No matter which team you’re cheering for this football season, college fight songs are an easy way to pump up the volume in more ways than one. Whether they’re being sung by fans in the stands while the marching band is on the field or being chanted by a group of alumni watching the game on a TV in someone’s living room, college fight songs express excitement and solidarity.
Hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S. have fight songs and StateUniversity.com is pleased to present you with our Top 10.
With one of few all-brass and percussion bands in the country—and possibly the largest in the world—it makes sense that The Ohio State University has several official and unofficial fight songs. Buckeye Battle Cry was written by Frank Crumit, an alumnus of Ohio University but Buckeye fan nonetheless, for a fight song contest held in 1919 to adopt new school fight songs.
Across the Field was first performed in the early 1900s and remains just as popular today. The lyrics reference football heroics but the song is used by all Buckeye sports teams.
Even though Orange and Blue is played during most University of Florida sporting events as a show of support for the Florida Gators, the Pride of the Sunshine Gator marching band and the university’s other pep bands rarely play any part besides the fight song’s chorus.
The University of Mississippi has been without an official mascot since 2003, but the Ole Miss football team is still known as the Rebels. Forward Rebels, also known as the Rebel March, is the fight song for the University of Mississippi. It’s played by the Ole Miss Pride of the South marching band at official university sporting events.
Written by Arthur M. Alden in 1905, the Boomer Sooner Fight Song is the fight song of the University of Oklahoma. The tune was originally taken from Boola Boola, the fight song of Yale University. An addition taken from University of North Carolina’s I’m a Tar Heel Born was added a year later. The OU marching band plays the Boomer Sooner Fight Song whenever the team takes the field, scores or makes a big play.
The University of Michigan fight song The Victors was composed by University of Michigan student Louis Elbel in 1898. Even though it was first publicly performed in 1899, it did not catch on immediately and did not become Michigan’s official fight song until many years later. Even so, it was supposedly declared “the greatest college fight song ever written” by John Philip Sousa and President Gerald Ford enjoyed The Victors so much that it replaced Hail to the Chief as the song that announced the President of the United States during his term. The song was played at the U.S. Capitol during his 2006 funeral. Although the song is popularly called Hail to the Victors by many students and alumni, its official name is simply The Victors.
The current version of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ Arkansas Fight Song has been around since the 1920s. It is instantly recognizable throughout the SEC, but what would you expect from the only college whose mascot is a hog? The University of Arkansas appreciates tradition, refusing to update the fight song lyrics that call for the wild boars to stay “on (their) toes”—even though it’s been found that Razorbacks do not have toes.
The University of Alabama’s most distinctive traditions have to do with football, from the nickname “Crimson Tide” to their fight song, Yea Alabama. Written in 1926 by Alabama student Lundy Sykes, the Alabama fight song’s opening line is often sung as “Yea Alabama, Crimson Tide!”— even though the correct lyrics are “Yea, Alabama! Drown ’em Tide!”
Texas Fight, the official fight song of the University of Texas at Austin, is sung to a fast tempo version of Taps. It was written by Colonel Walter S. Hunnicutt in collaboration with James E. King as in response to the song used by their long time rivals, Texas A&M. Official lyrics “Hail, Hail, the gang’s all here” are almost always replaced with “Give ’em hell, give ’em hell! Go, Horns, go!”
Composed in 1922 by USC dental student Milo Sweet with lyrics by Sweet and Glen Grant for a student spirit competition, Fight On is the primary fight song of the University of Southern California. It is played by the USC Marching Band at all USC Trojan and Women of Trojan sporting events, and Fight On has been adopted as the fight song of many high schools across the U.S.— with modified lyrics.
Although Down the Field is the official fight song of the University of Tennessee, the American country and bluegrass song Rocky Top has become so closely associated with the University of Tennessee that most people believe it is the school’s fight song. It was first played by the UT band at the October 21, 1972 game against the University of Alabama.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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