Gooooo sports! Or something like that.
Videos by American Songwriter
With the recent kickoff of another college football season, the ritual of turning on the sports channel every Saturday has us feeling nostalgic. And with each touchdown scored, every halftime show broadcasted, we hear each college’s marching band strike up their tried and true fight song. So, to tap into this sense of camaraderie, we’ve decided to take a closer look at some of the best fight songs that are fitting for almost any sporting occasion.
1. “The Victors,” University of Michigan
Located in the Great Lakes megalopolis city of Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines have a rather historic fight song. Firstly, their fight song, “The Victors,” was written by university student Louis Elbel in 1898. Elbel penned the lyrics after watching Michigan’s football team pull out a last-minute win over the University of Chicago to win a league championship.
And secondly, President Gerald Ford preferred “The Victors” over the typical presidential anthem “Hail to the Chief.” The United States Marine Band played “The Victors” as President Ford’s entrance anthem from 1974 to 1977 and a slow-temp version of the song was played at his funeral.
2. “Notre Dame Victory March,” University of Notre Dame
This fight song was written by Notre Dame alums and brothers, Michael J. Shea and John F. Shea. Today, the song is performed by The Band of the Fighting Irish, but the “Notre Dame Victory March” made its official debut late in 1908 at an event honoring the university president. At that event, the song was first sung by the Notre Dame Glee Club which was accompanied by the university orchestra.
3. “Yea Alabama!,” The University of Alabama
Written in 1926 by Ethelred Lundy “Epp” Sykes, “Yea Alabama!” was created after Alabama’s first Rose Bowl win. Syles had entered a contest in the Rammer Jammer magazine that called for a new fight song for the SEC school, and as we know now, his lyrics took the cake.
4. “Rocky Top,” University of Tennessee
“Rocky Top” is not the de jure fight song of the University of Tennessee, but rather the de facto fight song chosen by the students and fans. (The official fight song is “Down the Field.”) But the fact that the people chose “Rocky Top” speaks volumes about this song’s charisma.
5. “Anchors Aweigh,” United States Naval Academy
“Anchors Aweigh” was first played over a century ago during a game between the Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy (Army versus Navy). It was 1906 to be exact, and Navy hadn’t beat Army since 1900. Safe to say, the tune stuck, and “Anchors Aweigh” is now also associated with the United States Navy at large—not just the Naval Academy.
6. “Buckeye Battle Cry,” The Ohio State University
While Ohio State’s mascot is arguably one of the most bizarre in the country (Brutus Buckeye), the university’s official fight song is one of high caliber. Frank Crumit—singer, composer, and vaudeville star—wrote “Buckeye Battle Cry” and entered it in a 1919 song contest. At the time, construction on the Ohio Stadium was underway, and the university was on the hunt for a new fight song to fill its shiny new bleachers. “Buckeye Battle Cry” hit the bullseye and remains the school’s fight song still today.
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