ESPN Music: Michigan State

The stories behind NCAA's best fight songs

August, 30, 2012
Tommie Wright won’t tell you his age, but the 90-something behind Florida State’s fight song certainly doesn’t mind reliving the first victory over Florida (16-7, in 1964) or the party that followed (Tallahassee’s biggest party since the end of World War II). In honor of die-hards like him, we looked into the history behind some of college football’s most storied fight songs.

Florida State University: “The Marching Chiefs”

Preseason rank: 7
Football program established: 1947
Marching band established: 1939
Band size: 470

History: On Oct. 6, 1950, grad student Doug Alley’s fight song lyrics appeared in the school paper, the Florida Flambeau. “‘Gee, that is a good poem. I am going to write some music to that,’” Wright recalls thinking. He wrote the song that afternoon -- in less than an hour.

Factoid: Wright still has the original score in his office drawer. The copyright becomes public domain in 2025.

Louisiana State University: “Fight for LSU”

Preseason rank: 1
Football established: 1893
Marching band established: 1893
Band size: 325

History: Louisiana’s 40th governor, populist Huey P. Long, named Castro Corazo the university’s bandmaster in 1934. Long (lyrics) and Corazo (composition) collaborated on “Touchdown for LSU.” But after Long’s assassination in 1935, Corazo and swim coach W.G. Higginbotham co-wrote its replacement, “Fight for LSU.”

Factoid: The first time assistant band director Eric Melley was on the field for an SEC opener, the crowd was so loud that he couldn’t hear the 325-piece band right in front of him.

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