I Wanna Go Back, I Gotta Go Back...

By poguemahone on August 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  The Ohio State Buckeyes marching band waits on the field prior to the 96th Rose Bowl game against the Oregon Ducks on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The vast majority of college football fight songs are indescribably bland. This probably has a lot to do with the vast majority of college football teams and programs being indescribably bland in their own little ways. For instance, can anyone out there hum the Fresno State fight song without resorting to putting in your copy of NCAA 11 and playing as the Bulldogs?  However, there are certain fight songs that are endemic to the college football experience. There are those you love, those you hate (Notre Dame's, Michigan's), and those that make you want to take a drill to your eardrum after the 97th time they're played (USC). No matter what you think of them, they're a special part of the college football experience, and if they go away, it wouldn't be the same.

I will say without shame that I'm a voracious consumer of music. I can't tell you much about the 12-bar blues or chord progressions, but I did take History of Rock and Roll in my time at Ohio State. After all, who didn't need that extra hour of sleep and the GPA-saving A, right? Seriously though, I love music, I love talking about music, I love sharing music with friends. My tastes aren't refined enough to qualify me as a music snob (I would vote for Lemmy ten times over before casting a ballot for John Lennon as president, and yes, I know they're both foreigners), but I like to think I know my stuff, and my love of music frequently interacts with my love of Ohio State.

At OSU, we're relatively blessed with a litany of swell songs to celebrate the school, the team, and the Ohio State experience. Everyone worth his or her salt knows the Buckeye Battle Cry. Everyone knows Across the Field. Everyone knows Hang On Sloopy. Depressingly few, however, can recite each lyric to Carmen Ohio. Why not let Cie Grant remind you how that ditty goes?

Grant killed it that day during a post-championship celebration in the 'Shoe, so, in his honor, don't let me hear you mumbling it the next time the football team lines up in front of the band after another hard-fought win, or I will cut you. Or at the very least, hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else but you. Especially if you left before that post-game ceremony, which is one of the best things Jim Tressel has done in his time at Ohio State. You know what other song gets a surprising lack of love from Ohio State fans?


This is likely for two reasons: a) It's French b) that's probably a good reason, but it's the only one I can come up with at this point It's the song that supplements Script Ohio, people. If I had my druthers, this would be the Ohio State fight song. Especially if it's played as imperially as it is in the above clip. I'm not much for changing tradition when it doesn't need to be changed, and in truth, this one doesn't. Buckeye Battle Cry and Across The Field adequately do what fight songs should do in getting the crowd off their butts and singing and/or clapping. Nevertheless, this song is too good to be played exclusively (or almost exclusively) in the pre-game. The bit that plays shortly after the forming of the top of the first O in Script Ohio is played as though its notes were handed down on stone tablets from the heavens, and is arguably just as catchy as Ohio State's two main fight songs. But, I suppose I digress. A favorite of the bandies is I Wanna Go Back ,which was stolen from Michigan, who stole it from Cal:



It's odd. I've never left Columbus for a period of any more than a month, and yet I can already identify with "wanting to go back" and "drink[ing] to old Ohio 'til we wobble in our shoes". The afore-linked Scarlet and Gray site describes the song's history thusly:

I Wanna Go Back to Ohio State owes its roots to the (University of) California Drinking Song. I Wanna Go Back To Ohio State, like the California Drinking Songcombines melodies from three songs. The most recognized melody comes from the song Oh, Didn't He Ramble, which was written by Will Hanby, with collaboration of Ragtime musicians Cole and Johnson, in 1906. Later that year, the song California was written, by an unknown author, using the chorus portion of Oh, Didn't He Ramble. In 1906, Ohio State adapted California to the song Ohio. More information about the University of California connection can be foundhere. It is possible that I Wavna Go Back to Ohio State was written sometime in the late 1930s. [...] The first nine lines of the I Wanna Go Back to Ohio State, use the melody of the song I Want To Go Back To Michigan. Yes, you read that right. Maybe somebody's idea of a inane joke? I Want To Go Back To Michigan was written as a drinking song about student life at the University of Michigan around 1913. It features a tavern called Joe Parker's Saloon, which was located in the first floor of the Catalpa Hotel in Ann Arbor (circa 1913 - 1920). It also features The Orient a combination cigar store and barber shop, which was located on the first floor of the long defunct Oriental Masonic Lodge.

So, if Michigan isn't pissed off enough about Rich Rod or the Free Press, they can now get even more pissed since we're stealing their songs and not only making them better, but making them part of our hallowed traditions.

There are other songs here and there that we all should probably remain familiar with, but in the end, TBDBITL is an integral part of the game day experience that I hope all Buckeye fans can appreciate; even those who can't scrounge up the money to go to games. I had a friend last year who attended his first game at Ohio Stadium in his 21 years (unfortunately, it was the SC game), and he never noticed the band much beyond Script Ohio. Needless to say, he realized it's different in person, and hopefully, everyone reading this who hasn't will be able to make it to the Shoe and be able to fully appreciate the pageantry, which is something Ohio State does like no other school in the country.

What about you? What are you favorite band moments/songs? What songs would you like to see covered by the band?

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