The Post-Gazette held a Best Pittsburgh Song Contest in 2006 and Bob Pegritz
gave each one a listen. Bob is a native of Smock, Fayette County who used to live and work in Pittsburgh. He has been living in Lancaster County for several years.
“Some people used melodies that already existed and put in Pittsburgh words,” he said. “Some were original melodies but I got so angry one night that I sat at my computer and this song came out.”
Bob writes: "Mike Gallagher, Pittsburgh Irish and folk music icon was so kind to set my words about my home town to music. Paddy Folan, accordianist in Guaranteed Irish lent his expertise and Jamie Peck, master engineer and part-time bassist and percussionist made our song come alive.
“I don’t want to make anything from this," he told Walkabout today, "but I want to let people know what Pittsburgh is about. It’s not synonymous with Primanti’s. It’s not the shot-and-beer thing or the Steelers. My grandparents did not break their backs in this town to be told that’s what Pittsburgh’s all about.”
Post-Gazette readers cast 14,866 votes in choosing “I Love Pittsburgh” by Jimmy Sapienza in 2006 It has a swinging, uptown spirit and calls out all the sports teams. You can surely dance to it. It won with 64 percent of the vote.
My former colleague Monica Haynes reported on the contest result, citing the inspiration as coming from Atlanta’s 2005 commissioning of a song to promote that city. “The result was a hip-hop-flavored R&B tune called the ‘ATL,’” she wrote. “After hearing about Atlanta’s new ditty, folks at the Post-Gazette began wondering what kind of song could best show the world what Pittsburgh is all about.”
It has been eight years since the contest. Might be time for a new contest to see how the city is inspiring a new generation.