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.
Vault Exhibits #12 & 13:
The 1922 Recordings of Go U & The Alma Mater
These two exhibits are from a 1922 recording session of the NU A Cappella Choir, directed by Peter Lutkin. In the session, Lutkin recorded vocal versions of "Go U Northwestern," the Alma Mater (in its original Latin version), and several Christmas songs. He had the songs pressed onto 78-rpm records, using the NU record label.
These are believed to be the very earliest recorded versions of both Go U and the Alma Mater that survive. It took nearly fifteen years of searching for these recordings, and these copies are quite rough (the shellac recordings are nearly 100 years old), but here they are!
Vault Exhibit #11: Northwestern University March (1868)
is an unusual entry for the vault: it is not a recording at all, but a computer program playing
from sheet music. The tune that is being played here is the earliest
known piece of music specifically written for Northwestern University.
Written by Madame Eliza Pattiani in 1868, "The Northwestern University
March" was played at Northwestern commencements, athletic events,
celebrations, and other ceremonies from the late 1860s through the late
1870s before falling into obscurity.
Vault Exhibit #10: Go U Northwestern Multi-Play (1949, 1933, 1929)
Exhibit #10 is actually three
entries. Here are three versions of "Go U Northwestern," each recorded
as part of a medley of other college fight songs.
#1 is by Jan Garber, recorded in 1949
#2 is by Karl King and the King's Band, recorded in 1933
#3 is by Guy Lombardo, recorded in 1929
Karl King, by the way, wrote the marching tune "Purple Pageant" for Northwestern. If you have not heard it, it can be found on YouTube here.
Vault Exhibit #9: Purple Pride (1983)
song by request: here is a performance from the 1983 Waa-Mu show. The
cast gives a tribute to Northwestern football, which was in the depth
of the infamous "dark ages" at that time.
Vault Exhibit #8: Back in the Old Routine
request, we present "Back in the Old Routine," a Northwestern music
staple for seven decades. The song, written by 1949 NU Music graduate
Wilson Stone, made its debut in the now-legendary 1951 Waa-Mu Show,
"That Reminds Me," the same show that included "To the Memories" and
"Welcome Back to the Campus." Stone's song was an immediate hit, and
gained even greater national recognition three years later when Bing
Crosby and Donald O'Connor recorded it on Brunswick Records (the Bing
Crosby version can be found here).
This Vault version, the very first recording of the song, from the 1951
performance, opens with a medley of Big Ten fight songs, including
those of Michigan, Wisconsin, and NU.
Vault Exhibit #7: Medley-- Go U Northwestern & Rise Northwestern
is our third recording of "Go U Northwestern" for the vault. This one
is a recording by Phil Spitalny from 1930, which Spitalny called
"Souvenir to the Northwestern University." The recording features his
orchestra performing both of NU's fight songs, with a male chorus
singing "Go U."
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.