Five Sings: Cream of the Buckeye Anthem Crop

By Chris Lauderback on July 6, 2017 at 11:05 am
Isn't she lovely?

A school as steeped in tradition as Ohio State features a seemingly never-ending supply of greatness. 

That greatness comes in many forms whether in academia, in the various varsity sports, and within the marching band and accompanying school traditions. 

As noted the past few weeks, with the offseason lingering like a fart on an airplane, I'm filling my Thursday slot bastardizing my postgame Five Things article with offshoots looking at various aspects of Buckeye history. 

So far, I've centered specifically on football looking at the most ridiculous streaks of individual greatnessacrobatic receptionscrushing defeats, one-hit wonders and the baddest dudes to ever lace 'em up in Ohio Stadium.  

Now, the focus turns to Five Sings, aka the best of the Buckeye anthems. 


Leading off the list in the five-hole is the glorious banger, I Wanna Go Back to Ohio State

This tune's roots trace back to the University of California Drinking Song which was penned way back in 1906. Interestingly, our neighbors to the north put their own spin on the tune in 1913, modifying the song to talk about student life in Ann Arbor. 

Ohio State's own version, possibly written sometime in the 1930s, sees the first nine lines lean on the melody of the song I Want to Go Back to Michigan.

This one has long been of my personal favorites mostly for the closing section that goes:

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of booze!
And we'll drink to old Ohio,
'Til we wobble in our shoes!
Ohio, Ohio
We'll win the game or know the reason why!

Man, I wish Phish would cover this beauty. 


Slotted at No. 4 on my list, We Don't Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan has even muddier roots than I Wanna Go Back to Ohio State

One origin points to the 1920s as a drunken lad in a hotel lobby where a band was playing proclaimed, "we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan" to the delight of other guests. 

The band, seizing the crowd's reaction to the gent, began playing the chords to The Old Gray Mare to which "we don't give a damn..." was sung. Then, the fans joined in adding the "we're from O-hi-o" portion of the jam. 

Another origin notes James Thurber wrote a play in 1940 which served as the premise for the 1942 film The Male Animal

While neither the play nor the movie call out Ohio State specifically, it's clear a huge part of the productions centers on college football, a rivalry game, and all that comes with those things on the campus of the made-up Midwestern State. 

Either way, it's hard to beat lyrics that are simple and straight to the point:

O, we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
The whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan
We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from Ohio
We're from Ohio...O-H
We're from Ohio...I-O

That'll do. 


Some of you are probably pissed Carmen Ohio isn't in the No. 1 spot but it's my list and considering the sad reality that I did not graduate from Ohio State, while I revere the song, I'm comfortable putting it in the three-hole. 

The lyrics to this gem were (allegedly) written in 1902 by an OSU freshman by the name of Fred Cornell as he rode the train back from Ann Arbor after witnessing an 86-0 beating at the hands of the Wolverines. Another version of the story says Cornell wrote the song at the request of the Men's Glee Club but let's all just agree right now that the first version is correct. 

Ryan Shazier and company sing Carmen Ohio.

Cornell and his fellow glee club members first performed the tune in 1903 and it gained increasing notoriety after Cornell's piano arrangement was published in The Lantern in 1906. 

The first verse, in particular, is nothing short of spectacular:

Oh come let's sing Ohio's praise
And songs to Alma Mater raise
While our hearts rebounding thrill
With joy which death alone can still
Summer's heat or winter's cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely (truly) show
How firm thy friendship ... OHIO!

Carmen Ohio is the oldest school song still used by Ohio State. 


Simply put, Across The Field brings the heat. 

Written by OSU student William A. Daugherty Jr. in 1915, his goal, with Carmen Ohio already established, was to bring a more upbeat fight song to the table. 

The diddy was first introduced at a pep rally prior to the 1915 Illinois game and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Fight the team across the field
Show them Ohio's here
(We've got the team why don't we)
Set the Earth reverberating
With a mighty cheer
Hit them hard and see how they fall
Never let that team get the ball
Hail! Hail! The gang's all here
So let's win that old conference now!
(So let's beat that Michigan now!)
(Oh, Ohio! Oh, Ohio! Wahoo! Wahoo for Ohio!)

Though the lyrics slant toward football, the crank is leveraged by sports outside the gridiron. 


Locking down the No. 1 spot is none other than Buckeye Battle Cry.

The jam is used in a variety of ways including as part of TBDBITL's ramp entrance and at the end of Script Ohio. 

Buckeye Battle Cry was written by Frank Crumit in 1919. A Ohio University graduate who happened to be a big OSU football fan, Crumit entered his tune in a contest seeking to find a new fight song leading up the construction of Ohio Stadium. 

The lightning is as follows:

In old Ohio (Columbus) there's a team,
That's known thru-out the land;
Eleven warriors, brave and bold,
Whose fame will ever stand,
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky,
Ohio Field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry.


Drive! Drive on down the field;
Men of the scarlet and gray;
Don't let them thru that line,
We've got to win this game today,
Come on, Ohio!
Smash thru to victory,
We'll cheer you as you go;
Our honor defend
So we'll fight to the end
For Ohio.

We'll scatter to the east and west,
When college days are done;
And memories will cling around,
The dreams of everyone;
We'll play the game of living,
With head and shoulders high!
And where in wear the spirit of
The Buckeye Battle Cry!

And with that, Buckeye Battle Cry is the victor. 

For anyone scratching their head wondering where Hang On Sloopy might be, you can find the 45 RPM in the discount bin. If any song is left out here, it's Round on the Ends and High in the Middle or else Le Regiment

Note: For even more information on the songs of Ohio State, I can't recommend enough. 

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