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Penn State Athletics is Asking for Opinions on Songs From 1973

Yesterday, I received an email from Penn State Athletics for something called the Gameday Music Crew. You probably got it too. Every Penn State season ticket holder received the survey which allows fans to vote for songs the Blue Band will play on football Saturdays. Sounds pretty cool, right?


Dear William,”


We have heard that you want more interactive experiences during the Beaver Stadium Gameday and more opportunities to impact the quality of those experiences.”

Yeah, that’d be dope. What do you guys have in mind?

“You are the best Student Section in the country and we want you to have a bigger voice!”

Why thank you, that sounds like a very personal compliment tailored only for me.

“Through the year we will offer more channels where you can share your opinions and suggestions about your Penn State gameday. We would like to introduce Gameday Music Crew.”

Oh snap, that’s awesome. Everyone always seems to have something to say about the music in Beaver Stadium and the Blue Band is the best. I’d love to be a part of this. Please, tell me more.

“Gameday Music Crew is a new opportunity allowing you to interact with the gameday production staff to help us provide an atmosphere that is fun,energetic, and one which we can call home-grown.”

Home-grown? What the hell does that mean? Oh God, the choices are gonna suck, aren’t they?

“In advance of each gameday, you’ll receive a ballot to vote on music selections for the upcoming game. Your Blue Band will be prepared to play your requests and you choose the original tracks that we will play!  Submit your vote below!”

Alright, let me take a look at this ballot. Apparently, Penn State wants to feature music played in 1973 to honor Penn State’s only Heisman trophy winner John Cappelletti who won the award that year. That sounds solid, some great music was released during that year. “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Ballroom Blitz” by The Sweet, “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John, the entire album “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, et al. Let’s see what songs I’m getting to choose from, shall we?



We get to pick three from the following two groups:

A) “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce, “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter Group, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Ole’ Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn, “Long Train Runnin'” by The Doobie Brothers, “Free Ride” by Edgar Winter Group.

(Described on the website as: “Command the Band!  Your Penn State Blue Band is the House Band for 100,000 party guests! Here’s some out-of-sight tunes from 1973 that the band is ready to play”)

B) “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zepplin, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus, “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

(Described on the website as: “Vote for up to 3 of these groovy rock-n-roll hits from 1973 to represent Penn Staters of the early ’70’s. Tell us what you want to hear and we’ll play the 3 chart-toppers!)

Alright. Now. Aside from the Stevie Wonder song, everything in Group A is questionable. I’m not saying they’re bad songs — they are, but that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that those songs aren’t exactly songs that get me fired up for college football.

Group B is a little better. Any time Zepplin is involved, good things happen, and it’s scientifically proven that it’s impossible to resist singing along to “Piano Man.” But like group A, none of those songs are really songs that get you hyped at a college football venue. Well, let me take that back — none of those songs really fire up 18-22 year olds in the “best student section in the country.” Wouldn’t the people behind this poll want to appeal to them? My head hurts. Back to the email.

“This vote will be offered to our season ticket holders exclusively!  When you-vote, you become a member of the Gameday Music Crew! You’ll also have an opportunity to share new ideas, let us know what you would like to see more of, and what you didn’t like so well.”

Oh. Thanks. I’m honored. You guys take over $200 from me, and I get to pick music that ranges from “bad” to “solid, but not for a football game.” Fair trade.

As for sharing new ideas part, and what I’d like to see more of, here’s an idea: if you’re going to have students vote on stuff, why not have music that appeals to the students? Rap, EDM, rock, country, music like that. Music that students listen to on a daily basis. Rap or EDM songs that get adrenaline flowing with thick, heavy beats. Rock songs with face-melting guitar riffs, or country songs that, um, people that listen to country like? Yeah. That. I only know “Wagon Wheel.”

Along with the standard Penn State songs, the Blue Band always picks out some great selections on its own. We love “Seven Nation Army,” “Zombie Nation,” “Kashmir,” and the beginning part of “Power.” We also love the Blue Band. But come on, spice things up a bit. If you’re going to ask for the input of students, actually ask for it. Don’t publish random poll with music from the time our parents were teenagers. Actually give us options.

Go out, ask students what they want, and deliver. We’re really not that hard to please. Just mix up the music from time to time, and if you’re going to give us choices, give us choices we like. None of this “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Ole’ Oak Tree” nonsense. That was lame when S Club 7 sang it. Give us Kanye or Timberlake, not Edgar Winter Group.

“Cast your vote by WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th @ MIDNIGHT for the home opener on Saturday!”


“Well attended athletic events help support the competitive efforts of our student-athletes and help us strengthen our bond as Penn State fans.  A gameday is just more fun when we do it together; you’ve got to be here! We need you to be here!”


“For the glory,

Penn State Athletics
Penn State Football”


(In all seriousness, despite the dubious selections in this particular survey, the gameday music people at Penn State are pretty open to suggestions. P.J. Mullen, who helps operate the piped in music at games, is always soliciting song suggestions on his Twitter @psuPJ. Although it doesn’t do much to help the Blue Band selections, sending him suggestions is probably the best way to improve the game day atmosphere and save us all from Tony Orlando.)

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