Yea Alabama!

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"Yea Alabama!" is the official fight song for the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide athletics teams. It was composed by Crimson White editor Ethelred "Epp" Sykes in 1926 in response to a contest sponsored by the Rammer-Jammer humor magazine.

The University, which only sporadically fielded athletic teams before the turn of the century, had no accepted fight song until President George Denny, formerly president of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, took office in 1912. He had the "Washington and Lee Swing" adapted as the "Alabama Swing". Another adapted song, "Glory, Glory Alabama", based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic, sometimes supplemented the Swing as a fight song.

In the early 1920s, as the Wallace Wade era began bringing wider acclaim to Alabama athletics, the need for a unique song representing Alabama began to be felt. Epp Sykes, writing as editor of the Crimson White, complained in Fall 1925 that the "'Swing'...was written for and by students of Washington and Lee University for the use of their school as a football song. It is published under their name and when we use it, we simply plagiarize….We ought to have one of our own….Along with a championship team we should have a championship song…..We want a new song and we want it now!”

Meanwhile, the 1925 Alabama Crimson Tide football team was chugging along toward a season of unprecedented success. They were the first Southern football team to be invited to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where they defeated the Washington Huskies 20-19. Soon afterward, the Rammer-Jammer held a contest for a new fight song or "battle march", offering a $50 first prize. More than 12 were submitted, from which Sykes's entry was favored by a panel of judges which included Carl Carmer.

The song was announced as the winner in the Rammer-Jammer of March 1926. The editors encouraged its use at every fitting occasion and its acceptance by the student body. The sheet music was published in the May issue, and Epps donated his prize money to help commission an arrangement for the Million Dollar Band. The song was received appreciatively and has been used as the school's official fight song ever since. Sykes retained his copyright to the original music and lyrics until donating it to the University in 1947. The rights to the published arrangement were transferred from Thornton K. Allen of New York to Bro 'N Sis Music of Nashville, Tennessee.

Music for "Yea Alabama!" as published in the Rammer-Jammer of May 1926


Let the Swanee Tiger scratch; Let the Yellow Jacket sting;
Let the Georgia Bulldog bite;
Alabama still is right!
And whether win or lose we smile,
For that's 'Bama's fighting style:
You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide!

Yea, Alabama! Drown 'em Tide!
Ev'ry 'Bama man's behind you;
Hit your stride!
Go teach the "Bulldogs" to behave.
Send the "Yellow Jackets" to a watery grave!
And if a man starts to weaken,
That's his shame:
For 'Bama's pluck and grit have
Writ her name in Crimson flame
Fight on! fight on! fight on men!
"Remember the Rose Bowl": We'll win then.
Go! Roll to vict'ry!
Hit your stride!
You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide!


In addition to several recordings by Alabama's Million Dollar Band (link), "Yea Alabama!" has been interpreted on record by the Memphis Stompers (RCA VIctor, 1929) and the Coon-Saunders Orchestra (1931). A Dixieland version of "Yea, Alabama" was recorded by Percy Faith for his 1950 "Football Songs" album. That version was re-used as the theme for the "Bear Bryant Show".


External links