If you’ve ever been to a football game that involved the University of Tennessee you’ve probably heard the song “Rocky Top.”
“Rocky Top, you’ll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole Rocky Top,
Rocky Top, Tennessee.”
Check that. If you’ve been to a game where Tennessee was playing you’ve heard the song played until your ears bled. I mean, they play it during warm ups, after the Vols kick a field goal or score a touchdown, during TV timeouts, after first downs, after the other team scores and of course, at halftime.
According to Tennessee’s media guide, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant created the song in just 10 minutes at the Gatlinburg Inn in 1967. The song repeated the title 19 times (not a typo) and was first performed during halftime of the 1972 matchup between Tennessee and Alabama. You would think that losing the game to Alabama would have put a superstitious end to the song but the creamsicle nation fell in love with those five basic chords and the Pride of the Southland band still plays it today.
It may come as a surprise to many that the Volunteers aren’t the only people who enjoy the song. That’s right, several Gators admitted to enjoying “Rocky Top” and even to singing a long with it.
“I don’t know if I should say it, but I think it’s one of the best fight songs that there are in college football,” Trey Burton said. “Whenever I hear it, I sing it.”
Against all odds, Burton wasn’t the only Gator that admitted to liking the song. Fullback Hunter Joyer told the media that he not only knows the words and sings along when the song is played on the field but he’s even looked up the song on YouTube to listen to it.
“Uh, yeah when we flex, when we warm up and stuff, they play it and I’ll sing it a little bit,” Joyer said. “I’ve looked it up on YouTube a couple times too.”
Joyer said he didn’t go as far as adding the song to his iPod but that he still enjoys hearing it.
Back on a planet and in a universe that most Gator fans can relate to, the love for Rocky Top ended with Burton and Joyer. Senior defensive lineman Dominique Easley got a big laugh when he went from being interviewee to doing the interviewing himself.
“Do you listen to it? How do you feel about it?” Easley asked a reporter who had asked what his opinion was of the song. “Do I ever find myself [singing the song]? Yeah. Something gets so annoying, you gotta make the best out of it.”
Mike Taylor echoed Easley’s statements, calling the song corny and even offered his opinion as to why so many Florida players sing the song on the field. “During the games, we’re usually winning so it’s pretty much an insult to them.”
Every school has traditions that are unique to them and may seem corny to other universities. I’m sure if you ask around the SEC there aren’t too many other fan bases that are fond of the chomp or being called “Gator bait.” But it’s those traditions that make college football special. The song may get on your nerves when you hear it for the 75th time by the start of the third quarter but there was one Gator who looked at the song with some perspective as he gets ready to take the field against Tennessee for the last time.
“Yeah, it’s bittersweet,” Jaylen Watkins said of his final game against Tennessee. “Obviously I’ve enjoyed my time here, but all of us hate the Rocky Top. It’ll be good to not hear it anymore.”