Top 5 Pre-Race Pump-Up Songs from 1964

By Ryan Sterner

January 11, 2018

Hello again.

The year is 1964. You’re standing underneath the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum waiting to be called out for your race in the US Olympic Trials. In your hand, you’re holding a brand new Sony AM-FM Transistor radio. Since headphones still weighed anywhere between 3-5 pounds, you opt to hold the radio up against your skull to try to get a whisper of that day’s music broadcast.

There are no phones underneath the Coliseum, and you’re also not sure whether or not taking requests is even a thing in the 60s. So you just wait patiently, hoping that a song that gets you jazzed comes on the radio to PUMP YOU UP before your big race.

But it’s 1964 and our millennial readership isn’t positive that music even existed that long ago let alone had the ability to inspire people. So with that, you’d like to present CITIUS MAG’S top 5 pump up songs from 1964:

Dee Dee Sharp – “It’s Mashed Potato Time”

There’s nothing quite like feeling you can turn your competition into mashed potatoes. Plus, you’d like to walk away with a gold medal, and Sharp’s 1962 single was certified GOLD after selling more than a million copies. This speaks to you.

Boots Randolph – “Yakety Sax”

Saxophone music is all the rage these days and, in your opinion, there’s not enough up-tempo music on the radio. You’d be glad to hear Boots Randolphs sax classic. It helps that every time you hear it you imagine all the runners in front of you slipping on an oil slick or some well placed banana peels.

Rolf Harris – “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport”

Animal metaphors are used in sports all the time. Metaphors are also used in songs, so it’s simple for you to translate the Rolf Harris’s message of “tying down” the various animals he seems to be encountering in this 1964 diddy. Sometimes you like to replace the name of the animal with the name of one of your competitors, “tie me Billy Mills down, sport/tie me Billy Mills down.”

Barbara Lewis – “Hello Stranger”

Barbara Lewis’s heartbreak is not lost to you, and you can’t help but feel a little angry everytime you think about someone breaking poor Barb’s heart. Though this one is more of a ballad, you can’t deny the emotion in her voice, and still feel adequately jazzed after hearing it.

Eydie Gorme – “Blame It On The Bossa Nova”

Gotta blame something, right? This song is always good for an excuse for a bad race. Crapped out in the prelims? No worries, it must have been that groovy new bossa nova beat. Perhaps you’re not feeling up for winning today, this number will make it seem AAALLLLRIGHT.


Since you, a future dweller, are unencumbered by the restrictions of a transistor radio, you can listen to this playlist anytime you’d like:


Ryan Sterner

Hobby jogger and soup enthusiast whose work has appeared in a number of highly esteemed publications such as Flotrack, The Howard Lake Herald Journal and Ebaum's World. Currently a resident of Los Angeles, where he spends most of his time indoors.