The New York Cosmos Mixtape: Revolutions Per Generation
By Miriti Murungi from Nutmeg Radio
A generation ago, The New York Cosmos mesmerized American audiences with a blend of world-class talent and larger than life personalities, transcending anything American soccer audiences had previously witnessed on domestic soil. Unfortunately, the ride didn’t last. The North American Soccer League folded in 1984 and The Cosmos senior team followed suit in 1985. The subsequent generation was left to grow up on a sporadic diet of a previous generation’s nostalgia for this unprecedented era of American soccer.
Proudly supported by a cast of prominent personalities, both old and new, The New York Cosmos are back, and ready to make history…again.
To commemorate the club’s return, I made a mixtape. Well, not exactly. Prepare to be entertained…
The New York Cosmos Mixtape: Revolutions Per Generation turns back the clock to revisit some of The Cosmos legends, but perhaps not as you remember them – waltzing around opposing teams and intoxicating massive crowds. Instead, Revolutions Per Generation is a fun-loving montage, highlighting the vocal exploits of several Cosmos greats. The names are familiar ones. The songs, however, may be a bit more challenging to recognize.
And with that, Cosmos Country, I give you The New York Cosmos Mixtape: Revolutions Per Generation. Twice in a lifetime. 45 RPMs at a time.
Track #1: Pelé & Gracinha Leporace – “Meu Mundo E Uma Bola (My World Is A Ball)”
In 1977, as Brazilian sensation Sergio Mendes was busy enchanting audiences with his soothing bossa nova, jazz and soul music, Pelé was entering his final year with The Cosmos. By this time, these two Brazilian stars had become global icons, albeit on the back of two distinctly different instruments. It only made sense that the pair would eventually collaborate. Why wouldn’t two countrymen known for brilliance in their respective crafts collaborate on a project?
Released in 1977, Pelé is a documentary detailing the life and career of Brazil’s most famous soccer player. The film’s soundtrack was largely written and performed by Mendes, except for the film’s title track, “Meu Mundo E Uma,” and a second track, “Cidade Grande,” which were both composed and performed by … that’s right, Pelé.
Here is Pelé performing “Meu Mundo E Uma” with vocal support from Gracinha Leporace, Mendes’ wife.
Track #2: Giorgio Chinaglia – “Football Crazy”
Pelé wasn’t the only Cosmos player enticed by a recording studio, and he certainly wasn’t the first. Several years before Pelé collaborated with Sergio Mendes, mythical Cosmos forward Giorgio Chinaglia also jumped into the recording booth.
Chinaglia released “Football Crazy” in 1974 while he was still on the books at Italian club Lazio. Some of the lyrics may raise an eyebrow:
“I’m the best in all the world. I’m the strongest of them all. I’m football crazy!”
But when you glance at Chinaglia’s phenomenal goal scoring record in Italy and with the Cosmos, he may have been on to something.
Take it away, Giorgio.
Track #3: Franz Beckenbauer – “Du Bist Das Glück”
In 1978, another world-class star joined the Cosmos. Iconic German international Franz Beckenbauer, known worldwide for his no-nonsense defending, first suited up for The Cosmos during the 1977 season. While music probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when Beckenbauer’s name is thrown around, he was seemingly bitten by the same musical bug that infected his other legendary teammates. Der Kaiser…
In what now seems to be typical Cosmos fashion, Beckenbauer also released a single in 1966 entitled “Du Bist Das Glück.” And if you’re wondering, yes, there is a B-side.
Track #4: Julio Cesar Romero with Revolber – “Siete Hermanos Y Un Misil”
Paraguayan legend Julio Cesar Romero, affectionately referred to as Romerito, first laced up for The Cosmos in 1977. Romerito was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers.
Just like his teammates, Romerito is no stranger to the stage. In fact, Romerito graced the stage with the rocking, rapping, metal Paraguayan hard rock group Revolber during a music festival in Asunción where he sang the opening to one of the band’s songs, “Siete Hermanos Y Un Misil,” and punted soccer balls into the crowd of rabid fans.
In typical Cosmos fashion, if you’re going to do it, then do it right and do it big. Like this…
Track #5: Eric Cantona – “Epilogue” with Dionysos
Artistic creativity isn’t just a hallmark of Cosmos players past. It’s also a trademark we have all come to expect from Cosmos Director of Soccer and Manchester United legend Eric Cantona. If you have followed ‘Le Roi’ away from the field, you have probably seen him in film, on television, and yes, in music.
In 2009, Cantona joined French band Dionysos on La Mécanique Du Coeur to add the touch of a king to the album’s “Epilogue.” While this isn’t the standard foray into singing (not much Cantona does can be described as standard), it still involves music. Actually, Cantona’s contribution is probably more accurately described as spoken word, or perhaps even poetry. In many ways, Cantona’s collaboration with Dionysos is the perfect metaphor for his career both on and off the field. It’s poetic, mysterious, defies simple categorization, and leaves you wanting more.
Have a listen to La Mécanique Du Coeur’s “Epilogue,” a fitting end to the mixtape. See if you can recognize the voice of the legend. (HINT: There’s only one voice.) It’s a voice you will be hearing a lot more from in the future.
And that wraps up The New York Cosmos Mixtape: Revolutions Per Generation. Hopefully, this is not the last we hear from members of The Cosmos family in the recording studio. The bar has been set, but now it’s time for the voices of a new generation to step up. Cobi Jones must be feeling the pressure to release a single. Where’s Kanye when you need him?