The Scottish rock band The Fratellis have no association with hockey, or had no association. Not until their 2006 hit, “Chelsea Dagger,” made its way into the sports sphere. Now, the band can be heard resounding through the “Madhouse on Madison” along with the rest of Chicago Blackhawks’ fans.
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“Chelsea Dagger” is a catchy tune with riotous vocals reminiscent of cheering spectators. But anthemic drumbeat, racy guitar riffs, and infectiously chant-able dun dununun dununun dunununa aside, how and why did the Chicago hockey team adopt the Fratellis’ hit as their very own victory song?
Winning Over Fans
In 2007, Rocky Wirtz inherited the team from his late father, Bill Wirtz. The late Wirtz had, for years, been vilified by Blackhawks fans due to his reputation of stubbornness and frugality that didn’t always fair well for the team.
Once Rocky took over, it was decided a new Blackhawks goal song was needed to increase fan engagement, draw in younger crowds, and, ultimately, regain longtime fans’ trust.
In the past, the team shredded ice to Joe Satriani shredding his classic “Crowd Chant” after every goal. There were exceptions as some players had their own tune for when they scored a point. For Jonathan Toews, it was Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Patrick Kane preferred “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by Scorpions and it was ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” for Patrick Sharp.
It was determined one goal song would suffice for the team and higher-ups began experimenting with several during the 2008 pre-season. Studying fan reaction and involvement, a few songs were narrowed down with Blur’s “Song 2,” the Hives’ “Tick Tick Boom,” and the Ting Tings’ “Keep Your Head” in the mix with the Fratellis’ tune.
“Chelsea Dagger” was not initially beloved by fans. However, after a few goals scored and several rounds of chanting the infectious tune, they were sold.
A Blackhawks spokesman, Pete Hassen, told the Chicago Sun-Times of the song: “We noticed about two months into the season that people were doing their own dance to it. And now you’re seeing as the team is taking off, the song is really taking off.”
The band’s frontman and the song’s writer, Jon Fratelli, even chimed in on the choice, telling the National Post in 2014: “I never thought of it as a sports song. I’m quite happy to pick up the royalties for it, though.”
Many fans have reportedly begun to grow weary of the song after nearly 15 years of dun dununun dununun dunununa. But as of now, the cheery “Chelsea Dagger” still strikes fear in all who play the Blackhawks. Watch opponents, the Vancouver Canucks, quake in their gear at the sheer chorus of the tune.
Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns