins’ vocals to the rest of the band. You’d be mad not to follow his commands as he yells ‘Get up off your ass/DO IT!’
Key lyric: “I don’t think about it/DO IT!” And pretty much the rest of the song too.
Beastie Boys – Alive
[from Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science, Capitol, 1999]
OK, so its not exactly a rock track, but good hip hop deserves a much a place in my playlist as any rock or metal soundtrack, and while ‘Alive’ lyrically has no place in a running context, its opening line, as stated below, is emphatic in terms of a primer for when you exit the door or prepare yourself for the mileage ahead.
Key lyric: Its opening statement: ‘I have never been more ready in my entire life to do this right now, never/all building up to this moment…’ That ought to pump you in action.
I’m running the 2013 Bupa Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please click the link at the top corner to view my sponsor page or click here instead. Thank you.