Best and worst SEC fight songs
When it comes to fight songs, (insert your school name here) has the best in all of college football. Every other fight song in the nation was driveled onto, presumably, the back of a used napkin by some tone-deaf rube.
Fight songs are like your grandpa’s opinions. They’re a bit outdated, they all kind of sound the same, and they’re based on events that occurred in the early 1900s.
And yet we still love them for exactly those qualities.
Fight songs have been firing up teams in the SEC and beyond for as long as there has been college football. Fans know them by heart. Players draw inspiration from them when digging down for that little extra on the gridiron, hardwood or diamond.
Simply hearing the rat-a-tat of the snare drum across campus is one of the indelible sounds of college football. But not all fight songs are created equal. Many are classic and powerfully driven. Others can be confounding or, worse, uninspiring.
Here is a look at several SEC fight songs that rank among the best in the conference and a few that leave us wanting a bit more.
ALABAMA’S “YEA ALABAMA”
Alabama is among the SEC’s best when it comes to many things, particularly in football. The school’s fight song is no different. Ethelred Lundy (Epp) Sykes’ “Yea Alabama” has morphed a tad since its inception in 1926 — verses have been deleted from the beginning, and “Roll Tide” was annexed at the end, while references to defunct rivals Georgia Tech and Sewanee remain, but its clout persists. The tune has a hint of a circus element to it, at least at the beginning, perfect for imagining an elephant lumbering its way into Bryant-Denny Stadium.
LSU’S “FIGHT FOR LSU”
Arguably one of the more iconic fight songs in the nation, LSU’s “Fight For LSU” is about as college football as you can get. While a couple of the school’s fight songs, such as “Neck” and “Tiger Rag” have needed a politically correct scrubbing in recent years, Castro Carazo’s masterpiece is still revered some 70 years after he penned the classic and is a game-day staple in Death Valley. Carazo, who teamed with Huey P. Long to write several LSU fight songs, was enshrined in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, right next to the legendary likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Allen Toussaint, to name just a few.
— Quindarius Thagard (@qt41_era) October 4, 2011
GEORGIA’S “HAIL TO GEORGIA”
Georgia’s fight song isn’t just some red-clad fan getting in your face and voraciously barking. The school has several fight songs, the most recognizable being “Glory, Glory,” which is fashioned after the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” And while “Glory, Glory” is an amazingly motivational piece of music, the school’s official fight song is “Hail to Georgia.” The differences between the two songs are minimal when it comes to inspiring the impetus of Bulldog fans. And while the school has gotten away from singing the lyrics of Gaines W. Walter’s 1931 song during games in recent years, every Georgia fan knows how to sing along. Just ask these guys.
Hail to Georgia, down in Dixie… pic.twitter.com/S2jlaoSmOI
— Merv Waldrop (@MervWaldrop) October 18, 2015
THE … COULD BE BETTER
TENNESSEE’S “DOWN THE FIELD”
Your caterwauling can be heard all the way atop Clingman’s Dome. Yes, “Rocky Top” is the preferred tune of choice on campus in Knoxville, but “Down the Field” is technically Tennessee’s official fight song. And as far as fight songs go, “Down the Field” is more like middle of the road. Perhaps that’s why “Rocky Top” was able to wrest the honor of fight song away in the Volunteer fan’s hearts. Also, because “Rocky Top” is a great song — and regarded among the best in all of collegiate athletics. But if we’re sticking with official fight songs here, “Down the Field” is down the list of best in the SEC. You be the judge. Which would you prefer to hear the Pride of the Southland bellow?
— Greg Glover (@gregglover3) January 1, 2016
OLE MISS’ “FORWARD REBELS”
It’s difficult to hear Ole Miss’ “Forward Rebels” and not envision yourself sitting in a movie theater during the 1940s and watching footage of soldiers marching into World War II. While the song isn’t without its share of pep, it’s a relatively simple ditty compared to other conference fight refrains.
TEXAS A&M’S “AGGIE WAR HYMN”
Texas A&M’s “Aggie War Hymn” has an impressive history, having been allegedly written by J.V. “Pinky” Wilson while standing guard on the Rhine during World War I. While the school doesn’t technically have an official fight song, “Aggie War Hymn” has more than fit the bill. However, lyrically speaking, the song reads like that of a younger brother desperately trying to compete with his older sibling. In this case, the University of Texas. The song is all about beating the Longhorns and even concludes on game days with fans locking arms and feigning sawing off the fabled Bevo’s horns (the swaying is actually pretty cool). Lest we omit the song’s opening phrase “Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!,” a cacophony of sounds that’s thought to be that of an original Army Aggie yell, or the sound a cannon makes when being loaded, or the din created by the locomotives that chug through College Station. Wilson rewrote a second “less Texas” verse, but the original is the version that traditionally resonates best among fans.