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Chiefs president opens up about why team is changing touchdown celebration song

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Fred Williams celebrated his touchdown with fans during the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans last Friday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Fred Williams celebrated his touchdown with fans during the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans last Friday at Arrowhead Stadium. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Shortly before the team’s annual kickoff luncheon on Wednesday at the Downtown Marriott, Chiefs president Mark Donovan went into detail about the team’s recent decision to stop playing a version of Gary Glitter’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Part 2” song after every touchdown.

“We’re much better at celebrating traditions — it’s part of our core — than we are at changing traditions,” Donovan began. “(But) this was one that we looked at over the last few years, and the reality is the performer and composer of the song is in a maximum security prison for crimes against children, and we just didn’t want to be associated with that song in any way, either directly or indirectly through a cover song.”

Glitter (real name: Paul Gadd) was sentenced in February to 16 years in prison in England for sexual abuses between 1975 and 1980. All involved underage girls.

In 2006, the NFL reportedly asked teams to stop playing Glitter’s version of the song and the Chiefs switched to a cover version by the Tube Tops.

However, the vice president of business affairs for the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers told The Star that year, “If it sounds like Gary Glitter’s song, we would credit Gary Glitter. From our standpoint it makes no difference who the performer is, it’s who the composer and publisher is.”

Donovan said the decision to stop playing Glitter’s song was not one the organization made lightly.

“It took a lot of discussion — it is a tradition … we talk so much about the Arrowhead experience, and that song is a part of that,” Donovan said. “But the more we talked about it, the more we felt like we shouldn’t make the decision about what the song should be … (but) we should be stewards of this brand and we should make the hard decision that we should change it.

“At that point, we wanted to put it back on our Chiefs Kingdom and let them decide. They have decided.”

Chiefs beat writer Terez A. Paylor reports from the team's annual kickoff luncheon Wednesday, when Clark Hunt addressed his expectations for this year's team and his hopes for a Super Bowl bid. Mark Donovan also addressed the team's reason for com

Voting for the new song opened at noon on Aug. 21 and continued until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31, but Donovan did not reveal the winner. The options were “Hey, Kansas City!” by David George & A Crooked Mile, “Song 2” by Blur and “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool.

Donovan hinted, however, that the team was working on a way to incorporate “Rock ‘N’ Roll Part 2” in some way this season.

“We’re trying right now and pretty excited about potentially being able to retain some of the in-game tradition that song brought to it,” Donovan said. “I’ll leave it at that but there’s more to come.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TerezPaylor. Tap here to download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.

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