Little Richard song will introduce ‘Monday Night Football’

What you need to know about Little Richard

Music by Georgia native replaces Hank Williams Jr., who was recently dropped by ESPN

Are you ready for some Little Richard?

After dropping Hank Williams Jr. recently, ESPN announced Friday it will use a revamped version of Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” to introduce “Monday Night Football” starting September 14. The song will feature “new instrumentals and backup vocals from the Virginia-based band Butcher Brown.”

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“The audio will be combined with NFL and specific team highlights completing the opening for the franchise’s 50th anniversary season,” ESPN said in a press release. “The modernized single from the 1956 No. 1 hit will continue to prominently feature Little Richard, who is dubbed a founding father of rock n' roll.”

A native of Macon, Richard Wayne Penniman died May 9 in Tennessee. Reports indicated the cause of death was bone cancer. He was 87.

Rip It Up was a No.1 R&B hit for Little Richard and a Top 20 single (peaking at No.17 on the Billboard Pop chart in the summer of 1956). In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked it at No. 50 among the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” while Time included “Here’s Little Richard” on its “All-Time 100 Albums” list.

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“We’re truly excited to have teamed up with ESPN for this project, and are honored to have had the opportunity to work with the music of the King Of Rock N' Roll, Little Richard,” Butcher Brown said in the press release. “We are all big NFL fans so we are eagerly anticipating Monday Night Football’s return, particularly for when our Eagles and Ravens are showcased this season on the franchise.”

Butcher Brown, the press release states, “is five groove merchants from Richmond, VA delivering a heady home-brew of jams and jazz, rhymes and beats—a funky, musical mix that makes one question why great music needs to be labeled as this category or that. The hybrid moniker “jazz/hip-hop” only begins to cover it. Their balance of raw energy and smooth sophistication, edgy improvisation with a generous dose of Southern roots (South coast hip-hop to Southern rock) reveals how equal opportunity they are in employing a wide range of musical styles, and how authentically they’ve absorbed it all.”

The audio single Rip It Up (Feat. Butcher Brown”) is available on Apple, Amazon, Spotify and other music platforms. Listen here:

The new song replaces “All My Rowdy Friends” by Williams, as ESPN adjusted its production in reaction to no or limited fans at NFL stadiums during the Covid-19 pandemic.