Dynamite, Dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight. Da da da, da da da da, da da da da da da. To most Vanderbilt fans the first line of lyrics to the catchy fight song Dynamite, is all that can be remembered.
But do you know who wrote the words and lyrics?
Francis Craig was born in Dickson, TN, but made Nashville his home. Craig was a member of the Vanderbilt University Class of 1924. The popular composer and orchestra leader was known for such hits as Near You, which was recorded in 1947 and sold 35 million copies.
Other Craig hits include Beg Your Pardon, Tennessee Tango, Too Much Sugar for a Dime and Don't Make Me Sorry. Craig also gained international fame by helping to launch the careers of Snooky Lanson, James Melton and Dinah Shore.
It was at Vanderbilt that Craig formed his first band with their debut at a Sigma Nu dance. It was during his time at Vanderbilt he composed the university's official fight song--Dynamite.
Craig was a maestro at the piano and played for 25 years at the Hermitage Hotel. His orchestra was the first studio band to broadcast at WSM. He was also musical director for WSM and originated the studio show, "Sunday Down South."
These are the lyrics to Dynamite:
Dynamite, Dynamite, When Vandy starts to fight. Down the field with blood to yield, if need be save the shield. If victory's won, when battle's done, then Vandy's name will rise in fame. But, win or lose, the fates will choose, And Vandy's game will be the same. Dynamite, Dynamite When Vandy starts to fight! Fight!
Vanderbilt graduate Robert F. Vaughn (Class of 1907) wrote the Vanderbilt alma mater:
On the city's western border, Reared against the sky, Proudly stands our Alma Mater, As the years roll by,
Forward ever be our watchword, Conquer and prevail; Hail to thee, our Alma Mater, Vanderbilt--all hail!
Another Vanderbilt graduate, Joe C. Landess (Class of 1924) wrote a fight song not given much attention. It is titled, Cheer for Old Vandy:
Cheer for old Vandy, Cheer for the gold and black; Cheer for the team when it wins, Cheer for it thru thick or thin!
Let's give a cheer for old Vandy, Cheer for her evermore; Sons and Daughters, let's give a yell, For the Commodores!
In 1934, Louisiana Senator Huey Long led several trainloads of LSU fans to Nashville for the LSU/Vanderbilt football game at Dudley Field. When Long returned to Baton Rouge, he was so enchanted with the ladies of Vanderbilt that he wrote and published a song.
Long praised the Vanderbilt co-eds with the song entitled "Miss Vandy." The cover of the sheet music is in black and gold with a photo of Lucy Ann McGugin, daughter of Vanderbilt head football coach Dan McGugin. These are the lyrics to "Miss Vandy."
The campus lights are gleaming bright at dear old Vanderbilt tonight, And as the twinkling star light gleams, Seeing the co-ed of my dreams, Miss Vandy, I'm learning the charm of your smile, and My heart is yearning for you all the while, In every dream you seem so near, When I awaken don't disappear.
My thoughts keep on straying in love dreams for of you, And I keep on praying you'll make them come true. Everything you do brings me back to you, Miss Vandy, you're heaven to me, miss me. Miss Vandy, I'm learning the charm of your smile.
And my heart is yearning for you all the while; In every dream you seem so near, When I awaken don't disappear. My thoughts keep on straying in love dreams of you, And I keep on praying you'll make them come true. Everything you do brings me back to you, Miss Vandy, you're in heaven to me, miss me. Miss me.
Emma Louise Hindle (1850-1930) (Mrs. Emma L. Ashford) was a composer of over 600 pieces of music. Among her works composed for Vanderbilt University were the acclaimed Vanderbilt Ode, Old Vandy and Vanderbilt Hymn.
In 1933 Vanderbilt Forever was published. Grantland Rice, a Vanderbilt alumnus and legendary sports writer wrote the words with the music by Thornton W. Allen.
Craig died at age 66 in Sewanee, TN in 1966. He had been retired for about 10 years.
Now you know the words to Dynamite. So memorize it, and at the next Vanderbilt basketball game, show off by singing the entire tune.
Traughber's Tidbit: Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1866 where he amassed a fortune. Upon his death in 1896, Nobel's will established the yearly Nobel Prize awards.
If you have any comments or suggestions you can contact Bill Traughber via email WLTraughber@aol.com.