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'Super Bowl Shuffle' ends on sad note
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | December 11, 2005 | Greg Couch

Posted on 12/11/2005 10:43:29 AM PST by buckeyesrule

'Super Bowl Shuffle' ends on sad note

December 11, 2005


Mellow Mel was loyal to the Bears to the end. The 1985 Bears were his, and he watched the Super Bowl from some swanky luxury box in the Superdome, just drinking in the life and the love, and also the booze, plenty of the booze, in the highlight of his life.

From there, he kept watching the Bears, first as a celebrity, then as a local blues musician in Nashville, Tenn., and finally, as a broke and broken man in a government-subsidized apartment.

"Little kids would come up and hug me,'' he said a few years ago. "People wanted to take pictures with me. I was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl that year, and while I was down there, I was listening to that whole stadium doing that song. Everyone.''

"The Super Bowl Shuffle.'' Mellow Mel Owens co-wrote the words with former Red Label Records, Inc. president Dick Meyer. We've been celebrating the 20-year anniversary of this city's favorite team, and the former players have organized to make the most of the memories, old memorabilia is selling, and that old team has become an entire industry again.

Never cashed in

"The Shuffle'' was released 20 years ago this week. And while everyone is cashing in again on the '85 Bears, somehow, Owens never did. Even if he had, he would've blown the loot, anyway.

It is believed that Owens died two years ago, in his mid-50s, though I can't find an obituary.

"I feel like nobody remembers old Mel,'' said Shannon Williford, leader of Owens' former band, Delicious Blues Stew. "The last two or three years of his life, he was just there waiting to die. He'd talk about, 'Yeah, I'm going to get out and play with another guy [band], but you knew he wasn't.

"When cats would play with him, they'd recognize the same thing I did: He was a monstrous talent, but he couldn't get his life together.''

Such a happy song, such a tortured life. It's such a contrast that it's hard to believe that song came from inside this man.

So many people were in on the fun with this song, and I guess Mellow Mel was, too, because he had that thrill of the ride.

I tracked him down the first week of 2002 because the Bears were good again. Keith Traylor, the huge lineman, had run back an interception 67 yards, and there was talk of a new Shuffle.

Owens didn't have a phone, but Williford knew how to reach him. Any ideas, Mel?

"My name is Tray-lor. I ain't no trash.

"I might run slow, but dah-dah, dah-dah, dah dash.''

It was coming.

"He was always writing songs, just writing,'' Williford said. "All of a sudden you write something that was brilliant. He said that's how it was with 'The Super Bowl Shuffle.' They just got on a roll. Mel did the groove and a lot of the words.''

Meyer, who died of prostate cancer, apparently wrote many of the individual player verses.

Owens complained that he never got paid, or paid much, for his part in the '85 Bears. He must have been the only one.

"They owe me $28,000, and I can use it,'' he said in 2002. "Hell, I can use $20.

"I learned a whole lot about things like companies putting money into subsidiary companies and then declaring bankruptcy. Remember the words? 'We're not doing this because we're greedy, the Bears are doing it to feed the needy?' Well, I don't think they did anything for the needy, either.''

On stage, Owens was a genius, but everywhere else things didn't make sense.

Williford said Owens' father died young, and that Mellow Mel never moved away from his mom.

"His mom took care of him, and then I guess it was about '97 or '98 when she died,'' Williford said. "It wrecked his life. I remember him telling me, 'I'm a 48-year-old teenager suddenly out on my own.' He had never even written a check in his life.

"From then on, it was a downward spiral. He kept gigging. But he inherited some little amount of money and thought he was rich. It was 20 grand or something. He jumped up and got in his van and traveled the country. He shot his wad. He was still living in his mom's place but couldn't keep paying the note. Eventually, he lost the van.''

Williford said that Owens, a singer and percussionist, played in the Rascals for a while and once ended up on stage with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

One day someone with Delicious Blues Stew asked Owens if he could write lyrics, and he mentioned that he had written "The Super Bowl Shuffle.'' No one believed him.

Eccentric character

"I really enjoyed him,'' Williford said. "He was so bizarre, so disconnected from reality. Normally you show up 45 minutes before a show, but he'd show up at 2 in the afternoon, setting up every bit of percussion and taking up half the stage.

"His last few years, he let his hair grow into these long gray dreads and had a gray beard. He always dressed real funky.''

In the end, the oddities caught up with him. Owens was out of the band, but Williford and others brought him groceries and clothes. I don't know for sure why he died, but in 2002 Owens said he had diabetes, congestive heart failure, liver disease. He was living on a veteran's check of $341 a month, "wishing my luck would change.''

It never did, of course. And now Owens isn't reliving his big moment, capitalizing on it or even watching these Bears.

But he was part of what we're celebrating. Let's not leave him out again.

Letters to our sports columnists appear Sunday. Send e-mail to Include your full name, hometown and a daytime phone number.

''THE SUPER BOWL SHUFFLE'' LYRICS Written by Mel Owens and Dick Meyer


We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew

Shufflin' on down, doin' it for you.

We're so bad, we know we're good.

Blowin' your mind like we knew we would.

You know we're just struttin' for fun,

Struttin' our stuff for everyone.

We're not here to start no trouble.

We're just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.


Well, they call me Sweetness,

And I like to dance.

Runnin' the ball is like makin' romance.

We've had the goal since training camp

To give Chicago a Super Bowl champ.

And we're not doin' this

Because we're greedy.

The Bears are doin' it to feed the needy.

We didn't come here to look for trouble.

We just came here to do

The Super Bowl Shuffle.


This is Speedy Willie, and I'm world class.

I like runnin', but I love to get the pass.

I practice all day and dance all night.

I got to get ready for the Sunday fight.

Now I'm as smooth as a chocolate swirl.

I dance a little funky, so watch me, girl.

There's no one here that does it like me.

My Super Bowl Shuffle will set you free.


I'm Samurai Mike; I stop 'em cold.

Part of the defense, big and bold.

I've been jammin' for quite a while,

Doin' what's right and settin' the style.

Give me a chance, I'll rock you good,

Nobody messin' in my neighborhood.

I didn't come here lookin' for trouble,

I just came to do the Super Bowl Shuffle

(Repeat Chorus)


I'm the punky QB known as McMahon.

When I hit the turf, I've got no plan.

I just throw my body all over the field.

I can't dance, but I can throw the pill.

I motivate the cats, I like to tease.

I play so cool, I aim to please.

That's why you all got here on the double

To catch me doin' the Super Bowl Shuffle.


I'm mama's boy Otis, one of a kind.

The ladies all love me

For my body and my mind.

I'm slick on the floor as I can be

But ain't no sucker gonna get past me.

Some guys are jealous

Of my style and class,

That's why some end up on their ---.

I didn't come here lookin' for trouble.

I just get down to the Super Bowl Shuffle.


They say Jimbo is our man.

If Jimmy can't do it, I sure can.

This is Steve, and it's no wonder

I run like lightnin', pass like thunder.

So bring on Atlanta, bring on Dallas,

This is for Mike and Papa Bear Halas.

I'm not here to feather his ruffle.

I just came here to do

The Super Bowl Shuffle.


I'm L.A. Mike, and I play it cool.

They don't sneak by me 'cause I'm no fool.

I fly on the field and get on down.

Everybody knows I don't mess around.

I can break 'em, shake 'em,

Any time of day.

I like to steal it and make 'em pay,

So please don't cry to beat my hustle

'Cause I'm just here to do

The Super Bowl Shuffle.

(Repeat Chorus)


The sackman's comin', I'm your man Dent.

If the quarterback's slow,

He's gonna get bent.

We stop the run, we stop the pass,

I like to dump guys on their ---.

We love to play for the world's best fans.

You better start makin'

Your Super Bowl plans.

But don't get ready or go to any trouble

Unless you practice

The Super Bowl Shuffle.


It's Gary here, and I'm Mr. Clean.

They call me "hit man,''

Don't know what they mean.

They throw it long and watch me run.

I'm on my man, one-on-one.

Buddy's guys cover it down to the bone.

That's why they call us the 46 zone.

Come on everybody, let's scream and yell.

We're goin' to do the Shuffle,

Then ring your bell.


You're lookin' at the Fridge.

I'm the rookie.

I may be large, but I'm no dumb cookie.

You've seen me hit, you've seen me run.

When I kick and pass, we'll have more fun.

I can dance, you will see.

The others, they all learn from me.

I don't come here lookin' for trouble.

I just came here to do

The Super Bowl Shuffle.

(Repeat Chorus)

Copyright © The Sun-Times Company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: bears; chicago; football

1 posted on 12/11/2005 10:43:30 AM PST by buckeyesrule
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To: buckeyesrule

I never knew who wrote this song. It was a really well sritten tune. Very creative!

2 posted on 12/11/2005 10:44:38 AM PST by buckeyesrule (Go Bucks! Beat the Irish....again!!!!)
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To: buckeyesrule
The Niners tried their own song in 1985. Unintentionally hilarious.

3 posted on 12/11/2005 10:55:25 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: buckeyesrule
Bears Super Bowl Shuffle Video
4 posted on 12/11/2005 10:59:38 AM PST by NautiNurse (The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy - Ramsey Clark)
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To: buckeyesrule

Buddy Ryan should have been in this.

5 posted on 12/11/2005 11:03:09 AM PST by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: martin_fierro

The Dallas Cowboys put out a "rap video" when that was the rage. I saw it once, and it was up there with William Shatner singing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Tom Landry trying to rap was one of the most surreal things I've ever seen. Thankfully, it's so far buried, I don't think you could even find it on the internet.

6 posted on 12/11/2005 11:04:09 AM PST by Richard Kimball (Tenure is the enemy of excellence.)
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To: buckeyesrule


7 posted on 12/11/2005 11:05:51 AM PST by VOA
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To: Richard Kimball; buckeyesrule
Then there's the quasi-Disco San Diego Chargers tune. < |:)~

(I have a Dr. Dementoesque fascination with bad football music)

8 posted on 12/11/2005 11:11:35 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: buckeyesrule

The Super Bowl Shuffle is a SONG? Play a few bars on the piano for me, huh?

9 posted on 12/11/2005 11:12:00 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: martin_fierro

Was the Chargers song from 1981 when they ran into an iceburg in Cincinnati? 59 below zero! BRRRRRR!!!!

10 posted on 12/11/2005 11:47:34 AM PST by buckeyesrule (Go Bucks! Beat the Irish....again!!!!)
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To: robertpaulsen
The Super Bowl Shuffle is a SONG?

It's "crap," but the "c" is silent.

11 posted on 12/11/2005 1:12:47 PM PST by anonymous_user (I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas, but I'm not forcing you to have one.)
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To: martin_fierro

Was that the "San Diego...super Chargers!" song?

It was terrible.

I live in Phoenix, we don't have a professional football team, just the Cardinals.

12 posted on 12/11/2005 1:15:03 PM PST by Central Scrutiniser (Screw Christmas, Happy Festivus!!!)
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