HailToPurple.com previously posted details about NU's key school songs, as well as information about NU's lost fight songs. Both of those previous pages used simple midi files for the songs.
"School Songs from the Vault" page features vintage recordings of
some of NU's fight songs and other school songs, some not heard in
decades and featuring arrangements that had been forgotten.
The newest entry is a 1954 recording of "Welcome Back to the Campus."
Vault Exhibit #6: Welcome Back to the Campus
classic Northwestern song written by Lloyd Norlin, "Welcome Back to the
Campus" had its debut alongside Norlin's other major NU song, "To The
Memories." Both songs come from the 1951 Waa-Mu show, "That
This version, recorded in 1954, features the Northwestern Men's Glee Club.
Vault Exhibit #5: To The Memories (NUMB Version)
not a fight song, nor one usually played during football games, "To The
Memories" is an iconic Northwestern song. Written by NU alumnus
Lloyd Norlin, the song had its debut in the 1951 Waa-Mu show and was an
immediate success. It soon became a standard for the Waa-Mu show,
typically used as the show's finale.
This 1954 version was arranged and recorded by John Paynter and
NUMB. It is one of only a few times that NUMB recorded this
classic NU song.
Vault Exhibit #4: The Alma Mater (Part Two: The English Version)
had been believed that the English version of NU's Alma Mater made its
debut in 1958. However, the song appears on the 1954 LP A Purple
Pageant. The liner notes of the album indicate that Thomas Tyra
wrote the Alma Mater's new lyrics in 1953. [UPDATE: the NU
Archives has Tweeted that the Tyra lyrics made their debut on October
Here is that 1954 version of the Alma Mater, the first published
recording of the Hymn with the English lyrics. Unfortunately, as
with the other recordings in the Vault, the sound quality is poor.
Vault Exhibit #3: The Alma Mater (Part One: Quaecumque Sunt Vera)
NU's Alma Mater dates back to 1907, when Peter Lutkin arranged the traditional music (click here
for details) and J. Scott Clark wrote the Latin lyrics. The newly
arranged song was usually called "Quaecumque Sunt Vera." When, in
the 1950s, different lyrics were written in English, the Latin version
began to fall out of use. Nearly all the recorded versions of the
Alma Mater are of the English version.
Here, however, is a rare recording of the Latin version. Recorded
by Glenn Bainum in 1929 (during the same sessions that produced the
version of "Go U Northwestern" posted below), it is one of the earliest
recordings of "Quaecumque Sunt Vera," and is only one of a handful that
still exist. For many NU fans, this will be the first time
hearing the song in its original form.
As with the 1929 copy of "Go U Northwestern," the sound quality of the
record is not good-- the vault has not been kind to much of my
Vault Exhibits #1 - 2: "Go
U Northwestern, " the Lost Versions
To kick off our trip to the NU song vault, we're taking a look at perhaps the
least-expected of all the "lost" fight songs: "Go U
should "Go U Northwestern" be on the Lost Fight Songs list? It happens
that, unknown except to perhaps some of the geekiest of the band
geeks, "Go U Northwestern" had an entire section of music that is now
It is not known now how Theodore Van Etten's original fight song
sounded in 1912, when he wrote it and it was first performed. By 1919,
however, there were two
versions of the song: a shorter version, with which we are all
familiar (chorus, interlude, chorus), and a full version that included a piece of intro music.
The Northwestern Song Books, hard bound copies of all the fight songs,
school songs, and class songs popular at the time, were first published
in the 1880s. The song books that came after the creation of "Go U
Northwestern" show the shorter version.
However, loose sheet music from the time shows the whole song,
including the intro piece. Click here to see the sheet music (the top two pages
are the intro, the bottom two pages are "Go U" as we know it).
I don't know why the intro was eventually dropped, but I can guess: it's awful.
The surviving portion of "Go U Northwestern" is a great fight song that
stands up to a century of play. The intro piece, however, is
really dated and would guarantee to put all but the most hardcore fan
to sleep before kickoff.
Care to hear it? Great! Here, from deep in the HailToPurple
Vault, are two versions of the fight song with the intro piece.
The first version was recorded by NUMB in February 1929. It just
might be one of the oldest recordings of NUMB to survive. This
version actually starts out with the familiar portions (chorus and interlude) of "Go U," then
uses the intro piece, and then concludes with the proper portion of "Go
U" for a B-A-B song structure:
is another version, recorded by bandleader Dell Lampe in the fall of
1929. This version has an A-B structure, starting out with the
intro piece, and proceeding to the familiar portion (similar to the sheet music referenced above).
It's not clear when NU dropped the intro piece from "Go
U." It likely did not last too long into the 1930s.
Certainly, by the time John Paynter took over NUMB, the intro was gone,
and the full version of "Go U Northwestern" had become one of the lost
fight songs of NU.