Two: The Lost Fight
Page One: Standard School Songs
Page Three: From the Vault
Since their debuts, "Go
U Northwestern" and "Push On" have remained a part of the NU marching
play list. "Push On" has occasionally waned in popularity, but it
never left. Numerous other original Northwestern fight songs have
not had such staying power. From the turn of the Twentieth
through the early forties, several other fight songs were NU
Some, like "Northwestern," were relatively short-lived, but
others, like "Wild Cats" and "Hail to Our Varsity," (not an original
were wildly popular in their day, but now unknown.
By the mid
U" and "Push On" had claimed their spots as Northwestern's only fight
(original fight songs, that is. How can we forget that
"Purple Haze" has been an unofficial fight song since the early
HailToPurple.com is pleased to feature some of these "lost fight songs
Northwestern," from the golden age of NU's original fight songs.
have coded these songs into MIDI files from the earliest available
music. The MIDI files are small in size and very easy to
however, the sound is somewhat crude (I'm no MIDI expert...).
some of these songs, the MIDI file represents the first time the tune
been played in generations. Here are seven songs from NU's
fight song heyday that have been lost to
ten years since HailToPurple.com last featured a lost song. Since then,
we've received the sheet music to one of the last fight songs to be
published during NU's golden age of fight songs: "Wildcat Victory,"
which debuted in 1939.
Alexander Sweet, a member of Northwestern's class of 1936, wrote
"Wildcat Victory" as a victory song, to be performed after a... Wildcat
victory. The song was supposed to take its place next to NU's other
fight songs. Instead, it quickly dropped out of play.
Hear that great big band play,
Spurring you on your way,
To the field of battle
Onward to the fray,
We know our Northwestern
has a grand old name.
Make us proud to say
we've won another game.
Wildcats, hold that line, hold that line!
Wildcats, now's the time, now's the time!
Drive on, strive on, we must make a score,
For Northwestern as we have before.
Wildcats, throw a pass, throw a pass!
We must win this game.
Fight on, give us another
tuned: later in 2014 HailToPurple will follow "Wildcat Victory," one of
the final NU fight songs, with a lost song that is among the very earliest Northwestern songs.
Cats (The 'Wild Cat' Song)"
Donald Robertson secured
his place in NU history by penning "Rise Northwestern" in 1913.
this was not the only Northwestern song Robertson wrote; in fact, he
that, when they were first performed, rivaled "Rise Northwestern" in
Among his successful NU tunes were "Hail Alma Mater True"-- the next
song on this page-- "Because We
All Like Old NU," "Northwestern Military March," "Fraternity Man," "Mr.
Willard Hall," "For I Am a College Man," "Sandwich Day," and the first
featured song here, "Wild Cats."
was first performed
in 1926, less than two years after NU took the Wildcat nickname.
The tune was an overnight success, bumped Robertson's own "Rise
as NU's premiere fight song, and was diligently played at every
game along with "Go U Northwestern." "Go U" eventually regained
own status as the number one fight song, but "Wild Cats" remained a
for several more seasons. By the early forties, however, "Wild
began to slide into obscurity, and never returned to the band's
Part of the
have been the song's (relatively) inane lyrics. However,
tune is actually catchy, especially once you've hummed it about a
times while coding the damn thing into a midi file.
Wild Cats Yow-ow!
Wild Cats Yow-ow!
they're our meat
claw 'em, fight 'em
Yow! Yow! Yow!
band in 1930,
performing a formation
that, ahh, we
see again any time soon.
to Alma Mater True!"
Donald G. Robertson wrote both the words and music to "Hail
to Alma Mater
True!" It's uncertain exactly when Robertson penned the song, but
probably wrote it while a student at Northwestern, likely around 1912.
"Hail to Alma Mater True!" is unfamiliar to today's fans, its influence
definitely present. The song not only influenced Thomas Tyra, who
the English lyrics to the Alma Mater (note the first line of
lyrics...), it served as the basis for Robertson's next effort at a
song, "Rise Northwestern." Notice the similarities of the tune
lyrics of the opening verse of "Hail" compared to the "Push On" verse
precedes the "Rise Northwestern" chorus.
For a while in the late 1910s and early 1920s "Hail to Alma Mater
was very popular, and took a place alongside "Go U Northwestern,"
Sunt Vera," and Robertson's own "Rise Northwestern." By the time
last successful fight song, "Wild Cats," started to be played, "Hail"
beginning to fade from use. This is really a shame-- I personally
that "Hail to Alma Mater True!" could very well be the best fight song
has ever had. That's quite something when one considers the
of "Go U Northwestern" and "Rise Northwestern" and the critical acclaim that they
receive to this day. However, "Hail to Alma Mater True!" is a
and fantastic song. Listen to the tune and try to imagine NUMB,
full force, playing it from mid-field at halftime.
Alma Mater True!
Push on along,
push on along,
Onward Northwestern U,
Brighten her name
Lead on to fame
Ever strong and true.
With song and shout,
Voices ring out,
We'll make it loud and clear.
Echoes re-sound all the world round
Lead on with a cheer!
Hail Alma Mater true.
Our praises ring for you.
Fling out your proud, purple banner high!
Lead on to win!
We pledge our loyalty.
Push on to victory!
Firm in our stand, we will ever be.
Hail Northwestern U!
"Go U Northwestern" by at least three years, and was likely played at
first homecoming in 1911. Belle McCord wrote the words and music
in (approximately) 1909. The tune, simple and folksy, contains
bars* that clearly influenced the creator of Ohio State's fight song,
the Field." "Across the Field" was penned in 1915, and its author
must have been exposed to "Northwestern." The lyrics, however,
anything but simple. Overwrought and Star-Spangled-Banner
they bear the mark of the Romantic poets.
relegated to "second fiddle" by "Go U Northwestern." By 1919, it
was still played, but very infrequently. By 1925, McCord's
had slipped from the marching band's repertoire. For the first
in over 75 years, here it is.
Every hilltop sounds her fame,
Ev'ry wave her
name. Send the purple on before!
Back it with a
more! Shout! Shout! the war cry out!
Daughters fair and sons all brave,
or wave. "Quaecumque sunt vera," shout;
Of her triumph
doubt! Sing! Sing! let heaven's arch ring!
to the fore!
Classic fortress on the lake,
shake. Let each soldier proudly ride,
purple at his
side! Sound! Sound! on all sides 'round!
go forth to win!
Shout her name along the line,
shine! Proudly high her banner raise!
vaults of heaven
with praise! Strike! Win! let war begin!
traitor foe shall
breathe her name!
Western freedom brought her forth,
Wed with valor
North. To defend her honored name,
fame. Fight! Fight! with all your might!
be named no more!
*Compare the music during
the first verse's lyrics, "Shout! Shout! the war cry out!"
with Ohio State's music during "Hail! Hail! the gang's all
Northwestern Battle Cry"
Before there was Homecoming,
before there was Northwestern Field, there was "A Northwestern Battle
Written by Shelby Harrison and John Rosborough in 1904, it is the one
the earliest NU fight songs to feature original music and lyrics.
It was also one of the first songs performed by the official NU
Band, organized just the year before.
when "Battle Cry"
fell out of the band's play list is not certain, but by the mid
it definitely was no longer being played. Here is "A Northwestern
Battle Cry," a long-lost NU fight song over a century old.
Sing out, ring
for the purple!
Let voice and
Thou art our
Then give a
hurrah, rah, rah,
With a hurrah,
We swell our
cheering and song.
Before NU's classes staged the Waa-Mu musical reviews, they
annual review at the Ravinia festival site north of campus. The
reviews were called The Purple Domino. The Purple Domino of May
was written by seniors Gerald Row and Rufus Blount, and was written at
height of the Golden Age of fight songs. Most of the music
for that year's Purple Domino focused on events of the day on campus
to today's Waa-Mu), and two of the songs were about NU football.
One of these
two songs, "The Grand Old Game," caught on and became a staple
of campus songs, played well into the thirties. (The other song,
the Honor of Old Northwestern," is featured below)
penned by Blount, is very dated and has a strong "old timey" feel,
but is nonetheless a very good tune. Unfortunately, Row's lyrics, with the exception of one
mention of "the Purple," are mostly generic and forgettable.
Grand Old Game
In the early spring
Politely sing of baseball, golf and track;
Along with June
Please change your tune
When tennis has come back;
But verily, right merrily
The pigskin's glory tell;
Don't sing at all
About football: Stand up,
Stand up and yell
It's a grand old game;
It's a grand old game;
The very name sets hearts aflame.
Just thinking of football;
For it's a grand old game;
It's a grand old game!
No sport is there
Can e'er compare
With the grand old game.
When the crowd is on
The bleachers and the team is on the field;
The wind blows like
A blizzard, and
Our blood is half congealed;
The Purple makes a touchdown, Oh!
Then maybe we are tame
And maybe we don't all yell then that it's
The grand old game!
"For the Honor of Old
The other football song from the May 1911 Purple Domino show
was "For the Honor of Old
Northwestern." Unlike "The Grand Old Game," "For the Honor"
fell into obscurity
almost immediately after the 1911 performance.
Blount wrote the music, which resembles bar tunes from the time.
are notable because they actually mention a fact specifically
to NU's team: the December 1905 disbanding of the varsity team which
two years. This is the only known NU fight song to make any
a specific event.
Honor of Old Northwestern
In the year of Nough-ty Five
Of course you know it all
The trustees and the faculty
Came out against foot-ball.
have changed around now
And everyone is gay.
The Purple will be heard from,
The grand old game we'll play.
For the honor of Northwestern,
Is the burden of our lay;
We're proud of Old Northwestern,
And we show it ev'ry day.
She is our
And to her we'll all be true;
We'll do our share, Yes, ev'ry-where.
For the honor of Old N.U.
In the chilly Autumn
When foot-ball days begin
We'll see the Purple on the field
Prepared to fight and win.
the Purple banners,
That on the breezes swell.
And when the team goes down the field,
The crowd takes up the yell!