SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - When the San Francisco 49ers head into Super Bowl LIV, they’ll do so with a new fight song, that’s actually decades old.
The song’s beat is ancient by current standards, but the lyrics have been revamped for right now. It’s a new anthem for “Niner Nation” to carry the red-and-gold into Sunday’s big game.
“I wanna inspire the team, I want them to know we’re with them. And music has a power that’s right next to god,” said Narada Michael Walden, the producer of the song.
He first heard whispers about a possible career in music as a child growing up in Michigan. Over the years, his dream materialized, and he’s collaborated with many of the biggest recording artists of our time – from Whitney Houston, to Prince, to Carlos Santana.
But in 1984, he co-wrote “We Are the 49ers,” disco bass-driven beat blared over radios and headphones to help propel the team to victory.
He has now dusted off the old reel-to-reel recording tapes, and is re-releasing the song, but updating the roster names and adding a 2020 sound.
“Getting a best of both. The new cast for their inspiration, with the strength of that track from ’84. And I’m bumping it up so it sounds like now,” said Walden.
“Niner Nation” has already adopted a song by rap artist E-40, “Bang Niner Gang.” And now Walden is bringing the past to prominence with “We Are the 49ers.” And the appeal to fans may depend on when you were born.
“You are at ground-zero 49er happenings in this county,” said Alex Stricker, owner of The Flatiron, a sports bar in Downtown San Rafael.
He says the revamped song strikes a familiar cord, but the appeal may be generational.
“I think you associate that song with that run. And kids, people that are around (now) are never going to have heard that before. Unless they rooting and watching and listening during that time,” said Stricker, adding, “In this bar if that came on, I’m sure people would get lively.”
Walden is hoping a blast from past, tweaked for present-day listeners, will be better than what came before, but will still lead the team to a Super Bowl victory.
“It’s better now because it’s now. Now is always. Back then it was better, until now. Now, now is better," Walden said with a hearty laugh.
The new version of “We Are the 49ers” is available for download from most platforms.