Washington and Lee Swing

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"Washington and Lee Swing" is the official fight song of Washington & Lee University. Before it morphed into a swing, Dixieland and bluegrass standard, "The Washington and Lee Swing" was one of the most well known — and widely borrowed — football marches ever written, according to Robert Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America. Schools and colleges from Tulane to Slippery Rock to Gonzaga to Iowa State copied it (sometimes with attribution). It was written in 1910 by Mark W. Sheafe, class of 1906, Clarence A. (Tod) Robbins, class of 1911, and Thornton W. Allen, class of 1913. It has been recorded by virtually every important swing musician, including Glenn Miller (with Tex Beneke on vocals), Louis Armstrong, Kay Kyser, Hal Kemp and the Dukes of Dixieland. "The Swing" was a trademark of the New Orleans showman Pete Fountain. The trumpeter Red Nichols played it (and Danny Kaye pretended to play it) in the 1959 movie The Five Pennies.[1] (There is an audio excerpt from a 1944 recording by Jan Garber, a prominent dance-band leader of the era. School song from D & D's Music Hall.)

The "Swing" was parodied in "The Dummy Song" by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.[2] "Dummy" was recorded by NRBQ, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima and Glenn Miller's vocal jazz group, The Modernaires, among many others, and was used in the movie You've Got Mail. It is also the tune used as the CIT song in the 1979 movie, "Meatballs."

It is a popular fight song of many schools, including:

The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League also use it as their fight song.[3]

In the early part of the 20th century Mississippi State University, then known as Mississippi A&M College, used a specially adapted version of the "Washington and Lee Swing" with words suitable for a college song.[4]

Comparisons between "Washington and Lee Swing" and "Zacatecas March" have included allegations that "Washington and Lee Swing" was heavily influenced by (or even originally outright borrowed from) that earlier Mexican march, which had been written in 1891 by Genaro Codino. See also ["Won't You Come Home], Bill Bailey?"


  1. ^ The Five Pennies.
  2. ^ who also wrote "Birth of the Blues," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries." "You're the Cream in My Coffee" and "Keep Your Skirts Down, Mary Ann")
  3. ^ "Edmonton Eskimos - Fight Song". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  4. ^ What is True Maroon? 2008-2009 - “Maroon & White” is True Maroon