Puneet Varma (Editor)

Hail to the Redskins

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Hail to the Redskins

"Hail to the Redskins" is the fight song for the National Football League team the Washington Redskins. It was written sometime between 1937 and 1938 and was performed for the first time on August 17, 1938. The music was composed by The Redskins Band leader, Barnee Breeskin, and the lyrics were written by Corinne Griffith, the wife of Redskins founder and owner George Preston Marshall.



In 1937, Marshall moved the Redskins from Boston to Washington. With this move and the introduction of his team to the nation's capital, Marshall commissioned a 110-member band to provide the new fans with the "pomp and circumstance" and "pageantry" of a public victory parade. Marshall stated that he wanted his team and their games to emulate the spectacle of the Roman Gladiators at the Coliseum. He also wanted to incorporate elements of the college football experience into the pro game. He oufitted the band with $25,000 worth of uniforms and instruments and asked the band leader, Barnee Breeskin, to compose a fight song worthy of such a team of gladiators and warriors.

The original lyrics were written to reflect the Native American warrior imagery of the team as the Redskins. The lyrics were later reworked to be less offensive to contemporary sensibilities, although the Redskins name continues to be criticized as a racial slur. Nonetheless, the fight song is one of the oldest football fight songs in all of American professional football.

Hail to the Redskins is the second oldest fight song for a professional American football team; the oldest fight song is "Go! You Packers! Go!", composed in 1931. During the 1938 season the Redskins played their new fight song for fans in attendance at the games as they played the Philadelphia Eagles, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Cleveland Rams, the New York Giants, the Detroit Lions, and the Chicago Bears football teams.

In 1974, Washington, D.C. singer Beryl Middleton recorded "Hail to the Redskins", backed up by members of the Redskins Singers. Barnee Breeskin declared this the finest recording of his song.

The most widely recognized recording, which as of 2015 is still in use at Redskins home games, features the Redskin Show Orchestra and the Redskins Singers. The music was arranged and conducted by the orchestra's longtime leader Sam "Sammy" Shreiber, the Redskins Singers were directed by Don Cichty and William "Billy" Ball and it was recorded at JRB Sound Studios in Washington, D.C.. Some 45 rpm copies were released with a gold label and incorrectly spelled "Shreiber" as "Streiber" on both the A and B sides.


Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Victory!

Braves on the Warpath!

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 Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Victory!

Braves on the Warpath!

Fight for old D.C.!

References to Dixie

The song's original first stanza is often mistakenly thought to have ended with the line "Fight for old Dixie", but in fact this line was only used between 1959 and 1961, as a glance at contemporary game day programs will verify. Each of these programs printed the lyrics, and "Old D.C." can be seen in all years except 1959 through 1961. This phrase then returned to "Fight for ol' D.C.!" The early arrangements of the song also closed to the open of the well known southern folk song, "Dixie" played as a counter-melody. According to an article in the Washington, D.C. Afro American Oct 25, 1965 Dixie was no longer played as a counter-melody starting in 1965.

Dixie refers to the Southern United States and the Dixie reference may seem confusing to those unfamiliar with the history of the NFL. The team is south of the Mason-Dixon line, and except for a brief foray into Dallas in 1952, there were no other NFL teams anywhere in the Southern United States until the 1960s. Marshall aggressively marketed his Redskins as the South's team and built a significant fan base there.

Dallas Cowboys controversy

When the NFL began considering expansion to Texas, Marshall strongly opposed the move, as he had enjoyed a monopoly in the South for three decades (apart from the one-year appearance of the Dallas Texans in 1952). Potential owner Clint Murchison, who was trying to bring the NFL to Dallas, bought the rights to "Hail to the Redskins" from a disgruntled Breeskin and threatened to prevent Marshall from playing it at games. Marshall agreed to back Murchison's bid, Murchison gave him back the rights to the song, and the Dallas Cowboys were born.

Other usage

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


Hail to the Redskins Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Nasser al Awlaki
Josh Doyle
Bob Ogle