Category Archives: Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ichiro Rock #4: “Ichiro!” by Xola

In the early ’90s, when Xola was known as Kid Sensation, he recorded the hiphop tune “The Way I Swing” with guest rapper Ken Griffey Jr. Unlike The Kid, Ichiro doesn’t rock the mic on “Ichiro!”, but Xola did get him to license his name to this song, which was played at Safeco Field and sold locally as a CD single during Ichiro’s 2001 rookie season. The disc was then released in Japan in 2002, featuring four tracks: the original version, a new 2002 version, the “Club Groove Remix” and “Mad Flava Remix” (at least one of the remixes was by Sir Mix-a-Lot). The track again appeared on the 2009 Kid Sensation CD Back Home. According to this, “Ichiro reportedly thinks the song is ‘cool.'”


Ichiro Rock #3: “Let’s Go! Ichiro” by the Ventures

After opening with a promising surf-rock riff, this tune is mostly just a mix of guitars, horns, and the title sung ad nauseum over a dumb dance beat. Though the Tacoma legends are big in Japan (pandering much?), for this stinker they oughta be kicked outta the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. From the EP Songs for Baseball Players (2001).

Ichiro Rock #2: “Go Go Ichiro” by Supersnazz

A two-minute garage-rock blast by the all-girl Japanese band, shouting the title over and over like crazed fans who are genuinely stoked about their subject. From the compilation CD Seattle ..A Baseball Town (2004), in which Ichiro gets additional shout-outs in “Baseball Hero” (also by Supersnazz) and “2001” by Presidents of the United States of America frontguy Chris Ballew.

Ichiro Rock #1: “Ichiro Goes to the Moon” by the Baseball Project

You’ll hear the rest, now hear the best.

I shot the above video at last night’s show at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern. Lyrics…

He’ll have a seven course meal that Yumiko his wife prepares, and for his second stomach, two ice cream bars and six chocolate eclairs. By day he builds a spaceship, it’s got a periscope and hatch. At night he might go five-for-five with a patented sliding catch, a patented sliding catch. For those who haven’t worshipped yet, you must succumb to bowing soon. There’ll be nothing left to prove when Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon. When Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon.

At age 40 he’ll turn to pitching with a fastball that hits 95, a knuckler that defies gravity, a curve with a twelve-to-six dive. Don’t put him on a pedestal, just treat him with respect. He seeks but his own approval, and earns all that he gets, he earns all that he gets. There’ll be another curtain call, a spacesuit in the trophy room. And I won’t be surprised at all, when Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon. When Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon. When Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon.

Listen to the studio version here, from the Baseball Project‘s 2011 album, Volume 2: High and Inside. In the liner notes, the song’s writer Scott McCaughey says…

When Ichiro broke the “Japanese Position Player Line” and started his major league career with both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, it looked to start a huge influx of Japanese players to the U.S. Many have come, and some have made a mark, but there simply is no other Ichiro, from Japan or elsewhere. With his style, discipline and respect for the game, he’s a beacon of light for Seattle and baseball in general. I believe he can do anything he sets his mind to.

McCaughey also wrote about Ichiro in issue #19 of the baseball fanzine Zisk. In his short piece Keep Your Head Up Ichiro, he describes the song as…

My tribute to both the self-assurance and the humor that makes Ichiro so damn cool. The guy can pretty much do whatever he wants. I feel like if he wanted to build a rocket ship in his basement, he could do it. I wouldn’t bet against him. The song is also a tribute to his prowess at eating. Despite his slim build, the guy can really put it away. I respect that. I super-respect that!

Here’s another live version.

During the season I’ll examine a handful of other Ichiro tunes out there, but don’t get too excited — none are as good as this.