1987 saw the release of the second (or third; it's complicated by the WWF-endorsed re-release of Jimmy Hart's "outRAGEous cONduct" album) WWF album, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II. It's structurally much different from the original Wrestling Album. The original was an unabashed novelty album, with Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura doing "commentary" between songs, The Wrestlers (capitalized because that's how it was credited) covering "Land of 1,000 Dances" and most tracks being comedy/novelty stuff, with a few exceptions. Piledriver drops the commentary, front loads the record with the new wrestler theme songs (all of Side A and the first song of Side B are entrance music), and then ends with four novelty songs.
Before we get into the musical content, I must stress that this album has never been released on CD officially, only on vinyl and in various cassette versions. Any CD you see on eBay, iOffer, or elsewhere is a counterfeit, not a limited edition UK pressing. If you're wondering why it wasn't re-released on CD along with "The Wrestling Album" and "Wrestlemania: The Album" 1999, the prevailing belief is that it had to do with the lawsuit over the Demolition gimmick, since it contains their theme song by Rick Derringer. A VHS tape was released that collected all of the videos from the album (eight of the ten songs on the album had videos), and it's relatively easy to find. It generally shows up more often and for lower prices than the actual album releases.
As usual, samples of every song are available at the link above, but the videos add a different dimension to this release and I want to include as many as possible, so to keep the main page from exploding, the rest of this post is after the jump.
The album starts with "Girls In Cars" by Robbie Dupree, an instrumental version of which served as the theme for Strike Force:
Dupree had three hit songs in 1980-1981. First was "Steal Away," which...umm...borrowed heavily from The Doobie Brothers' "What A Fool Believes." That was followed up by "Hot Rod Hearts," which borrowed heavily from his previous hit. His last hit was "Brooklyn Girls," which, again, borrowed heavily from "Steal Away." After this run as the AC/DC (or Ace of Base, whichever you find more fitting) of adult contemporary pop, he faded into obscurity, until the WWF plucked him out of it for "Girls In Cars," the chorus of which sounds similar to that of "Hot Rod Hearts." He started recording regularly again after this so hey, good for him. In an odd bit of trivia, this was the song used as Ted DiBiase's theme in the original "Wrestlemania" game for the NES.
Next up is the title track, sung by Koko B. Ware:
The video is pretty well-remembered for the odd construction theme and the shot Vince McMahon ogling a woman. The song itself is pretty much what you'd expect from Koko Ware singing about how love is like a piledriver.
After that comes the Honky Tonk Man's theme, which I'm sure most of us know by heart. The video itself, which I can't find online, is unremarkable except for the disclaimer that Honky paid the women who fawned over him in the video.
The actual best song on the album comes after that in the form of Rick Derringer's theme song for Demolition:
Possibly the most memorable and beloved wrestler theme song of the era, the video for it is memorable in its own right for the amusing mix of Demolition beating dudes up and stock footage of stuff exploding. As mentioned above, it also may be the reason that there's never been a CD release of this album.
In a hell of a one-two punch, this is followed up by the next most well remembered song on the album, which also has some novelty value on top of its functionality as a theme song: "Jive Soul Bro" by the doctor of style, Slick.
The song itself is pretty amusing and actually pretty catchy. The video (and Slick's intro from the home video) would never, ever be made today (I'm not even sure if the Slick character could exist now, except maybe as an ironic babyface). The intro and outro made for the home video feature Slick eating a lot of fried chicken. The entire video consists of him wandering through a dilapidated black neighborhood. There are ridiculous close-ups of his lips. I think you get what they were going for here. I'm just curious if the little kid on the big wheel chasing Slick has any kind of racial significance that I'm not aware of.
Side B begins with Jimmy Hart's "Crank It Up," for which there's no video. This song had an odd angle built around it: It was originally going to be the Hart Foundations entrance music, but the Young Stallions "stole" it and used it for themselves. It's never explained how they stole it and why Hart couldn't get it back, but there was actually a feud over this. The next song "Waking Up Alone" by Hillbilly Jim & "Gertrude" (I don't think she was ever shown on TV or explained or anything) is also sans video. Anyway, it's a love song by Hillbilly Jim, so the less said, the better.
And then there was "Stand Back," Vince McMahon's vocal contribution to the album. Officially, it was a tribute to Andre The Giant, and the video consists of clips of his matches:
It reality, it was actually meant as a Jim Crockett diss track. Pay close attention to the lyrics, and you'll catch it. Nowadays, this song is best known for Vince's performance of it at the Slammy Awards show that was used to promote the album:
According to Bret Hart, his father Stu was convinced that Vince was gay after watching this.
On the album, this was followed by Rick Derringer assisting Gene Okerlund in a cover of Derringer's own "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo." It's probably a good thing that I couldn't find the video, because I wouldn't want anyone to be unnecessarily haunted by Gene Okerlund in a day-glo wig singing about getting pussy (no, they didn't change the lyrics around, oddly enough, considering what the WWF was like at this point in its history).
The album's capped off by a group number, "If You Only Knew":
Besides the various West Side Story-esque singing battles between the faces and heels, the video is notable for Dan Spivey appearing during his forgotten heel run and Hulk Hogan's amazingly coked up-looking/sounding segment where he begs us to "LOOK IN [HIS] EYES!"
So until next time, remember that sometimes love sounds like an argument, it sounds like a fight, it sounds just like a piledriver.