It’s one of college football’s most popular chants and Penn State knows it better than anyone.
“Seven Nation Army” the first track on the album Elephant by American alternative rock band The White Stripes, has become ubiquitous in the Beaver Stadium gameday experience. During big-time game situations or after a clutch Penn State touchdown, most of Beaver Stadium can be found jumping up and down to the intimidating “Oh… Oh-OH-oh oh OHH OHH” beat.
According to a promo for EA Sports NCAA Football ’14, Penn State gets credit for bringing the song to college football.
“The familiar strains of Jack White’s guitar-turned-bass and the chant of “Oh… Oh-OH-oh oh OHH OHH” is probably a sound you’ve heard a million times at sporting events, and when Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes kicks up you’re ready to join in the refrain with more than 100,000 of your closest friends. The song, which came to America via Penn State’s Blue-White scrimmage in 2006, has become a staple in the sports world, and you’ll hear that chanted bass line echoing around football stadiums every weekend in the fall.”
It turns out, EA Sports is right. According to a 2006 Patriot-News article, former Penn State marketing guru Guido D’Elia heard the song on Public Radio International and was inspired to bring it to the gameday experience. From the Patriot-News (via Deadspin):
“D’Elia had the Blue Band try it out during the soggy Blue-White scrimmage. And he’s preparing a dubbed version of Jack White’s seven-note guitar lick from the song in hopes the students will start in with their own wohhh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhh-ohhh. If they don’t, he’ll scrap it. If they do, he’ll keep it.”
In fact, the song got the crowd so fired up that they considered nixing the song from the start due to safety concerns. Guido had this to say to the Daily Collegian during the 2006 season:
“We were concerned [at]the Ohio State game when you could feel the stadium moving or bouncing, and we cut it back.”
The song — which has managed to survive the #OneTeam marketing revolution — is still a favorite at Beaver Stadium. It’s great to see Penn State getting some well-earned recognition from EA Sports.
Did I mention there’s 116 days until kickoff?