Tune of the Day: On, Wisconsin!
“On, Wisconsin!” is not only a fight song, but it has also been designated as the official state song of Wisconsin. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular school songs in the United States, and has been adopted by thousands of high school bands as their own. It is rare to attend a high school football game anywhere in the U.S. and not hear this march being performed by at least one of the school bands. Even John Philip Sousa regarded it as “the finest of college marching songs”.
The melody of this famous song was composed in 1909 by William T. Purdy, a corporation clerk who prior to that time had never set foot in Wisconsin. He originally wrote it with the intention of entering it into a competition for a new fight song at the University of Minnesota. Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin–Madison student, convinced him to withdraw it from the contest at the last minute, and allow his alma mater to use it instead. Beck then wrote the original, football-oriented lyrics, changing the words “Minnesota, Minnesota” to “On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!”