In part because of Notre Dame’s long-standing success, in part because of the program’s massive exposure, and in part because of song’s obvious melodic brilliance, the “Victory March” has been etched into the memory of not only college football fans, but American sports fans in general. Quite simply, the “Victory March” is college football.
A Debut in ... Massachussetts?:
Michael Shea wrote the music, while John Shea penned the lyrics, which included possibly the six most famous words in college football: “Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.” The song was first played in 1908 at the Second Congregational Church in the brothers’ hometown of Holyoke, Mass., and one year later made its debut at Notre Dame. On Easter Sunday, no less.
According to Notre Dame, the song has been borrowed not only by high schools all across America, but a few in Canada as well. Even the Sydney Swans of Australian Rules Football have adopted the song as their own.
Greatest Fight Song Ever?:
According to at least one expert, the answer is yes. In 2003, retired Northern Illinois University professor Bill Studwell published, “College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology,” in which he ranked the Top 25 songs in college football. And according to Studwell the Victory March edged out “The Victors” for the top spot.
Interviewed by the Associated Press in 2003, Studwell explained: "Notre Dame's fight song makes you feel good and cheery and lively and all that. ... It's a very jolly song, you know?"
Sing her glory and sound her fame,
Raise her Gold and Blue
And cheer with voices true:
Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
We will fight in ev-ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name
We will ne'er forget her
And will cheer her ever
Loyal to Notre Dame
Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.