I have the tendency to remember useless bits of information. Dumb stuff, like who sat in front of me in 7th grade English (a mean boy named Kraig) or what song the eye doctor had playing in the room when I had PRK surgery on my eyes (The Carpenters “Close to You”–hey, whatever makes you do your best work.). I also remember all the words to the first Indians fight song I ever heard–“Indian Fever,” which the team used in the early 1980s.
When I found myself belting out “Indian Fever” the other day while doing the dishes (the Indians had just won both split squad games), I got to thinking about other Indians fight songs. “Indian Fever” isn’t a great song, but it’s just catchy enough to stick in your head in the same way popcorn kernels stick in between your teeth.
Another big song from the same era was “Go Joe Charboneau,” by the mysterious Section 36. I had a copy of the 45, but have been unable to find a free, working recording of it online. Good song? No, not really. Did it lift the spirits of Cleveland baseball fans who hadn’t had a bigger-than-life superstar player in, like, forever? Yeah.
I started doing some research on old Indians fight songs and found one from the 1960s that I had never heard before. It’s just called the “Indians Baseball Song,” by Sammy Watkins and His Orchestra. It has a nice little bossa-nova feel.
“We’re Talkin’ Baseball, We’re Talkin’ Tribe” has been around since the mid-late 1990′s (I remember a co-worker who used to sing it–see, dumb stuff). It’s still being used on WTAM. It isn’t great, but I like it better than “It’s Tribe Time Now,” which is the Indians organization-approved fight song. Any time cheering crowd chorus combines with a thin-voiced tenor trying to sound metal exhorting me to “crank up the noise,” I am left cold.
My favorite Indians fight song of all time is Oh Come All Ye Baseball Fans/Sound the Trumpet, which was commissioned by classical radio station WCLV and written by Ross Duffin of Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Music. The music is based on Henry Purcell’s Come ye Sons of Art. The lyrics are by Mr. Duffin, who wrote the original song for the now-iconic 1995 Indians, and then wrote an updated version (name checking different players) for the 2007 AL Central winning team. In an email, Mr. Duffin noted “…one thing that people often don’t notice is that the chorus part — Come all ye baseball fans — is actually a parody of the lyrics to “Take Me out to the Ballgame!” And while the first part with the players’ names gets outdated very quickly, the chorus is timeless!” Indeed, it is. He also noted that, should the 2013 Indians make the playoffs, he’d consider a revision.
I hope he’ll have reason to write one.