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Bow Down to Washington

Bow Down to Washington, the official fight song of The University of Washington, was written in late October of 1915 with words and music by Lester J. Wilson (of the class of 1913) as part of a University of Washington Daily sponsored contest requiring that all entries must make reference to the rivalry with the California Golden Bears. For his efforts, he was awarded a $25 prize.  The song was first played at Washington’s home field of that day, Denny Field, against Whitman College on October 30, 1915, a game won by UW 27-0 (Daily, Nov. 1, 1915, “Daily Song Contest Yields Peppy Chant”). The second public airing of the fight song was at the California game of Nov. 6, 1915, won by Washington 72-0 and was first used as the football "fight" song at the Cal-UW game on November 6, 1915. The song was first published for the Class of 1916 by Echo Music Publishing of Seattle.

Recordings

Here are six recorded versions of Bow Down to Washington on RealAudio:

Sheet Music

The music was published by West Coast Music Publishers, Seattle, 1928.  Click here for a digitized copy.

Lyrics

 

Lyrics to Bow Down were first published in the football program for the November 30, 1916 game of the University of Washington vs. University of California.  The lyrics were revised a year later.  New lyrics were published in the program for the 1920 opening of Husky Stadium, as well as in the Second Edition of University of Washington Songs published in 1924. By the publication of the 1936-1937 Student Handbook, the lyrics of Bow Down had undergone a dramatic change: parts of two verses were combined to make up one verse, and the third verse (which referred to the then bitter rivalry between the UW and Cal) was omitted completely. These changes were made as rivalries were formed between the UW and the new schools that joined the PAC (especially Washington State University and University of Oregon)  which reduced the importance of the UW/Cal rivalry. Minor changes to the lyrics have been noted since 1937. Words have been added for pick up notes and there is an ongoing debate whether it is "loyal" band or "joyous" band.

Below we have compared the lyrics of the 1924 version and the present day version so that you can easily see the differences and similarities.

191619241997

Bow Down to Washington, Bow Down to Washington,

From the distant lands they send their teams of great renown.

But on the field of battle they are trampled on the ground.

We shall carve our name in the hall of fame.

To preserve the memory of our devotion.

Chorus

Heaven help the foes of Washington,

They’re trampling at the feet of mighty Washington.

Our boys are there with bells, their fighting blood excels.

It’s harder to push them over the line than pass the Dardanelles.

Victory the cry of Washington.

Leather lungs together with a Rah, Rah, Rah.

And o’er the land our loyal band

Will sing the glory of Washington forever.

Verse Two

Bow Down to Washington, Bow Down to Washington,

Hardy are the men who wear the purple and the gold.

Joyously we’ll welcome you within the vanquished fold.

Bring the Golden Bear from his mighty lair.

For we’re going to hang his carcass in the Northland.

Chorus

Heaven help the foes of Washington,

They’re trampling at the feet of mighty Washington.

Our boys are there with bells, their fighting blood excels,

It’s harder to push them over the line pass the Dardanelles.

Dobie, Dobie pride of Washington, leather lungs together with a Rah,

Rah, Rah.

And when we snare the Golden Bear.

You’ll never carry it back to California.

(Associated Students of the University of Washington, "Football Program," November 30, 1916)

Bow Down to Washington,
Bow Down to Washington,
From the distant lands they send Their teams of great renown,
But on the field of battle They are trampled to the ground.
We shall carve our name In the Hall of Fame
To preserve the memory of our devotion.

Chorus
Heaven help the foes of Washington,
They're trembling at the feet of might Washington.
The boys are there with bells,
Their fighting blood excells,
It's harder to push them over the lines Than pass the Dardanelles.
Victory the cry of Washington.
Leather lungs together with a Rah! Rah! Rah!
And o'er the land our loyal* band
Will sing the glory of Washington forever.

Verse Two
Bow Down to Washington,
Bow Down to Washington,
Hardy are the men who wear The Purple and The Gold,
Joyously we welcome you Within the vanquished fold.
Bring the Golden Bear,
From his mighty lair,
For We're goin' to hang his carcass in the Northland.

Chorus
(the same except for the last two lines:***
And when we snare that Golden Bear,
You'll never carry it back to California.)

Verse Three
Bow Down to Washington,
Bow Down to Washington,
See 'em smash the line for six And then seven more,
On their way to victory As in the days of yore.
See the Golden Bear With the glassy stare,
Well he knows he'll be a dead one in the morning.

Chorus
(Probably the same chorus that was sung after Verse Two.
The music is unclear about which chorus is sung after Verse Three.)

***In the 1916 edition (Echo Music, Seattle):
Dobie, Dobie pride of Washington.
Leather lungs together with a Rah! Rah! Rah!


This reference is to the great Robert Gilmour "Gil" Dobie,
Husky coach 1908-1916 (won-lost record of 59-0-3). The original lyrics were changed when Dobie left the University of Washington after the 1916 season to coach at the University of Detroit, later at Cornell, Navy and Boston College.

The 1928 edition (West Coast Music, Seattle) has:
Baggie, Baggie pride of Washington.

The reference this time is to Enoch W. Bagshaw,
coach 1921-1929 (63-22-6).
Bow Down to Washington,
Bow Down to Washington.
Mighty are the men who wear the Purple and the Gold,
Joyfully we welcome them within the Victor's fold.
We will carve our name in the Hall of Fame,
To preserve the memory of our Devotion.

Chorus
So, heaven help the foes of Washington,
They're trembling at the feet of mighty Washington.
Our boys are there with bells,
Their fighting blood excells,
It's harder to push them over the lines than pass the Dardanelles.
So Victory's the cry of Washington
Our leather lungs together with a Rah! Rah! Rah!
And o'er the land, the loyal band
Will sing the glory of Washington forever!



* The 1943 lyrics quoted the phrase
as "joyous band" rather than "loyal band".
Most everyone who sings Bow Down today
sings the words "loyal band",
but in the words listed in the game day program,
the word "joyous" still appears.


An interesting side note: Lester J. Wilson also penned "Bow Down to Uncle Sam" during the First World War, using the same melody as "Bow Down to Washington", but different lyrics.
-Mary Paynton with additions by John Gibbs
-Updates in 2012 thanks to Lynn Borland, class of 1966