Michigan State University Fight Song

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The MSU Fight Song is the official fight song of Michigan State University, USA. MSU's fight song was created in early 1915 (and copyrighted in 1919), when MSU was known as Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.). An MSU cheerleader, Francis Irving Lankey, along with lyricist Arthur Sayles,[1] created the song. With several changes noted below, the school has used the same song ever since. The MSU Fight Song is played at all university sporting events and is frequently sung by students and alumni.

It has been ranked as the #6 best college fight song by the BleacherReport[2] and called one of the NCAA's best fight songs by ESPN.[3]

Lyrics[edit]

Lankey's original lyrics reflected the school's role as an agricultural college. The lyrics have since been changed several times. The lyrics had to be modified when the school changed its mascot from the "Aggies" to the Spartans. In addition, whereas the original lyrics referred specifically to an American football game against the University of Michigan ("line of blue" refers to the Wolverine defensive line), the modern lyrics can be used for any opponent in any sport (although many hockey fans like to change the word "ball" to "hockey"). Below is a side-by-side comparison of the original lyrics and the modern-day equivalent.

Current MSU lyrics Original M.A.C. lyrics
On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is winning,
And those Spartans play good ball;
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the game they fight;
Fight for the only colors:
Green and White.

Go right through for MSU,
Watch the points keep growing,
Spartan teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
See their team is weakening,
We're going to win this game,
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight!
Victory for MSU!

On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is farming,
And those farmers play football;
Aggie teams are never beaten,
All through the game they'll fight;
Fight for the only colors:
Green and White.

Smash right through that line of blue,
Watch the points keep growing.
Aggie teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Michigan is weakening,
We're going to win this game.
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight!
Victory for M.A.C.!

These two lines are often swapped into the modern song for events against Michigan.

Breakstrain[edit]

Even though the breakstrain[4] is rarely sung, the band still plays it in transition.

Up with the colors,
Unfurl them on high (Green!)
Up with the colors
Unfurl them on high (White!)
Up with the colors
Unfurl them on high
Fight! Fight! Rah Team Fight!

Versions[edit]

Two arrangements of the fight song are played.

  • Falcone Fight is named for its arranger, longtime Spartan Marching Band director Leonard Falcone. It includes the opening verse, the chorus (sung by the band with tuba and percussion accompaniment), the breakstrain, and a repeat of the chorus (played by all). This version requires about 1m:40s to play, and is performed in parade marches and in longer breaks during games, such as between football quarters or hockey periods.
  • Pregame Fight is a shorter arrangement, about 35 seconds long, that only includes the breakstrain (as introduction) and chorus. It is played during the football pregame show, after touchdowns and during game breaks (such as basketball timeouts) when time constraints prevent the full "Falcone" version. A shorter excerpt of this arrangement is frequently used during games to celebrate good plays; known as "C" for the rehearsal letter in the musical score, it begins at the line "See their team is weakening".

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ MSU Alumni Association Magazine, Winter 2006, p. 5.
  2. ^ Ranking the Top 50 College Fight Songs
  3. ^ The stories behind NCAA's best fight songs - ESPN
  4. ^ "Breakstrain lyrics". MSU. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 

External links[edit]