Green Bay 101: Do the Packers Have a Fight Song?
While the advent of television and radio have brought fans closer to the Packers than before, it’s brought with it a slew of unintended consequences.
One of the most notorious is the concept of an earworm, when a jingle or song continues to repeat in your head long after you’ve heard it. Psychologists also refer to the condition as musical imagery repetition, involuntary musical imagery, or stuck song syndrome.
It’s why though it’s been years since you’ve heard the ditty for Chili’s baby-back ribs, you’re probably humming it in your head now.
Football teams got in the fun of producing earworm-inducing jingles or fight songs in the early years of their existence. Those songs are traditionally more closely associated with high schools and colleges like Notre Dame and Michigan, who have played the same song win or lose for decades.
Do the Packers have a fight or theme song?
Green Bay, Wisconsin carries with it the feel and size of a college town more than a major metropolis, and walking around Lambeau Field prior to a game can feel like a Saturday at university.
In 1931, the Packers completed their third-consecutive championship behind coach Earl “Curly” Lambeau. The season featured wins over teams like the Providence Steam Rollers, the Staten Island Stapletons and Brooklyn Dodgers.
Milwaukee native Eric Karll was working at the time as a composer for commercial jingles. Thanks to the success of his state’s football team, he lent his talents to compose a fight song for the Packers called “Go! You Packers Go!”
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here to yell for you
and keep you going in your winning ways
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here to tell you, too, that, win or lose,
we’ll always sing your praises
Go, you Packers, go and get ‘em
Go, you fighting fools, upset ‘em
Smash their line with all your might
A touchdown, Packers, fight! Fight! Fight!
Fight on, you blue and gold, to glory
Win the game, the same old story
Fight, you Packers, fight
and bring the bacon home
to old Green Bay
When the fight song was originally composed, the Packers uniform did not contain the now-famous green and gold colors. Instead, Green Bay’s jersey was blue and gold – hence the line “Fight on, you blue and gold, to glory.”
Karll’s highly successful career was due in part to his ability to understand and leverage the power of radio, a technology that began to gain in momentum during the 1920’s. The talented composer created another memorable jingle, too, a song called “Welcome Mr. Roosevelt” that was played on the 1936 campaign trail to re-elect President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Go! You Packers Go!” was pro football’s first fight song
The NFL’s history is a haphazard melting pot of now-defunct leagues and teams, so trying to pinpoint the first pro football fight song is a difficult task. If you narrow the criteria down to teams who are in still in existence today, the 1931 Packers fight song is undoubtedly the oldest tune.
The Washington Redskins’ tune “Hail to the Redskins” was written in 1938, and the Chicago Bears’ theme “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” was composed in 1941.
Fans attending games at City Stadium were treated to rousing renditions of “Go! You Packers Go!” by the Lumberjack Band, a fixture at Packers games through the tenure of Vince Lombardi. A group of volunteers began playing instruments during Packers games in 1921 while wearing flannel jackets and quickly earned the nickname.
Curly Lambeau was so enamored by the band that he was quoted as saying that the band played a part in helping the team pull off victories. When the Packers were exploring building New City Stadium – what would later be called Lambeau Field – early designs featured a bandstand in one corner of the stadium for the Lumberjack Band.
Vince Lombardi called the band “the best playing band in the National Football League.” The group disbanded in 1962, but its memory lives on with a statue on the Packers Heritage Trail.
Do the Packers still play their fight song today?
In 1960, the NFL released a record of team fight songs. An instrumental version of “Go! You Packers Go!” appeared and was introduced by quarterback Bart Starr:
Karll’s song was still played in Lambeau Field as of 2006 before the national anthem and after the Packers kicked extra points, but the tradition has stopped in recent years and given way to a more modern adaptation.
If you’ve ever been to Lambeau Field and heard the long-standing “Go Pack Go!” chant, you’re singing (or shouting) a part of Packers history. The phrase comes from Karll’s original tune, first put on paper more than 85 years ago.