Sportsong of the Week #23


"Song for Sonny Liston"

Mark Knopfler

2004 (Live performance in 2009)

Written by Mark Knopfler

Sportsong of the Week #23 is about one of the biggest enigmas in boxing ever: Sonny Liston. Mark Knopfler, former leading man of the Dire Straits, sings about Sonny's life and troubles in Song for Sonny Liston. Truly emotional and goosebump creating music!

Charles "Sonny" Liston was the man to beat in boxing, until an lesser known boxer named Muhammed Ali, came on the scene. Liston was known for his toughness, punching power and intimidating appearance. After he lost his title in 1964 to underdog Ali a life full of controversy followed. Claims of drinking before a fight, suspicions of fixing games, connections with the criminal world, hatred from the black power movement and an unfortunate death with mysterious circumstances to name a few. This ending, his boxing stardom and his upbringing, which included a lot of beatings from his dad, actually his whole life story, are amazingly portrayed by Mark Knopfler.

In an interview with NY Times Mark Knopfler said Liston's story was "exciting subject matter because it's so mysterious." "He was scared, he was scared of so many things," Knopfler said. "He was scared of the police. He was scared of the black-power movement. And the face, it was an unforgettable face. I remember thinking as a child that this was a man who wanted to be left alone."

If you like a good, but sad, sportstory be sure to read more about Sonny this weekend and be sure to play this song while doing it! A biographical sportsong! A true gem!

Full lyrics "Song for Sonny Liston" - Mark Knopfler

So many mouths To feed on the farm Sonny was the second To the last one born His mamma ran away And his daddy beat him bad And he grew up wild Good love he never had He had a left Like henry's hammer A right like betty bamalam Rode with the muggers In the dark and dread And all them sluggers Went down like lead Well he hung with the hoods He wouldn't stroke the fans But he had dynamite In both his hands Boom bam Like the slammer door The bell and the can And the bodies on the floor Beware the bear's in town Somebody's money says The bear's going down Yeah, the bear never smiles Sonny's going down For miles and miles Sonny's going down For miles and miles The writers didn't like him The fight game jocks With his lowlife backers And his hands like rocks They didn't want to have A bogey man They didn't like him And he didn't like them Black cadillac Alligator boots Money in the pockets Of his sharkskin suits Some say the bear Took a flop They couldn't believe it When they saw him drop He had a left Like henry's hammer A right like betty bamalam Rode with the muggers In the dark and dread And all them sluggers Went down like lead Joe Louis was his hero He tried to be the same But a criminal child Wears a ball and chain So the civil rights people Didn't want him on the throne And the hacks and the cops Wouldn't leave him alone Beware the bear's in town Somebody's money says The bear's going down Yeah, the bear never smiles Sonny's going down For miles and miles Sonny's going down For miles and miles At the foot of his bed With his feet on the floor There was dope in his veins And a pistol on the drawer There was no investigation As such He hated needles But he knew too much Criss-crossed On his back Scars from his daddy Like slavery tracks The second-last child Was the second-last king Never again was it the same In the ring He had a left Like henry's hammer A right like betty bamalam Rode with the muggers In the dark and dread And all them sluggers Went down like lead They never could be sure About the day he was born A motherless child Set to working on the farm And they never could be sure About the day he died The bear was the king They cast aside Beware the bear's in town Somebody's money says The bear's going down Yeah, the bear never smiles Sonny's going down For miles and miles Sonny's going down For miles and miles


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