How Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls Found Their Iconic Theme Song

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 11, 2020

There are no shortage of connections between classic rock from England and professional sports from America.

In the before times, you'd be hard-pressed to attend a sporting event without hearing songs like Queen's "We Will Rock You," Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" or the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up." Those songs are ubiquitous in sports arenas worldwide.

The Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, however, are associated with one piece of music above any other, and you might not even know its name.

"Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project was the theme to which the Bulls' starting lineups were introduced through the entirety of Jordan's legendary six-championship run with the team. The song is still used in the arena today.

Bulls PA announcer Tommy Edwards was looking for something to stoke excitement before home tipoff when he heard 'Sirius" played over the speakers a local movie theater.

"The more I listened to it, I'm thinking, 'Wait a minute, This could be the Bulls' song," Edwards recalled to NBC Sports.

Edwards bought the Alan Parsons' Project album, Eye in the Sky, the following day.

The Bulls' starting lineup theatrics began in 1977 — Edwards' second year with the team — when they began dimming the lights for the introductions. It wasn't long before Edwards started adding music to the production; he tried "Thriller" and the theme song to Miami Vice (this was over a decade before Miami had its own NBA team), but he couldn't find the right song.

Then "Sirius" came along, and evoked precisely the anticipation Edwards always imagined.

"I just knew it was going to work," he said. "And then when it actually did, and the way the crowd responded to it, I just felt so good about that."

"Sirius" landed a job with the Bulls in 1984, the same year Jordan arrived in Chicago as the third pick in the NBA draft.

Jordan was an immediate sensation in Chicago, ushering in a new age of excitement over pro basketball in the city.

"The Bulls loved it immediately," Edwards continued. "Michael loved it. That's been the opening lineup music ever since."

Over the next decade and a half, Jordan became a sports icon. As the dynastic Bulls earned regular spots on national television, "Sirius" became inextricably associated with the team all over America.

Parsons, a Brit and not a sports fan at that, says he was completely unaware for years that the team was using his song at 41 home games per season, plus the playoffs.

Eventually, the popularity of the Bulls and "Sirius" "trickled" back to the composer. He told Variety that it "would have been nice to have been contacted," but he's not about to complain.

Musicians don't get paid much when their songs are used in arenas by sports leagues, but Parsons has Jordan to thank for finally getting his due, thanks to the hit ESPN docuseries The Last Dance.

"They certainly made it clear that they were going to make substantial use of 'Sirius' [in The Last Dance], so for once, I am getting paid for this," he laughed.

He added, of his connection to sports history: "It's incredible. I'm so proud that this is the case, especially since a sports theme was the very last thing on my mind when I wrote it. Although (fans) may not know the identity of the artist, it is without a doubt the most-played piece of music that I've ever recorded."

Photo: Getty Images

The Alan Parsons Project
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