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Fight for California (top)
Written in 1909 by Earl Elleson McCoy, Robert N. Fitch; arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Our sturdy Golden Bear,
Is watching from the skies,
Looks down upon our colors fair,
And guards us from his lair.
Our banner Gold and Blue,
The symbol on it too,
Means FIGHT! for California.
For California through and through!

Stalwarts girded for the fray,
Will strive for victory,
Their all at Mater’s feet will lay,
That brain and brawn will win the day.
Our mighty sons and true
Will strive for us anew,
And FIGHT! for California,
For California through and through!

In 1906 Earl Elleson McCoy, a student at the University of Illinois, wrote the “Lights Out March” and dedicated it to the commander of his R.O.T.C. unit. “Fight for California” is simply the trio and break strain of the “Lights Out March,” with an added introduction written by Charles Cushing. Though arguably THE quintessential Cal song, “Fight’s” origin is rather uninspiring. Brick Morse tells the story of how the lyrics for “Fight for California” came to be written by Robert Fitch: “One day the Glee Club was fooling around with a tune called ‘Lights Out.’ Fine for a college song,’ said Bob Fitch, ‘believe I’ll write some words to fit the music.’”

Of all Cal songs, “Fight for California” has the distinction of being played in arguably the most unique venue: namely, outer space. In 1987, NASA launched a shuttle mission to rescue and repair a communications satellite known as SolarMax. Several members of the shuttle crew were graduates from Berkeley, and one morning during the mission, mission control woke the crew to the blaring strains of “Fight for California.” Undoubtedly, the crew did not wake up late that morning!

“Fight for California” is played whenever a Cal athletic team enters the field of play, after every Cal scoring play in football, and whenever the Straw Hat Band marches into a performance. “Fight for California” traditionally is the fourth song of the Cal Band’s pregame, to which the Band marches from a block formation into the Script Cal.

Big C (top)
Written in 1913 by Harold P. Williams and N. Loyall McLaren, arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

On our rugged Eastern foothills,
Stands our symbol clear and bold,
Big “C” means to fight and strive
And win for blue and Gold.
Golden Bear is ever watching;
Day by day he prowls,
And when he hears the tread
Of lowly Stanfurd red,
From his Lair he fiercely growls.

What’s he say? He says:
Grrrrrah, Grrrrrrah!
Grrrr, Rrrr, Rrrrrah!

We are Sons of California,
Fighting for the Gold and Blue.
Palms of glory we will win
for Alma Mater true.
Stanfurd’s men will soon be routed
By our dazzling “C”,
And when we serpentine,
Their red will turn to green,
In our hour of victory!

“Big C” is unquestionably the most famous and controversial Cal song. “Big C” was composed in 1913 by Harold P. Williams, with words by Norman Loyall McLaren. It was written to commemorate the creation of the large cement “C” built on the “rugged Eastern foothills” of the Berkeley campus in 1905, and the song was later entered in the Daily Californian’s then annual school song competition. In the Fall of 1913, the competition was stiff, but the Rally Committee managed to narrow the field down to two songs, “Big C” and “Stanford Jonah.” “Big C” took the prize with “Jonah” winning the next year.

The controversy surrounding the song has its roots in the “All University Weekend,” an annual event which began around 1948 and lasted into the 1960’s. This event was a double header football game that pitted Cal against UCLA and UC Davis against UC Santa Barbara. The games were played alternately in Berkeley one year and in Los Angeles the next year. Bands from all four of the schools would perform together in one giant, combined half-time show.

In one of the last “All U Weekends,” F. Kelley James, then Associate Director of the UCLA Band and alumnus of the Cal Band wrote an arrangement of “Big C” for the combined half-time show. Afterwards, UCLA continued using his arrangement of “Big C,” adding its own lyrics and renaming it “Sons of Westwood.” The UCLA Band began playing it regularly as their new fight song. James Berdahl, then director of the Cal Band, was incensed over what he felt was a violation of the sanctity of Cal songs. A bitter exchange ensued between Berdahl and James for the next several years concerning the legal and ethical grounds under which “Big C” was appropriated. The matter came to a head in February 18, 1969, when Irwin Coster, working on behalf of the UCLA cause, received official word from the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress that “Big C” had never been copyrighted, and thus it was in the Public Domain. Public Domain status meant that only adaptations and arrangements of the song could be copyrighted, so UCLA had every legal right to “steal” the song. Some regents and UCLA administrators thought it quite reasonable that this “little sister” of Cal maintain “Sons of Westwood” as a “reaffirmation [of the University of California’s] solidarity.” However, ardent students and alumni at Cal were never happy with the situation, especially Berdahl, who continued to fight for the abolition of “Sons of Westwood” through the remainder of his tenure as director.

“Big C” is traditionally the first song of the pregame to which the Band marches its signature Flying Wedge formation.

Sons of California (top)
Written in 1905 by Clinton R. “Brick” Morse; arranged by Larry Austin. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

We’re Sons of California,
A loyal company,
All shout for California
While we strive for victory.
All sing the joyful chorus
As her colors we unfold
Then, Hurrah! for California,
And for the Blue and Gold.

(Yell the Chorus:)
Hit it!
C !
A !
L !
I !
F O R !
N I A !

We’re Sons of California,
Fair mistress of the sea.
And we’ll win for California,
Her glorious destiny.
Then raise the joyful chorus,
As her colors we unfold.
For we’ll win for California,
And for the Blue and Gold.


We’ll yell for California,
Dear Mother of us all.
We’ll fight for California
Till the crimson banners fall.
All raise the joyful chorus,
As her colors we unfold.
For we’ll win for California,
And for the Blue and Gold.

No history of Cal Songs could be complete without mentioning Clinton R. “Brick” Morse. Morse was not only an outstanding athlete, earning a big “C” for every major sport, but also a talented singer. He organized a glee club in 1893 known as the “De Koven Club,” which became very popular, eventually rivaling the Eastern Glee Clubs. Morse’s group made twelve trips under his guidance to such places as Europe, Alaska, Canada, and Asia. In order to keep up with the demands of their popularity, Morse encouraged Glee Club members to write original compositions; his own contributions include “The Sons of California” and “Hail to California.”

Morse had the habit of improvising at the piano while making up words at the same time. He admitted that he “drummed out hundreds of [Cal Songs] and as promptly [forgot] them. It must have been an accident that [he] remembered ‘Hail to California’ and ‘Sons of California’ and wrote them out for the Glee Club to sing.” “Sons of California” was always performed slowly and solemnly by the Glee Club. As a result, it was not terribly popular with the student body. During the late 1930’s, the Band played a much faster and livelier arrangement, which prompted an interest from the student body. As a result, “Sons of California” is now one of the most well known and often played Cal Songs. “Sons of California” is traditionally the second song of the Cal Band’s pregame show.

Golden Bear (top)
Written in 1895 by Charles Mills Gayley; arranged by Jonathan B. Elkus. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Oh, have you seen the heavens blue, heavens blue,
When just sev’n stars are shining through, shining through
Right overhead a jovial crew?
They’re joining hands to make the Bear.
Right overhead a jovial crew?
They’re joining hands to make the Bear!

And oh, that Bear’s a glorious sight, glorious sight,
A-circling ‘round the pole all night, pole all night;
And once you’ve seen him, you’re all right,
You’ve seen our California Bear.
And once you’ve seen him, you’re all right,
You’ve seen our California Bear!

Oh have you seen our banner blue, banner blue?
The Golden Bear is on it too, on it too,
A Californian through and through,
Our totem, He, the Golden Bear.
A Californian through and through,
Our totem, He, the Golden Bear!

He has a very patient air, patient air,
He wears a Paderewski hair, ‘rewski hair,
He’s the center rush of the heavens I swear,
Our silent, sturdy Golden Bear.
He’s the center rush of the heavens I swear,
Our silent, sturdy Golden Bear!

He might have been a Wolverine, Wolverine,
A Tiger, or a Badger been, Badger been,
Or yet some other beast, I ween,
He had his choice and lo – a Bear.
Or yet some other beast, I ween,
He had his choice and lo – a Bear!

He might have smiled on Michigan, Michigan,
Or countenanced the Harvard man, Harvard man,
Or even gone Yalesian.
But no – he’s California’s Bear.
Or even gone Yalesian.
But no – he’s California’s Bear.

Our totem takes us in his tow, in his tow,
He hugs our flag where e’er we go, e’er we go,
He makes it cold for every foe,
He is their frigid polar Bear.
He makes it cold for every foe,
He is their frigid polar Bear!

’Twas he that froze the U. of P., U. of P.
And Princeton and Schenectady, ‘nectady,
And all the Western galaxy;
He hugged them tight, our Golden Bear.
And all the Western galaxy;
He hugged them tight, our Golden Bear!

The oldest song currently in the Cal Band’s repertoire is “The Golden Bear,” with lyrics written in 1895 by Professor Charles Mills Gayley. In order to understand the origins of the song, it is important to consider Gayley’s background and association with the University of California. Gayley was born in Shanghai in 1858, educated in England, and received his A.B. in 1878 at the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor of Latin, and later Professor of English, at Michigan. While at Michigan, he displayed his flair for school songs by editing the songbook, “Songs of the Yellow and Blue.” In 1889, Gayley moved to California, serving the University of California as a professor of English Language and Literature, research lecturer, and professor emeritus. Like many of his fellow professors at the new university, he encouraged the development of traditions that would foster school spirit and loyalty; his most lasting contributions to his development are his songs.

In 1895, Berkeley was still in its infancy, having only been founded 27 years earlier. The University of California track team, underfunded and without a coach, decided to travel to the East in order to compete in the prestigious Eastern Track Meets, where California ran against Princeton University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and Chicago University. The upstart university from the west coast surprised everyone by winning the meet! At the meet, the team had displayed a blue banner with a golden bear upon it for good luck, and when the local newspapers noticed the totem, they began to claim that it had “jinxed” the Eastern schools. After the track meet, the exhausted team returned to Berkeley in the dead of night and was greeted by the faculty and students at the West Berkeley railroad station. As the team made their way off the train clutching their banner, the words to “The Golden Bear” came to Gayley in a sudden flash of inspiration, and he soon set the words to a popular Air of the time, “The Pope.” Because he was known and loved by the student body for his sincere and genuine concern for their welfare, it is fitting that Gayley’s songs still remain a vital part of the California Spirit.

Hail to California (top)
Written in 1907 by Clinton R. “Brick” Morse; arranged by Charles C. Cushing. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Hail to California,
Alma Mater dear;
Sing the joyful chorus,
Sound it far and near.
Rallying round her banner,
We will never fail;
California, Alma Mater,
Hail! Hail! Hail!

Hail to California,
Queen in whom we’re blest;
Spreading light and goodness
Over all the West.
Fighting ‘neath her standard,
We shall sure prevail;
California, Alma Mater,
Hail! Hail! Hail!

“Hail to California” was written by Clinton “Brick” Morse while improvising at the piano in 1907. He was asked by University President Benjamin Ide Wheeler and Professor Gayley to write songs for the rooting section, and “Hail to California” was one of many he composed (see “Sons of California”). Morse’s sentiment was that “Sons of California” and “Hail to California” would be “nothing unless sung in harmony.” The fraternities began to sing “Hail to California” (though not in harmony), and its popularity subsequently spread. In fact, “Hail to California” has often threatened to supplant “All Hail Blue and Gold” as the official Alma Mater of Berkeley. Indeed, “Hail to California” is used as the Alma Mater of UC Davis, UCLA, and of the UC system as a whole. The Cal Band traditionally sings “Hail to California” in harmony after playing the “Star Spangled Banner” at every home men’s basketball game.

All Hail Blue and Gold (top)
Written in 1905 by Harold W. Bingham, arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

All Hail Blue and Gold,
Thy colors unfold
O’er loyal Californians,
Whose hearts are strong and bold.
All Hail Blue and Gold,
Thy strength ne’er shall fail;
For thee we’ll die,
All Hail! All Hail!

All Hail Blue and Gold,
To thee we shall cling;
O’er golden fields of poppies,
Thy praises we shall sing.
All Hail Blue and Gold,
On Breezes ye sail;
Thy sight we love!
All Hail! All Hail!

The University of California had no Alma Mater until “All Hail Blue and Gold” was written by Harold W. Bingham in 1905. Bingham is one of the most prolific composers of Cal songs, also penning “The Blue and Gold,” “California March,” “A Toast to California,” “Hurrah for California,” and “California Indian Song.” “All Hail Blue and Gold” was popularized by the Budweiser Quartet and the California Glee Club (both of which Bingham was a member), achieving the status of unofficial California Hymn. “All Hail Blue and Gold” is played by the Band at the end of all University events and athletic contests.

Stanford Jonah (top)
Written in 1913 by Ted E. Haley; arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

When the training days are done,
And the Big Game’s just begun,
And there’s music in the air;
When our team runs on the field,
Stanford knows her fate is sealed,
For the Golden Bear has left his lair.

When the yells from lusty throats,
Start to getting Stanford’s goat,
And the rooting section seems a howling mob, Hey! Hey!
Then you grab your hat and shout,
You let folks know you’re about,
For you know that Stanford Jonah’s on the job.

So…then… it’s…
Up with the Blue and Gold,
Down with the Red;
California’s out for a victory.
We’ll drop our battle-axe on
Stanford’s head, Chop!
When we meet her, our team will surely beat her.
Down on the Stanford Farm there’ll be no sound,
When our Oski rips through the air.
Like our friend Mister Jonah,
Stanford’s team will be found
In the tummy of the Golden Bear!

“The Stanford Jonah” was written in 1913 by Ted E. Haley for the annual song contest held by the Daily Californian, but that year the song lost to Williams’ and McLaren’s “Big C.” “The Stanford Jonah” got its break in 1914, however, when the Glee Club traveled to Europe. The Glee Club learned the song en route, and performed it during their tour. As a result, “The Stanford Jonah” became popular and won the annual song competition that year. It has since become one of the more popular Cal Songs, and it is particularly popular during Big Game week.

The tune appears to be unoriginal. The author of this report is aware of versions of this song at Georgia Tech and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Since Cal and Georgia Tech have had very few meetings, there is speculation that Georgia Tech may have acquired the tune after the 1929 Cal vs. Georgia Tech Rose Bowl.

Gold and Blue (top)
Written in 1907 (?) by Harold W. Bingham; arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

We're going to beat you Stanford,
We're going to beat you Blue!
We're going to use the battle axe
we took from you. Rah! Rah! Rah!
Down on The Farm we'll end them,
fighting with spirit true;
We're going show them winners
wear Gold and Blue!

Originally written as "California Indian Song" by Harold W. Bingham in 1907, the song was reborn as "Gold and Blue" in 2013. The song is based on the traditional rivalry between the Cal Bears and the Stanford Indian (before the Stanford mascot was deemed offensive to Native Americans and changed to the Cardinal). Bingham brought the song to Brick Morse's Glee Club, and according to Morse, they "sang it in the club with an Indian dance and it was always a hit." The Band's current arrangement includes only the chorus and the lyrics were officially changed in 2013. The now unplayed verses mimic an Indian war chant.

Fight 'Em (top)
Written in 1915 by I. B. Kornblum and H. E. Kowalski. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Down from the North
Comes the Purple and Gold
To skin our Golden Bear
Washington's 'leven will never hold
The charge of our mighty Bear.
Our team on the field
Has a line of steel,
And every man is game;
When the strength
of the Blue and Gold, they feel,
Those North men will be tame.

So fight, fight, fight, fight,
Fight, fight, fight, fight,
FIGHT! for the Blue and the Gold;
And the team on the field
WIll not bend break or yield
And will fight like Big "C" teams of old.
And every time they buck the line,
We're sure our team will hold.
For victory means fame
For California's name,
So fight, fight, fight 'em California!

“Fight ‘Em” was written by I. B. Kornblum with lyrics by H. E. Kowalski for the 1915 Big Game. The only difference that year was that Big Game was played against the University of Washington instead of Stanford because Stanford had chosen to return to competitive play in rugby. Known then as “Down From the North,” “Fight ‘Em” was an immediate hit with the student body. In 1919, football relations were reestablished with Stanford, so “Fight ‘Em” was only played for rallies and games with Washington. Though rarely played anymore, the Cal Band has pulled out “Fight ‘Em” for recent contests with the Washington Huskies, but unfortunately, the student body no longer recognizes the significance of the song.

Cal Band March (top)
Written in 1978 by Jonathan B. Elkus, Robert Bramson, and Susan Mattson; arranged by Larry Austin. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

As guards of California’s honor, we march along.
And loyal to mighty Alma Mater, we will be strong.
For we know about her glorious future
And we want to lead the way.
And when the game’s done,
California’s Golden Bear has carried the day.

All hail to California’s glory, victors we rise.
And still our banner’s proudly flying ‘neath golden skies.
Marching on, our drums and bugles calling
For our glorious destiny,
While all our hearts, true,
Carry forth the Gold and Blue throughout land and “C.”

In 1978 the Tellefsen Hall Directors commissioned Jonathan Elkus (currently director of the University of California, Davis Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh) to compose “Cal Band March” in memory of Chris Tellefsen. Tellefsen was an employee of the Associated Students of the University of California student union who worked closely with the Band from the 1920’s through the 1960’s and helped the Band secure a new set of uniforms. Tellefsen was an honorary lifetime member of the Band, and the Band’s house/ residence hall was named in honor of him.

The lyrics of “Cal Band March” were adapted shortly after the piece was written. A contest was held within the Band (as with “Roll On”), and Robert Bramson and Susan Mattson both won, each submitting one verse. The song itself was rarely played until the trio was used as the third song of the Cal Band’s 1991 pregame show. Spring Show 1992 was the first time the entire march was performed with marching continuity.

Roll On (top)
Written in 1961 by Paul Yoder and Larry Mandel. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Roll on, you Golden Bear,
For Victory is in the air;
For California’s fame,
We’ll be winning the game,
And for Alma Mater fair.
So roll on, you Golden Bear,
Our loyal Band is always there;
We look to thee, Mighty “C”,
For California’s Victory!

“Roll On” was written by the professional composer Paul Yoder in 1961 for University of California High School Band Day. The piece was then known as the “Massed Band Special,” and it combined the elements of a fanfare and a hymn, the idea being to capture in one song the elements of an Alma Mater and a fight song. “Roll On” was the fight song portion. David Mandel won a competition held within the band to write lyrics for the song. The entire “Massed Band Special” was recorded on the 1966 “Spirit of Cal” recording.

“Roll On” became associated with pantsing in the early 1960’s. The story goes that during a Straw Hat Band trip north, a bandsman repeatedly sang “Roll On,” undoubtedly irritating his traveling companions. When the opportunity arose, they relieved the unrestrained singer of his pants while serenading him with “Roll On.”

Make Way for the Bear (top)
Written in 1965 by Ted E. Haley; arranged by Larry Austin. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Rumbling, grumbling, loud upon the air,
Sounds the growling of the mighty Bear.
Californians gather ‘round his Lair,
And march to Victory.

We’re on the way, Hey! Hey!
Go all the way, Hey! Hey!

Marching along for California
We stride beside the fighting Bear.
Shouting loud the challenge of our battle cry,
As high across the sky,
Our banner’s proudly flying.

On for California,
Rolls the tide, Stand aside, Have a care!
For in a mighty throng,
We swing along ‘neath Blue and Gold so fair,
And march to Victory.
Make way for the Bear!

“Make Way for the Bear” was written in 1965 by Ted E. Haley for the fiftieth anniversary of his graduating class, the class of 1915. The Band immediately took up the song in a Larry Austin arrangement and recorded it as part of the 1966 “Spirit of Cal” recording. Generally the Cal Band only plays the trio section.

Lights Out (top)
Written in 1909 by Earl Elleson McCoy, Robert N. Fitch; arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Cal Band unofficial words to Lights Out — written during the 1976 Tour:

We left on our fabulous tour,
But the heat made it hard to endure.
Although, the sun is still here,
The oncoming rain is a pain in the rear,
Or maybe our a**
Don’t you know that it’s hard to do a show
When you’re up to your knees in slimy green mud?
But you know the Band will persevere,
Surviving on sweat! and guts! and blood!
Oh, can’t you see the crowd will roar tonight,
As the Cal Marching Band, that’s the best in the land,
Will come through, damn right!

Our sturdy Golden Bear…

In 1906 Earl Elleson McCoy, a student at the University of Illinois, wrote the “Lights Out March” and dedicated it to the commander of his R.O.T.C. unit. “Fight for California” is simply the trio and break strain of the “Lights Out March,” with an added introduction written by Charles Cushing. Though arguably THE quintessential Cal song, “Fight’s” origin is rather uninspiring. Brick Morse tells the story of how the lyrics for “Fight for California” came to be written by Robert Fitch: “One day the Glee Club was fooling around with a tune called ‘Lights Out.’ Fine for a college song,’ said Bob Fitch, ‘believe I’ll write some words to fit the music.’”

“Lights Out” is traditionally the last song of every Cal Band event. Performing “Lights Out,” the Band sings the first verse of “Fight for California” (accompanied by a solo drummer and solo tuba) during the first time through the trio and then resumes playing. Words were written to the first two strains of “Lights Out” to commemorate the joys and hardships of the 1976 Bicentennial Tour.

Palms of Victory (top)
Written in 1896 by Stuart L. Rawlings; arranged by Robert O. Briggs © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

What will we do to the Stanfordites on that great day?
We’ll celebrate them on that night after we play!
We now declare our hoodoo’s gone, victory is here!
Hit ‘em again boys! Hit ‘em again boys, harder!

Palms of victory, Palms of glory
Palms of victory we shall win
For Cali-California!
Palms of victory, Palms of glory,
Palms of victory we shall win!

How do you think we’ll feel that night? Anything but cross!
What’ll the red shirts have to say after their loss?
Fill then a bumper to the brim, for we have won!
Do it again, boys! Do it again boys, often!


In 1896, Stuart L. Rawlings took a popular tune of the time, “Springtime in Dixieland” (or “Happy Days in Dixieland”), and added lyrics, titling it “Football Song.” The story of its composition is best told by Brick Morse: “Rawlings, an extremely tall, lanky, mining engineer, certainly did not look like a poet. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and as was the custom, the boys would gather around a keg of beer at night and sing. Rawlings and the boys would hum a song and improvise some words. One night, one of the boys said to him, ‘I see where The Daily Cal is offering $5.00 for a Cal song – Why don’t you submit it?’ He did and won the $5.00, which he took and quickly converted into another keg of beer. Each night they sat around singing, but no new song ever came to him.” The song has remained essentially unchanged except for the occasional addition of a particular player’s name (Cochran) or special day (Thanksgiving) to the lyrics when appropriate.

At first, “Palms of Victory” did not inspire much victory. Cal suffered crushing defeats at the hands of Stanford at the first two outings in which the song was played. However, the song survived and eventually became popular. But then, superstition began to follow the song wherever it went. Once during a football game in the 1930’s, the Band played the song only to have the Bears lose. As a result, the Band became superstitious and refused to play it for almost two years. Tradition eventually came to dictate that the song be played ONLY after a Cal victory. Currently, after any Bear’s win, this is the first song played.

Superstition continues to surround “Palms of Victory.” For example, the night before the 1992 Cal vs. Stanford Big Game, the Band was coaxed into playing “Palms of Victory” at several alumni functions. Many claim that as a result, Cal was overwhelmingly defeated in Big Game. Members of the Band in 1992 blamed the playing of “Palms of Victory” before the game for the Bear’s loss just as band members had in the 1930’s.

The Band’s role in the preservation of these songs is well illustrated with this song. After the Band stopped playing “Palms” in the 1930’s, the student section promptly forgot it. When the Band resurrected the song two years later, it took a great deal of effort to reintroduce it to the student body. Today, very few people outside the Band recognize this song or its meaning.

California Marching Song (top)
Written in 1927 by Irving Pichel, Charles Hart, and Wymond B. Garthwaite; arranged by Robert O. Briggs. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Our hearts shall sing and our voices ring
For the dear old Blue and Gold.
California’s name and her mighty fame
In battle shall be told.
Californians fight with the sturdy might
of the growling Golden Bear.
Our Oski sounds and shakes the ground
As vict’ry fills the air.

Our Alma Mater’s golden name
Shall ring for ever more.
Her praises ‘till eternity
From loyal hearts shall pour.
And when the challenge comes to fight
Her honor we’ll uphold,
For we her sons will fight, fight, fight,
And win for the Blue and Gold.

“California Marching Song” is an adaptation of “St. Francis of Assisi” from the Bohemian Club Grove Play by Irving Pichel and Charles Hart. Hart wrote the music and Wymond Garthwaite wrote the lyrics to the song in 1927. The Cal Band traditionally plays this song while exiting Memorial Stadium after a home football game. Immediately following “California Marching Song,” the Band plays “One More River.” At other functions, the Band sometimes sings the chorus in four part harmony, accompanied by a solo baritonist and tuba.

One More River (top)
1950s arrangement by Larry Austin of two secular songs, “One More River” and “One Ball Riley”.

Out of the stadium marching high
There’s one more river to cross.
The California Marching Band
There’s one more river to cross.

One more river,
And that wide river is vict’ry.
One more river,
There’s one more river to cross

Our spirit is the very best,
There’s one more river to cross.
The finest Band, both East and West,
There’s one more river to cross.


Oh, picking up our heels so high
Hats and gloves are flashing proudly
March along, sing a song,
Rub a dub dub march on.
A big and brassy band are we,
Marching fast and playing loudly,
March along, sing a song.
Rub a dub dub march on!

“One More River” is actually two songs, each in different meters, combined together to make one song. The 6/8 march section which opens the song is purportedly a British army song. This song was used by the Junior class as their entrance music for rallies during the 1920’s because they literally had “one more river (senior year) to cross” until graduation. The 2/4 section which follows is actually an old, traditional “dirty” song known as “One Ball Riley” or “OBR” for short. Before the mid-1950’s, when a home football game had just ended, a crowd of people would usually be clogging the North tunnel, so the Band would have to march through the congestion. As they did, they would begin to sing “OBR.” Eventually, parts were written out, and “OBR” was condensed with “One More River” in a Larry Austin arrangement to form the present day version of “One More River.” At some point, new lyrics better suited to the Band were added to the “OBR” portion of the song. Traditionally, “One More River” follows immediately after “California Marching Song” as the Cal Band marches out of Memorial Stadium after a home football game.

An interesting side note about this song arose in 1991, when the Buffalo Bills professional football team, under head coach Marv Levy, went to the Super Bowl. It turned out that Levy had chosen “One More River to Cross” as the team’s official song as a motivational tool, having remembered the song from his days as head football coach at Berkeley during the 1960’s. Levy often sang the song to his players and taught them to sing the chorus. According to Levy, they “had a rollicking good time singing it following games which they had just won.”

California, We're For You (top)
Written in 1921 (?) by Sydney K. Russell, arranged by W. D. Denny. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

California’s on the field today,
Ev’ry man is ready for the fray
Gold and Blue means tried and true,
And once again you’ll see
That we are out for a victory.
All our rival’s hopes are doomed to die,
When our Golden Bear looks down on high;
Hear our Oski’s mighty thunder,
California, we’re for you.

Sons of California, brave and bold,
Fight the battle for the Blue and Gold,
Brawn and brain are all in vain
Unless our spirit’s there
In ev’ry son of the Golden Bear.
Through that line of steel and o’er the foe,
California’s watching as you go;
Let the echoes ring our Oski,
California, we’re for you.

The music and lyrics to “California, We’re For You” were written by Sydney K. Russell. The year it was first played is unknown, but it first appeared in the California Songbook in 1921. The present Cal Band arrangement was penned by William Denny for the 1966 “Spirit of Cal” recording.

California Victory Song (top)
Written in 1938 by Donald Levy. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

We'll give a rousing cheer, our team is here,
To fight for California fame!
We're gonna hit that line, we're gonna shine,
Our Golden Bear will win this game.
They say there's great alarm down on the farm,
Our battle cry rings over head!
Oh, the Cardinal beware boys,
And down with the Stanford red!

We're gonna fight, fight, fight for victory,
We'll give a grand old Oski roar.
We're gonna cheer, cheer, cheer our varsity,
As they go rollin' up that score.
As we fight on, on, on it won't be long,
Before our team will break away!
And we'll win another vict'ry,
For the Golden Bear today!

“California Victory Song” is a little known Cal song written in the late 1930’s by Donald Levy as one of the last of the Daily Californian prize winning songs. Though heralded by Clinton “Brick” Morse and his singing group, the “Californians,” the song was never adopted by the Band or the student body.

California Triumph (top)
Written in 2004 by Hirokazu Hiraiwa and Aaron Alcala-Mosley. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Boldly, Sons and Daughters,
From our hearts our song we sing.
For all the glory we shall bring her,
Alma Mater’s name will ring.
Lift your voices; fly the banners;
From a distance all they shall see
Will be the symbol of California’s Triumph,
Rising to Victory!

Onward, Californians,
For our spirit shall not die.
To this occasion, we shall toast her;
Lift your glasses to the sky.
Cheer your praises, strike the Band up;
May the story always be told
Of our prevailing to bring a mighty vict’ry
Home for the Blue and Gold!

In the Spring of 2004, the Executive Committee of the Band decided to hold a competition to commission a new spirit song for Cal. Fifteen submissions came from all over the United States, including California, Maryland, Texas, and Minnesota. After the selection process, Hirokazu Hiraiwa’s composition, “California Triumph,” was selected the winner. Hiraiwa was a trombone player in the Cal Band for four years, before graduating in May 2004.

Because Hiraiwa did not include lyrics with his submission, a second competition was held during the Fall 2004 Football season to complete the song. Aaron Alcala-Mosley, a fifth-year percussion player in the Band, won that competition. Though new songs have been written over the years, “California Triumph” is the first new Cal Song to be adopted by the Band since “Cal Band March” in 1978.

SS Titanic (top)

Oh, they built the ship Titanic
To sail the ocean blue,
And they thought they had a ship
That water would ne'er go through.
It was on her maiden trip,
That the iceberg hit the ship;
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Oh it was sad (so sad),
Oh it was sad (so sad),
It was sad when the great ship went down
To the bottom of the sea-ee-ee-ee
It was sad when the great ship went down

It was off the coast of England
And far from any shore,
When the rich refused to
Associate with the poor.
So they put them down below,
Where they'd be the first to go;
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Oh, the ship was full of sin
And the sides about to burst,
When the captain shouted,
"Women and children first!"
Oh they tried to send a wire,
But the wires were all on fire;
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Oh, they swung the lifeboats out
O'er the dark and stormy sea,
And the band struck up with
"Nearer My God to Thee."
Little children wept and cried,
As the waves swept o'er the side;
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Mrs. Astor turned around
Just to see her husband drown,
As the great Titanic
Made a gurgling sound.
Mrs. Astor donned her mink,
Just to watch the great ship sink;
It was sad when the great ship went down.


The survivors reached the pier
And were greeted with a cheer,
As they drowned their sorrows
In a keg of beer
Now the moral of this song
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Folk song sung by Cal Band on their way up to Memorial Stadium from Sproul Plaza, the song is traditionally sung as the band passes Campbell Hall.

California Drinking Song (top)
Compilation of various songs (California, Oh Didn’t He Ramble, Rambled Into) circa 1939, arranged by Larry Austin. Copyright UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

Speaking Start:
The steward went below. (Shhh!)
To light the captain’s lamp. (Shhh!)
The lamp it would not light. (Why not?)
Because the wick was damp. (Oh!)
The captain went below. (Shhh!)
To kick the steward’s a** (Shhh!)
He said, “So fire it up you son-of-a-bitch,
The Golden Gate is passed!”

Singing Start:
Oh, they had a little party down in Newport;
There was Harry, there was Mary, there was Grace.
Oh, they had a little party down in Newport,
And they had to carry Harry from the place.
Oh, they had to carry Harry to the ferry,
And the ferry carried Harry to the shore;
And the reason that they had to carry Harry to the ferry
Was that Harry couldn’t carry any more.

For California, for California,
The hills send back the cry,
We’re out to do or die,
For California, for California,
We’ll win the game or know the reason why.
And when the game is over, we will buy a keg of booze,
And drink to California ‘till we wobble in our shoes.

So drink, tra la la,
Drink, tra la la,
Drink, drank, drunk last night,
Drunk the night before;
Gonna get drunk tonight
Like I never got drunk before;
For when I’m drunk, I’m as happy as can be
For I am member of the Souse family.
Now the Souse family is the best family
That ever came over from old Germany.
There’s the Highland Dutch, and the Lowland Dutch,
The Rotterdam Dutch, and the Irish.

Sing glorious, victorious,
One keg of beer for the four of us.
Sing glory be to God that there are no more of us,
For one of us could drink it all alone. Damn near.
Here’s to the Irish, dead drunk.

The lucky stiffs….

The “California Drinking Song” is one of the most popular Cal songs among students and alumni – everyone knows the words to this song! One of Cal’s most unusual songs, over the years, no less than five different songs have been melded together to form today’s current rendition. The core element of “California Drinking Song” is “Rambled,” otherwise known as “California.” The tune is based on the song “Oh, Didn’t He Ramble,” by Cole and Johnson (copyright 1906). The words were changed to what we know as “For California, for California, The hills send back the cry, We’re out to do or die,” and first appeared in printed form in 1906. The author of the text is unknown.

For a long time, the Band often played “Rambled” at football games, playing the chorus twice. When the “Drinking Song” element that follows was also played, it was known as “Rambled Into.” In Roschelle Zella Paul’s master thesis, “Song Tradition of the University of California at Berkeley,” she mentions that “in 1939, the University Band and the Glee Club went down to Los Angeles for the UCLA vs. California football game. When they returned, both groups had joined additional verses of a whole new song to the old ‘California’ song. [Since then] even more verses have accumulated.” The verses Paul refers to follow the “Rambled” part of “California Drinking Song.” Titled “One More Drink for the Four of Us,” this part of “California Drinking Song” is a traditional song of conviviality, sung throughout the United States (for example, Ohio State University has its own version of this song).

The origins of other elements of “California Drinking Song” are more difficult to pinpoint. It is believed that the “Speaking Start” (The steward went below…,) is from a traditional Navy drinking song; the origins of the “Singing Start” (Oh, they had a little party down in Newport…,) are unclear. “California Drinking Song” ends on a dominant seventh chord, which leaves a sense of unresolution. Consequently, the song beckons for additional lyrics which band members and students have been more than willing to supply. Many different versions currently circulate through campus. This song is often sung (with accompaniment) by the Band.

Bowles Hall Drinking Song (top)
Written in 1948 by Thomas V. Beall. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

We’re the men of Bowles Association,
Coming here from over all the nation.
Drinking here together one and all,
We lift our voices loud for Bowles Hall!

Here’s to Bowles Association.
Drink it down and then,
Drink a toast to home sweet home,
Of California men. Rah! Rah! Rah!
Fill your glasses to the brim,
And lift them in the air.
And drink a toast to Bowles Association,
And the Golden Bear.

Men of Bowles are gathered here together,
Toasting everything from girls to weather.
But the very greatest toast of all,
Is the one that we now give to Bowles Hall!


“By the Old Pacific’s Rolling Waters” (known more simply as “By”), written by Thomas V. Beall, is one of Cal’s more colorful songs. Written as a fight song for UCLA in the 1940’s, it was originally known as “Rally Song” and “Mighty Bruin Bear.” In earlier years, it was not uncommon for rival schools to play each other’s songs; when an opposing band was unable to attend a Cal home game, the Cal Band would often face the opposing team’s fans and play their fight song. Quite likely, “By” may have initially become part of the repertoire in this way.

Traditionally, the Band parades from Memorial Stadium through the campus and streets of Berkeley after a home football game. On the way, the Band passes by Bowles Hall, a gothic, all-male residence hall, stops, and plays “By” for the Bowlesmen, who have adopted the tune of “By” for their own “Bowles Hall Drinking Song.” The tradition of playing “By” for Bowles Hall is said to have begun back when the entire football team lived there. The band would play for the players as they walked back to their dorm after the game. Eventually the football team moved out of Bowles Hall, but the Cal Band would still occasionally stop in front of the dorm after a game and play for the Bowlesmen. One day, as legend has it, the Band refused to play “By” as they marched passed Bowles Hall, so the Bowlesmen ran in front of the Band and laid upon the ground to stop the Band from moving forward and to “encourage” them to play their drinking song. Apparently it worked. A less mythic story from the 1970’s claims that Bowles Hall convinced the University that the Band was “duty-bound” to perform for them after every game (back in the days when the Band received sizable income from the University). For whatever reason, the Cal Band continues to play “By” after every home game for the men of Bowles Hall. One tradition that has died out in this regard, though, is the Band’s refusal to play “By” after a Cal-UCLA game – so thoroughly has this song been accepted by the Cal community as one of its own.

Toast to California (top)
Written in 1956 by James Murray Hunt; arranged by Howdy Brownson. © UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

California, here’s to Thee;
Honor to thy name;
Alma Mater, carry on
To fortune and to fame.
Queen beside the Western Sea
Rule our destiny;
Stand for right,
Let there be Light,
California, Here’s to Thee.

Legend has it that James Murray Hunt, ’17, became so enthused at a Glee Club – Treble Clef Alumni Reunion in 1956, he was inspired to complete a song he had been working on — A Toast to California. He convinced the Glee Club’s Senior Men’s Octet to inaugurate the song at a Peninsula party, and this beautiful acapella song quickly became a part of the repertory of the Glee Club and the Treble Clef, as well as the Cal Band. Traditionally this piece is sung in four part harmony by the Band at formal occasions.

We Have the Axe!

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