When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the City of Philadelphia ignited from the second the game ended—from climbing poles to swarming Broad Street, the community came alive. That whole year was a wild ride, and anyone who was in Philly for that time knows just how important that historic first win was for Eagles fans. With all of that emotion pouring out, some might say a soundtrack is needed to convey just how symbolic that year was, and one Philadelphia native did just that.
Jackson Greenberg currently is a composer residing in Los Angeles, but he got his start right here in Philadelphia, where he grew up a die-hard Eagles fan. The composer ended up getting influenced by teachers at a young age, which ignited his love for music, and after studying undergrad at Princeton, he went to USC where he met legendary composer Randy Newman who then became a mentor and a friend.
From there, his career took off and he composed scores for shows and even award-winning movies, such as the documentary feature “Cartel Land” that was nominated for an Academy Award. However, when a friend let him know about the Eagles documentary, “Maybe Next Year,” going into production, Greenberg knew he had to work his way on to this film. After cold-emailing the production team and sending his samples in, the producers decided to go with a composer who bled green.
“Being from Philadelphia I always listened to Bruce Springsteen and other Philadelphia bands and I really wanted the sound to reflect the sound of [the city],” says Greenberg. “I couldn’t think of anything better than recording my friend John Natchez on saxophone [for it] because a big influence for me was Clarence Clemmons, Bruce Springsteen’s saxophonist. John had been a close friend of mine and he happens to be in The War on Drugs, which is a big Philly band and so it all came together.”
Although the project was one near and dear to his heart, for a fan of the Super Bowl LII champions, this project is one that added a lot of pressure. As many Philadelphians know, sports are the lifeblood of the city and to honor just how significant those moments in time were for Philly fans, Greenberg needed to dig deep.
“I think it was harder than other projects for me because it was so personal,” continues Greenberg. “I really put a lot of pressure on myself to make something special and put all of my heart into it and just knowing that all of my friends and family were going to see this and how much the movie meant to the team and my family and me, it was a labor of love for sure and I was happy with the way it turned out.”
For the soundtrack for “Maybe next Year,” Greenberg utilized the saxophone, harmonica, and other sounds to make the score more “Philly.” He also used local musicians and iconic sounds from the area to fuel his love letter to Eagles fans.
“There’s only so many notes and chords, so for me, I really like finding the instruments and the way to make each one unique for people and the stories being told. You have to find musical languages unique to each film so you don’t end up repeating yourself on each project, and it was fun for me because I hadn’t really heard those instruments in a movie like this before,” explains Greenberg. “Also, it was really just a process of trying to reconnect to how I felt during the different times of the season—whether it was the Minnesota game or the Super Bowl—I imagined what it was like to be there and tried to translate that into music. The scene where they end up winning and everyone is celebrating and running into the streets— that was by far the hardest for me. I did a bunch of different versions that didn’t feel quite right, then I felt like I had hit on it and it was a pretty emotional experience because it brought out the emotions that we had all felt that night.”
For specific moments in the film, such as the Eagles parade day, Greenberg was also able to add some more Philly flavor into the mix, recruiting his friend Teddy Grossman into adding one of his own songs with lyrics. Grossman is also from Philly, and is a Bird’s fan who watches the games every week in LA with Greenberg. For the composer, to work on a documentary of this magnitude and significance, the ones who made the music had to come from Philly themselves.
“It had to be that way. When I heard about it, [I knew] if anyone else got to work on this score besides me who’s not from Philly, it was going to make me mad. It felt really cool to make that connection for a friend and also someone who the team means a lot to,” says Greenberg.
“Maybe Next Year” is now available to rent through VOD, or you can order the documentary through a DVD online. Even if you aren’t a die-hard Eagles fan or not even a football fan at all, the movie showcases an incredible moment for a city that truly bleeds green.
“I think in some ways, it’s a more interesting experience for people that aren’t football fans,” says Greenberg. “They say for good score, you shouldn’t even recognize it until you watch the movie for a second time—it shouldn’t distract from what’s on-screen. My hope is that the movie and music combine together to just make people realize how passionate Philadelphia sports fans are in addition to boo’s, and the negative perception that Philadelphia sports fans get in the media. It’s also about love, it’s also about community, it’s also about hope, all of these positive things in addition to pain is what I tried to capture altogether for the soundtrack.”