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The Fight Song – Hail To The Redskins

THN's Washington History Section 

It may be a thing of the past, but The Fight Song is still an important part of Washington history. That is to say, it was performed after the team scored touchdowns from the 1938 season until 2019!

In 1937, George Preston Marshall moved the Redskins to Washington and commissioned a 110 member band, so as to provide the new fans with the ‘pageantry’ he thought football deserved. He wanted to emulate ‘the spectacle of Roman gladiators’ and so he oufitted the band with $25,000 worth of uniforms.

“Football without a band, is like music without an orchestra.”
– George Preston Marshall

The Lyrics

Corinne Griffith was Marshall’s wife. She wrote the lyrics to the first ever fight song, “Hail to the Redskins” – by renowned band leader Barnee Breeskin. It was performed for the first time as the official Redskins fight song on August 17, 1938.
It was a slightly different version when the song made it’s official debut, than the one heard every time the Redskins scored. Subsequently some of the words were eventually changed for political correctness (ironically).
Modern Version
Hail to the Redskins !
Hail to victory !
Braves on the war path !
Fight for old D.C !
Run or pass and score,
We want a lot more !
Beat em, Swamp em, Touchdown,
Let the points soar !
Fight on… Fight On…
Til you have won,
Sons of Washington !
Original Version
Hail to the Redskins !
Hail to victory !
Braves on the war path !
Fight for old Dixie !
Scalp em, Swamp em,
We will take em big score !
Read em, Weep em Touchdown,
We want heaps more !
Fight on… Fight On…
Til you have won,
Sons of Washington !

Every Redskin was expected to know the fight song by heart.

Which Version

The most widely recognized recording features the Redskin Show Orchestra and the team’s singers, which as of 2015 was still in use at Washington home games. The music was arranged and conducted by the orchestra’s longtime leader Sam “Sammy” Shreiber, the team’s singers were directed by Don Lichty and William “Billy” Ball and it was subsequently recorded at JRB Sound Studios in Washington, D.C..

Hail to the Redskins On Wikipedia

Did You Know

Hail to the Redskins is the second oldest fight song for an NFL team, The oldest being Go! You Packers! Go! composed in 1931.

The LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization use the tune of Hail to the Redskins in their own fight song

Dallas Cowboys Versus Hail To The Redskins

The Dallas  Cowboys are in the National Football League as a direct result of the Hail to the Redskins Fight Song.

The NFL was considering expansion to Texas, but Washington owner Marshall was blocking the move. Above all, it would threaten what had essentially been a 30 year stranglehold in the South.

Clint Murchison was trying to bring the NFL to Dallas, therefore, he bought the rights to “Hail to the Redskins” from a disgruntled Breeskin. He then threatened to prevent Marshall from playing the song at games.

After being extorted, Marshall begrudgingly agreed to back Murchison’s bid to join the league. After that, Murchison gave him back the rights to the song.

Consequently, the Dallas Cowboys began.

Similarly, so did our hatred of them.