In this week's edition of Cageside Seats' Music Monday, we're going to take a look at the various works recorded by possibly the biggest star in the history of pro wrestling, Hulk Hogan. As usual, you can click the links for each release to go to WrestlingMedia.ws and check out samples of everything mentioned here.
For the first release, we have to go all the way back to 1983, before Hogan even won the WWF title for the first time. He was already one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business, both in the US and Japan. While wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling, he released a single called "Ichiban," which also featured the B-side "You've Got To Leave." It sounds pretty much as you'd expect it to, with Hogan's somewhat obviously processed voice singing over a pretty basic track in simple English.
During his WWF run, he didn't have any musical output except for a few spoken lines in the group number "If You Only Knew" on Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II, including an absolutely terrifying segment where he sounds like he's high on ecstasy and croons "LOOK IN MY EYES!"
In 1991, Hogan's second starring vehicle, "Suburban Commando," was released to theaters. On the soundtrack album (Who knew there was a soundtrack for this thing?), Hogan backs up rapper J-Rock (who?) in the song "It's A Nice Place To Live (But I Wouldn't Want To Visit)" with some rapping of his own and a rhythm track of his mouth sounds. I didn't know this existed until I looked it up, and now I'm regretting that decision because it will surely haunt me in my sleep.
After he left the WWF in 1993, Hogan did some press about forming the "The Wrestling Boot Trash Can Band" with his various cronies, and they debuted by giving us by far the weirdest entry in the Hogan discography, even weirder than the Hulkster rapping and kinda sorta vaguely beatboxing. They joined forces with comedy rock/metal/punk band Green Jellÿ to release "Leader of the Gang," a maxi single (pictured at the top of this post) led by Hogan growling out a cover of Gary Glitter's "I'm The Leader of the Gang (I Am)." One of the B-sides was "Hulkomaniac," which resurfaced on his next release, so we'll get to that then. Speaking of which...
A year later, the name of the group was shortened to "Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band" when they released a honest to God, full length album in the form of the German release "American Made," which came out in the US with a different track order the following year as "Hulk Rules." I certainly won't be the first person (or the last) to ridicule this insipid piece of work, but it deserves it every time. Not only is it a terrible album, but to make matters worse, some editions of the CD were packaged in that impossible to open without cutting yourself on it type of vacuum-sealed plastic crap, so it's likely that dozens of wrestling fans injured themselves while attempting to listen to this CD for the first time.
As far as the music itself, the arrangements are terrible and it sounds like the most sophisticated instruments used were a toy keyboard and the music creation app in Mario Paint. "Hulkomaniac" becomes "Hulkster In Heaven" here, as it's supposed to be an emotional tribute to a little Hulkster who died after a meet-up at Wembley Stadium...where Hogan never wrestled. Meanwhile, you may remember a song sung by children called "I Want To Be A Hulkamaniac," which was used as Evad Sullivan's theme song in WCW at one point. The song surfaces here in a different, incredibly creepy version where the chorus is performed by some kind of men's choir. Hogan spouts off some of the most ridiculous lyrics in history during this song, including THIS:
If a dealer tries to pressure you
Tell him what you're gonna do!
Yes, Hulk Hogan thought it would be a good idea to tell children to talk back to drug dealers. We should be glad that he didn't take it further with something like:
If a stranger invites you into his van
Tell him he's a sissy, man!
I think that's a good place to end so this doesn't turn into a stream of consciousness tome of fake Hogan tips for youngsters.
Before we go, one more CD (albeit a non-musical one) has to be mentioned: "Hollywood Hulk Hogan," the audio book version of his first autobiography. You get all of the entertaining lies of the book with the bonus of hearing them come directly out of his mouth, along with the occasional sound effects to make it sound like a wrestling event. In stereo.