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Steelers fans express their enthusiasm through music

Pittsburgh residents show their support for the Steelers by donning black and yellow, waving their Terrible Towels, and sometimes creating art and music. (credit: Courtesy of steelcityhobbies via Flickr) Pittsburgh residents show their support for the Steelers by donning black and yellow, waving their Terrible Towels, and sometimes creating art and music. (credit: Courtesy of steelcityhobbies via Flickr)

Steelers fans are always enthusiastic about their team, but as the Super Bowl approached this past week, enthusiasm for the Steelers grew into a black-and-yellow frenzy — even the dinosaur by the Carnegie Music Hall showed its Steelers pride with a black and yellow scarf. While most people expressed their support mainly by donning black and yellow garb and by carrying Terrible Towels, some fans instead expressed their love for the Steelers through more creative outlets.

The Miller Gallery has featured some of the Steelers fans’ creations in its exhibit Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions. The exhibit, which ran from Aug. 27, 2010 through Super Bowl Sunday, featured artistic expressions of fans’ love for the Steelers, including pictures of Steelers-themed body art and extensive collections of Steelers paraphernalia.

Steelers fans not only expressed their love through artwork and tattoos; they have also expressed it through song. Perhaps the most famous example of musical Steelers pride is Wiz Khalifa’s song “Black and Yellow,” which has been sweeping the airwaves and is currently No. 4 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. Although the lyrics do not directly reference the Steelers, the official music video for the song features crowds of people on the streets of Pittsburgh waving Terrible Towels. As Khalifa said in a statement during his album release, “I’ve always had that Pittsburgh pride. I just wanted to let people know where I’m from and represent any way I can, and what better way than through our colors? I took that hometown pride and put it in a song.”

Khalifa’s song has spawned a litany of remixes, most of which revise the song so it celebrates other teams — Lil’ Wayne’s remix, for example, is “Green and Yellow,” and its lyrics cheer for the Green Bay Packers. Some, however, have made the lyrics even more blatantly in support of the Steelers. A rapper named Calico rewrote the lyrics of the song to describe the Super Bowl; the chorus says, “Y’all know what it is/’bout to win that Super Bowl on February 6/ Uh-huh, that’s sayin’ something/Number seven on the way, Steel Town jumping.”

“Black and Yellow” is not the only popular song that has been rewritten to celebrate the Steelers. A group called In Acchord took the tune to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and reworked it into a song about the Steelers, calling it “Steel Defense.” The chorus sings, “Here come the playoffs when we get our revenge/You and me, we got the Steel Defense/We’re winnin’ Super Bowls again and again/You and me, we got the Steel Defense.” The song’s music video on YouTube features pictures of Steelers fans in elaborate black and yellow outfits and facepaint. In Acchord released another Steelers-themed cover in 2009 called “Steelers Ladies,” a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” “Gonna win it and they’re gonna put a ring on it,” the chorus sings repeatedly.

Pop songs are not the only tunes that have been covered in support of the Steelers. An a cappella group called Evolushun posted a video on YouTube of its members singing “Steelers’ Fans,” a parody of the Spiderman theme song.

Carnegie Mellon has not been immune to Steelers enthusiasm. Recent alumnus Tim Ruff posted a parody of “Walking in Memphis” called “Walking in Pittsburgh.” The song is full of references that only Pittsburgh residents can fully appreciate, including, “There’s a really great team, waiting on that seventh ring/Down in the locker room!” Ruff posted the video on YouTube on Jan. 23, and it has already been viewed over 86,000 times.

Carnegie Mellon uploaded its own tribute to the Steelers last week: On Carnegie Mellon’s YouTube channel, the school posted a video titled “Steelers Opera XLV.” The video features School of Music students, decked out in black and yellow and holding Steelers balloons, singing about the Steelers to the tune of the Toreador song from Carmen. “They’re the best, yinz should know!/They’ll lead us to our goal/to win our seventh Super Bowl!” the students sing with flair. “It was fun for me to be able to use opera in a vaguely threatening way, intimidating the opposing team,” Nina Mohan, a junior music and English major, said.

At the end of the video, associate professor of voice Douglas Ahlstedt says, “The students here at Carnegie Mellon have a very special relationship with the Steelers, and we want to support them in every way that we can, especially with our music and our voices. We’re enthusiastic about the team, and we’re enthusiastic about Pittsburgh.”