The joy of a Celtics fan in 2009 has rekindled America’s love affair with a karaoke staple dating back to 1986.
Thanks to the power of the Internet and its strange tendency to loop back around on itself, the fan-on-camera video to end all videos of Celtics fan Jeremy Fry dancing frenetically to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” has experienced a massive resurgence in views — so massive that Bon Jovi’s tune, a song released nearly three decades ago, has cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 25.
The Boston Celtics’ 2008-09 season was filled with good vibes. The team had just won its first championship in 22 years. The Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were crafting a season that included the best start (13 straight wins) and longest winning streak (19 straight wins) in franchise history. The team was on the fast track for the playoffs, the fans were feeling good and everybody at TD Garden knew it.
Enter Jeremy Fry, the subject of one of the greatest displays of unexpected Jumbotron enthusiasm in the history of Boston sports — if not sports as a whole. During a break in play at a Celtics home game in March of 2009, the Garden crew cranked the Bon Jovi tune as various fans were shown on the big screen for a few seconds of glory. When the camera turned to Fry, however, the good vibes, good music and good times were too much for him to keep all bottled up, and like the Celtics’ own storied legacy, the rest was history.
Fry enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame with humility, giving interviews with local media outlets without taking himself too seriously. It’s a good thing, too, because his time in the spotlight wasn’t over. Fry’s performance returned in October of 2013, when a copy of his dance moves was uploaded to the aggregator site Utrend.tv. Since then, the video has been watched 11 million times worldwide and has been shared 1.6 million times on Facebook. Coupled with renewed interest in Fry’s story, fans streamed Bon Jovi’s arena anthem 5.1 million times the week of Nov. 10 — a 390 percent increase and more than enough to catapult “Prayer” back toward the top of the charts.
What to make of the fact that thanks to the uncontrollable interconnectivity provided by the Internet,a three-year old video has rekindled the public’s interest in a song nearly three decades past its time?
We have made it to the future, friends, and that future is weird.