Nickelback released a cover of The Devil Went Down to Georgia today. Oddly, they are the second turn-of-the-century rock band to release a cover of the 1979 Charlie Daniels' classic this summer. Considering everyone from Primus to The Muppets have previously covered the song, this makes complete sense.
There does not appear to be a new Nickelback album on the horizon, but they will be releasing a 2-CD set in October to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of All the Right Reasons, one of the best-selling albums of all time in the United States. One of the songs off that album, Rockstar, came with a cameo-filled music video which I originally broke down in 2016. Since Nickelback is in the news and this is the 13th anniversary of the video being originally uploaded to YouTube, now is a great time to revisit both the video and that amazing post about a Nickelback video which was then just nine years old. Man, everything about this is timeless.
Incredibly, my original post was inspired by Kirk Cousins making teammates listen to Creed’s Greatest Hits while weightlifting. Then I fell down a Creed YouTube wormhole and eventually stumbled on Nickelback. Four years later I would write about Creed. The more I revisit this, the more proud and ashamed I am all at once. Here's the original text of the article in 2016. Or just follow along... starting... NOW!
I remember the dark days of Nickelback’s popularity. I know the words to a disturbing number of Nickelback songs. I’m not a Nickelback fan, but if I ever did anything where people made signs to disparage me, one would read “Stephen Douglas listens to Nickelback” and I’d just shake my head and say, “That is not entirely inaccurate.”
I bought The State. I may have even come across a burned copy of Silver Side Up during my freshman year of college. I was a young adult during the first decade of the millennium, so I know Nickelback well. I don’t usually brag about it and most of this knowledge has been locked in the deep, dark recesses of my brain. So when I watched the video for Rockstar, it was completely new to me, even if I had seen it one or more times a decade ago.
Here are some things I now know about this song, thanks to Wikipedia. Rockstar was the final track on Nickelback’s September 28, 2005 (exactly six years after Creed's Human Clay) release All the Right Reasons. It was released as a single in 2006 without a video. It was then re-released a year later on June 6, 2007, and became a hit on adult top 40 and pop radio. Finally, in February 2008 it was named the 100th best song of 2007 by Rolling Stone.
You may also recall that Photograph which was the first single off that album. This cover is one of the great early YouTube videos.
STOP! OK, snap back to 2020. As mentioned earlier, the Rockstar video was uploaded to YouTube on August 14, 2007. Most, if not all of the video was filmed in the summer of 2007. The video features fans and celebrities lip-syncing the words that everyone undoubtedly still knows in 2020. (“I’ll have a quesadilla!”) In the original post, I ranked athletes by how embarrassed they should have been to appear in a Nickelback video in 2007. Let's see how embarrassed I should be by four-year-old rankings of nine-year-old music video cameos, shall we?
Honorable Mention #1: John Rich
This fall marks the 5-year anniversary of Big & Rich performing the theme to ESPN’s College GameDay. Comin’ to Your City – the album and the song – were released in 2005. This is as close to a sports connection as Mr. Rich gets. The good news is that his personal and/or professional life did not fall apart after the Rockstar video was released. He is the exception.
Honorable Mention #2: Connor Cook’s Dad?
[A man in a Michigan State sweatshirt and construction vest and hard hat appear near the end of the video. He is obscured by pop-ups now. I am unsure why he was Connor Cook's father four years ago.]
5. Chuck Liddell
When this video was shot, Chuck Liddell had won seven straight fights and was the five-time defending UFC Light Heavyweight champion. Liddell was knocked out by Rampage Jackson at UFC 71 in May 26, 2007. Did he shoot his cameo before or after that fight? Maybe! All we know for sure is that Liddell was 20-3 when he shot this video. He proceeded to lose his title and five of the final six fights of his career.
Of course, he also appeared in an episode of Entourage in April 2007, so there’s plenty of blame to go around.
4. Eliza Dushku
Look, I tried. I really did. I wanted to get through this entire list only using real athletes. Or at least real fake athletes. Wikipedia claims that “Erik Rowan” is in the video. Google told me that is most likely a wrestler named “Erick Rowan,” but I couldn’t locate him. Can you!? (Stop fighting it. You’re going to watch that video today.)
So instead, you’re getting another real fake athlete – Missy Pantone. Not only was Dushku a cheerleader in Bring It On, she was also married to Rick Fox. So she’s a WAG* and a fake cheerleader. That’s close enough for a listicle.
*WAG was a term used in the early days of blogging which stood for "wives and girlfriends." This is probably considered problematic and the next time I rewrite this post I will have to put a title card with a trigger warning in the top of the post. The times, they are a-changing.*
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Honestly, Nickelback and NASCAR make so much sense. That’s why there are two NASCAR-themed Rockstar parodies. Seriously. Google it. I’ll wait.
Yeah. What’s up now?
Look, Earnhardt appeared in this video. It happened. Rumors that he was forced out of Dale Earnhardt, Inc because he appeared in a Nickelback video are completely unfounded.
Sure, if you look at his career timeline, it makes complete sense that he joined Hendrick Motorsports because of Nickelback, but… nope. No buts. That’s exactly how it happened.
2. Grant Hill
Some people credit the Phoenix Suns training staff with reviving Grant Hill’s career. Others credit this music video. What cannot be debated is the fact that the Phoenix Suns saw something they liked from Hill in this music video that directly convinced team management to sign him in the summer of 2007.
Perhaps it was the confidence he showed in delivering his lines about signing autographs while he autographed a basketball. Or maybe it was the fact that Hill was so clearly dedicated to his sport that he even refused to leave the court to shoot a major music video. The only thing we can be certain about is the fact that Hill eats his meals for free.
1. Wayne Gretzky
The Great One was head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-2009. Over those four seasons his teams amassed a total record of 143-161 and never once made the playoffs. In 2009 the team went bankrupt and Gretzky was forced out. Soon after, his daughter discovered social media. Do you need more proof that a Canadian rock band can be directly tied to the most embarrassing chapter of Wayne Gretzky’s life? It is as sad as it is surprising. I think it is safe to say that Gretzky’s time with the Coyotes could not have turned out quite the way he wanted it to be.
2020 NOTES: There are a few new things that stood out watching this four years later.
The guys from American Chopper appeared in this video. It wasn't until 2018 that he became part of a popular meme.
Furio from The Sopranos!
You have to wonder who else was in this video. Maybe we'll find out in another four years.