PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The British singer with the pop hit about loneliness and heartbreak — one that includes the lyric, “Does she love you better than I can?” — is as amazed as anyone the song has improbably bloomed into a postseason anthem for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Calum Scott, though, sounds these days like any guy from south Philly.
“Ring the bell,” he says, laughing.
Should Bryce Harper and the Phillies win the World Series, save a spot at the end of the Broad Street parade route for Scott. Scott insists he’s coming to Philly and wearing the jersey the team sent him last season as a thank-you for his part in making “ Dancing On My Own ” a staple of the postseason soundtrack at Citizens Bank Park.
“They win the World Series, I’m there, man,” Scott said. “I think at that point, you’ll have to hold me back.”
Forget Schwarbombs and Stott Slams. The biggest smash hit these days in Philly is the song the team first embraced last season as its official playoff victory tune on the way to the World Series.
The lyrics don’t necessarily mesh with baseball — though the feeling of unrequited love hit home a bit when the Houston Astros beat the Phillies in the World Series — but it really doesn’t matter to anyone in Philly. More than 45,000 fans that rock the ballpark each night sing along to the tune after the final out in each postseason game. The revelry continues inside the clubhouse where the Phillies dance in overalls and shake and spray bottles of bubbly to the strains of the dance track.
Soaking it in nearly 3,500 miles (5,600 kilometers) away is Scott, who has kept tabs on his new favorite baseball team as it powers its way through the postseason. The Phillies blasted the tune again Wednesday night after they won their NL Wild Card Series and hope to hear it a few more times, starting this weekend with an NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.
“I would have never, ever have put my music and American sport together,” Scott said Thursday in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “Especially when my start in music was singing ballads and making people cry. The last thing I thought was a stadium full of people would be singing the song. This thing with the Phillies is just unreal.”
Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber took the song with him from his days in the Red Sox clubhouse and it became an instant postgame favorite. Garrett Stubbs, the popular backup catcher and clubhouse DJ, called the song a “banger” that shot to the top of the postgame playlist that includes remixes of “Believe,” “Cold Heart” and “Love Tonight” by Shouse.
Even old heads like Phillies manager Rob Thomson dig the beat.
“I’ve heard it a lot. I kind of like it,” he said.
Scott, calling from Yorkshire, says he always enjoyed American sports and actually grew up a bit of a baseball fan who rooted for the Toronto Blue Jays because he had family in Canada. (OK, so his Philly popularity just got dinged a bit).
Scott said there were talks with the Phillies last postseason (“they sent me the jersey I’m wearing right now”) about a performance, but his world tour put any plans on ice. Once the Phillies lost the World Series, the idea became a moot point anyway, and Scott figured his 15 minutes of Philly fame was over.
“Dancing” was last year’s rallying cry and — as some Phillies noted in spring training — a runner-up song after they fell to the Astros in six games in the World Series. It was retired until a slow start this season prompted them to break out “Dancing” in June and — amazingly — the good vibes and winning streaks soon returned.
“When they moved on, as all good things, I was like, ‘That’s an amazing moment, I’ve got my jersey, I was happy I could be behind the boys in Philly,’” he said.
But much like the song did when Scott covered the original by Robyn, it got a second life this season with the Phillies.
Scott laughed when he said he tried to keep up — rather, stay up — for the games, but the 5-hour time difference often made that impossible. Scott wakes up tagged on social media in videos that show Phillies players singing and fans partying. Scott rattled off all the hashtags that pop up on his social feeds — #ringthebell, #redoctober, #dancingonmyown — that show Philly just having a blast to his song.
“I guess there are bars nearby, an Xfinity Live? They’re just in my DMs saying, ‘You’ve got to come play,’” he said.
Among the Phillies, Stubbs has not only had social media exchanges with Scott, he had a custom suit designed for Game 5 of the World Series that included the song lyrics sewn on the inside of his jacket.
“World Series win, Calum Scott’s there,” Stubbs said.
For now, Scott is essentially acting like a postseason closer, just waiting for the Phillies to make the call for the bullpen.
“I’m here, I’m ready, as soon as they want me, let’s see what happens,” he said.
The song was first covered by Scott in 2015 when he performed on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Think Philly is a tough crowd? Scott first earned Simon Cowell’s approval on the reality show that eventually opened the doors to a wildly successful career.
“Dancing” was the No. 1 bestselling single of 2016 by a British artist, nominated for a Brit Award in the category of Best British Single and was included on his 2018 debut album, “Only Human.”
Scott’s 2017 single “You Are the Reason” recently hit 1 billion views on YouTube and his new single “At Your Worst” is out now.
But on his most recent world tour, which took him from Austria to Australia, Scotland to Switzerland, “Dancing” was the encore that every fan knew by heart.
Just like in Philly.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB