At college sporting events, fight songs have long been a tradition. Some people adore and others despise the music performed by school bands and the cheers yelled by supporters. They can enliven a gathering, but they can also incite dissent.
Since the middle of the 1880s, colleges have used their fight song as a form of jubilant celebration.
People’s ardent devotion to their school’s fight song may stem from its delightful association with first downs, interceptions, lengthy returns, blessed touchdowns, and the outcome of all these things combined… college football victories.
Continue reading to find out the top 15 best college fight songs.
Table of Contents
- What is a Fight Song?
- Overview of the Best College Fight Songs
- List of the Best College Fight Songs
- #1. The Victors
- #2. Buckeye Battle Cry
- #3. Notre Dame Victory March
- #4. Yea Alabama
- #5. On, Brave Old Army Team
- #6. MSU Fight Song
- #7. Hail to Georgia
- #8. Dear Old Nebraska U
- #9. Fight On, State
- #10. Fight On
- #11. Anchors Aweigh
- #12. Mighty Oregon
- #13. Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech
- #14. Boomer Sooner
- #15. The Aggie War Hymn
- Image URL
What is a Fight Song?
A fight song is a song associated with a specific sports team, sung by fans to express solidarity and get excited about sports matches.
Fight songs are also used to rally crowds at sports events, and the term is used to refer to any song used to whip up or excite a crowd. While the term is American, we can see the practice around the world, with other countries using terms like “team song” or “sports anthem” to refer to a fight song.
With simple lyrics and a beat, a traditional fight song is simple to learn. Sport spectators may sing out of the blue or bands and cheerleaders may guide them. In order to encourage fans, they play fight songs when teams enter the field or score goals.
The team mascot may also be mentioned in the fight song, and when it is played, team mascots may dance in unison. Some war songs make mention to particular foes; the American Navy fight song, for instance, has a line about sinking the Army.
Overview of the Best College Fight Songs
Here is an overview of the best college fight songs:
- 1. The Victors
- 2. Buckeye Battle Cry
- 3. Notre Dame Victory March
- 4. Yea Alabama
- 5. On, Brave Old Army Team
- 6. MSU Fight Song
- 7. Hail to Georgia
- 8. Dear Old Nebraska U
- 9. Fight On, State
- 10. Fight On
- 11. Anchors Aweigh
- 12. Mighty Oregon
- 13. Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech
- 14. Boomer Sooner
- 15. The Aggie War Hymn
List of the Best College Fight Songs
The college football marching band traditions will get you in the game whether you’re watching it at one of the city’s top sports bars or taking a weekend trip to your favorite team’s stadium.
Who knows? Perhaps all that watching of sports will give you the itch to put together your own mix of workout music and start moving.
Here are the top 15 best college fight songs:
#1. The Victors
The Wolverines’ nail-biting 12-11 victory over Chicago in 1898, which ended a perfect season and gave Michigan its first-ever Big Ten championship, served as the inspiration for Louis Elbel’s composition “The Victors,” which is the most famous of all the best college fight songs.
This enticing composition is difficult to beat, regardless of your affiliation with a particular university or conference.
It tops our esteemed list, announcing Michigan as the winner of our musical spirit sweepstakes.
“Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan
The leaders and best!
Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
The champions of the West!”
#2. Buckeye Battle Cry
The winning entry in the 1919 competition to discover a brand-new fight song to commemorate the opening of the new Ohio Stadium was “Buckeye Battle Cry,” another fight song that was created through competition.
This is one of the best spirit sonatas on our list, starting with one of the best song introductions on the entire list, complete with a full measure of intense drumming.
It has the right tempo to cause goosebumps, it is proud, and it is easy to see how the words are supposed to go together (especially if you like to wear a nut necklace).
“In old Ohio (Columbus) there’s a team
That’s known throughout the land
Eleven warriors brave and bold
Whose fame will ever stand
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky
Ohio Field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry!”
#3. Notre Dame Victory March
This is the only fight song on our list written by two brothers is this one. Yes, Notre Dame alumni and related family Reverend Michael J. Shea (1905) and John F. Shea wrote “Notre Dame Victory March” (1906 and 1907).
This classic and incredibly iconic song delivers a traditional and stirring punch, although the haters will despise it and the lovers will hail it as the greatest song in the planet’s history.
“Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.”
#4. Yea Alabama
“Yea Alabama,” composed by engineering student Ethelred Lundy Sykes as a submission for a competition to create a new fight song after Alabama defeated Washington 20-19 in the 1926 Rose Bowl, is as well-known and one of the best college fight songs on our list.
One of the better lyrics includes the following, aside from the direct references to Georgia Tech and Georgia (which you have to love):
“And if a man starts to weaken, that’s his shame:
For Bama’s pluck and grit have writ her name in Crimson Flame.”
Considering that cowbells would have been ringing in the background had this material been written in 1986, aren’t you glad it was done in 1926?
#5. On, Brave Old Army Team
Lieutenant Philip Egner is said to have composed the song “On, Brave Old Army Team” while he was walking across the West Point campus in 1910.
Egner wrote his thought on his cuff so he could remember it when he arrived at his destination. The Army teams of the past inspired him (little did he realize the squad would win five national crowns from 1914 to 1946).
The song “On Brave Old Army Team” does much more than only represent a college football team, much like the “Air Force Song” and “Anchors Aweigh.” It serves as a rallying cry for a valiant group of people serving all over the world and calls to mind the heroic predecessors.
“On, brave old Army team!
On to the fray.
Fight on to victory.
For that’s the fearless Army way.”
It’s hard to beat that.
#6. MSU Fight Song
The “MSU Fight Song,” which was created in 1915 and is based on the hymn “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” was adapted by Michigan State cheerleader Francis Irving Lankey and actor Arthur Sayles.
The song has the feel of tremendous importance coupled with an enticing speed and flow that is difficult to surpass, and Lankey and Sayles’ musical skill has produced a praiseworthy outcome.
Some of the lyrical genius’ most memorable lines include these:
“Its specialty is winning
And those Spartans play good ball.”
“See their team is weakening,
We’re going to win this game.”
Who wouldn’t want to have those same thoughts when watching their team compete in the field honor?
#7. Hail to Georgia
The University of Georgia’s fight song, “Hail to Georgia,” was written by Gaines W. Walter, a 1915 University of Georgia graduate, even though “Glory, Glory” is the school’s rally song and is often believed to be the institution’s official spirit song.
Although the song’s lyrics aren’t well known, they are timeless and reflect the tenacity, loyalty, and ardor you’d expect from the Bulldogs, who have a long history of tradition.
The song was copyrighted in 1931.
It’s the most enthusiastic combination of lyrics and a tune you’ll ever hear.
“Hail to Georgia down to Dixie!
A college honr’d fair, and true;
The Red and Black is her standard, proudly it waves,
Streaming today and the ages through.
She’s the fairest in the Southland
We’ll pledge our love to her for aye;
To that college dear we’ll ring a cheer,
All hail to dear old UGA!”
#8. Dear Old Nebraska U
Although “Hail Varsity” is played after the Cornhuskers score a touchdown, “Dear Old Nebraska U” (also known as “There is No Place Like Nebraska”) is played after extra points and at the end of each game.
Although none appears to be the “official” fight song, both are excellent enough to rank at the top of this list.
Harry Pecha, who graduated from Nebraska in 1924, is credited with writing the amusing song “Dear Old Nebraska University.”
This song makes you flail about in the throes of victory because it is so dripping with energy.
“There is no place like Nebraska,
Dear old Nebraska U.
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest,
Of any old school that I knew.”
I’ve always thought the squarest boys were the best.
#9. Fight On, State
“Fight On, State,” another absolute classic, captures the old-school football fervor of Penn State, which is admirable regardless of your own allegiance.
“Fight On, State,” a 1915 composition by Joe Saunders, has a zipping personality that slows down for reflection and offers a few priceless seconds to taste the flavor.
The song’s lyrics are fantastic, but my favorite line is “Victory we forecast for thee,”
Which is the cry of every loyal fan. I declare, “Long live the delusional and dyed-in-the-wool college football fan!”
“Fight on State, Fight on State,
Strike your gait and win.
Victory we predict for thee,
We’re ever true to you, dear old
White and Blue.
Onward, State, Onward, State,
Roar, Lions, Roar!
We’ll hit that line, roll up the score,
Fight on to victory evermore,
Fight on, on on, on, on,
Fight on, Penn State!”
#10. Fight On
You can’t deny the fact that USC’s masterwork “Fight On,” one of the most epic pieces of spirit music ever composed, sounds more like a production number than an old-school fight song.
The great school song “Fight On” was written by Milo Sweet, a dental student, and was the winner of a student spirit competition in 1922.
Consider the rumor that “Fight On” was played to encourage troops in the Pacific theater of World War II if you’re still not persuaded that this is a chart-topping composition.
“Fight On for ol’ SC
Our men Fight On to victory
Our Alma Mater dear,
looks up to you
Fight On and win
For ol’ SC
Fight On to victory
#11. Anchors Aweigh
“Anchors Aweigh” was composed as a football march to be used when the Naval Academy entered the field, although it represents the entire naval branch of the military. It is one of the best college fight songs.
Lieutenant Charles A. Zimmerman, the Academy’s bandleader, wrote the music.
Alfred Hart Miles, a midshipman who graduated from the Navy with the Class of 1907, wrote the lyrics.
The tune was performed at the Army vs. Navy game in 1906, which Navy won 10-0, giving them an 8-2-2 record and their first victory against Army since 1900.
The lyrics of “Anchors Aweigh” have undergone several changes, but the song has remained a cheerful, patriotic, and wonderful seafaring tune that endures.
“Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to foreign shores, We sail at break of day, of day.
Through our last night on shore, Drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more. Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home!”
#12. Mighty Oregon
If “The Mighty Oregon March” sounds familiar, you are remembering the 1912 March “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” which gained enormous popularity during World War I. (the same tune is also used by Missouri for its fight song “Every True Son”).
The song “Mighty Oregon” made its debut in Oregon in 1916 and was composed by band director Albert Perfect (try growing up with that moniker).
When I hear “Mighty Oregon,” I’m struck by how significant it sounds, almost as if major matters of state are being settled while we sing our fantastic hymn.
Because football is so important to some of us, I adore that.
“Oregon, our Alma Mater
We will guard thee on and on
Let us gather round and cheer her
Chant her glory Oregon
Roar the praises of her warriors
Sing the story Oregon
On to victory urge the heroes
Of our mighty Oregon!
Go Ducks Go!
Fight Ducks Fight!
Win Ducks Win! “
“Roar the praises of her warriors”—I wish I had said it first!
#13. Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech
The first recorded instance of “Ramblin’ Wreck at Georgia Tech” occurred in 1908 and is based on “Son of a Gambolier” (1885), which draws its lyrics from a Scottish drinking song.
According to legend, “ramblin’ wrecks” were invented by Georgia Tech engineers in the late 1800s while operating in isolated regions of South America.
In the included video, the Georgia Tech band performs “White and Gold” before “Ramblin’ Wreck.”
The song’s lyrics are just as vibrant as any other on this wonderful list.
“I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, and a hell of an engineer—
A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer.
Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.
I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.
Oh! If I had a daughter, sir, I’d dress her in White and Gold,
And put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.
But if I had a son, sir, I’ll tell you what he’d do—
He would yell,’To hell with Georgia!’ like his daddy used to do.
Oh, I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three thousand pounds,
A college bell to put it in and a clapper to stir it round.
I’d drink to all the good fellows who come from far and near.
I’m a ramblin’, gamblin’, hell of an engineer!”
“And a clapper to stir it round”—nothing says “GO TEAM” quite like that!
#14. Boomer Sooner
“Boomer Sooner,” written by Arthur M. Alden in 1905, combines the fight songs “Boola Boola” from Yale and “I’m a Tar Heel Born” from North Carolina.
Boomer Sooner is a classic that is as catchy and enthusiastic as any on this list, although it is tough for the opposing fan to tolerate when the Oklahoma band plays the song while the Sooners are racking up an absurd number of points.
Yes, that chuck wagon is crossing the field, and even if they weren’t the first to say it, they’re “Sooner dead” when they pass away.
“Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
Boomer Sooner, O-K-U!
I’m a Sooner born
And a Sooner bred,
And when I die
I’ll be Sooner dead.
Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma!
Rah, Oklahoma! O-K-U! “
#15. The Aggie War Hymn
J.V. “Pinky” Wilson, a Texas A&M alumni and World War I veteran, composed “The Aggie War Hymn,” a collection of several Aggie chants, melodies, and cries, which is a linguistic triumph.
Words like “hullabaloo,” “caneck,” and “chigaroogarem” give Texas A&M’s “War Hymn” an Aggie-esque contribution to fight song tradition.
The emphasis on defeating the University of Texas is clear (even though there is another verse that is oriented towards defeating other opponents).
Whatever you may think of the old Ags, they are a passionate group of supporters who pay close attention to tradition.
They are leaving a heated intra-conference rivalry with the Longhorns in the rearview mirror.
“Rough, Tough, real stuff Texas A&M Good bye to Texas University
So long to the orange and the white Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies
They are the boys who show the real old fight ‘the eyes of Texas are upon you’
That is the song they sing so well
Sounds Like Hell
So good bye to Texas University
We’re gonna beat you all to Chigaroogarem
Rough, Tough, Real stuff, Texas A&M
Saw varsity’s horns off Saw varsity’s horns off
Aaw varsity’s horns off
Varsity’s horns are sawed”
It is a music that is used to get people excited, before an athletic competition.
Hugh Hodgson, a well-known pianist, created the song’s current arrangement in 1915. The public can now use it. All sports team has an own fight song. Some teams compose their own fight songs or commission original ones just for the team.
The University Of Notre Dame’s fight song is the Notre Dame Victory March. The song’s chorus is one of the best college fight songs.
The 10 best college fight songs are:
1. The Victors
2. Buckeye Battle Cry
3. Notre Dame Victory March
4. Yea Alabama
5. On, Brave Old Army Team
6. MSU Fight Song
7. Hail to Georgia
8. Dear Old Nebraska U
9. Fight On, State
10. Fight On
Fight songs have a long history of being performed at collegiate athletic events. Different people enjoy the music played by school bands and the cheers shouted by supporters. They can liven up a crowd, but they can also stir up unrest.
Different schools have their own fight songs. So we have listed 15 of the best college fight songs in this article.
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