Rooting Interest

I’m going to do what no Chicago sports fan should ever do—the great majority of us seem not to abide by this wisdom—and say I’m really hoping they win tomorrow. Beyond matters of vicarious athletic attainment and hometown pride, I hope they prevail for aesthetic reasons. In an anthem vs. anthem matchup, Chicago’s “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” must triumph over Green Bay’s polka-flavored, raccoon coat-evoking slop, “Go! You Packers! Go!” I submit lyrics and clips in support of my position, starting with “Bear Down”

Bear down, Chicago Bears,
make every play clear the way to victory.
Bear down, Chicago Bears,
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly.

We’ll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T formation.

Bear down, Chicago Bears,
And let them know why you’re wearing the crown.
You’re the pride and joy of Illinois,
Chicago Bears, bear down!

And here’s a representative performance of “Bear Down” :

Now, here’s the Green Bay hymn:

Hail, hail the gang’s all here to yell for you,
And keep you going in your winning ways,
Hail, hail the gang’s all here to tell you too,
That win or lose, we’ll always sing your praises Packers;
Go, you Packers, go and get ’em,
Go, you fighting fools upset ’em,
Smash their line with all your might,
A touchdown, Packers, Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight!
On, you Green and Gold, to glory,
Win this game the same old story,
Fight, you Packers,
Fight, and bring the bacon home to Old Green Bay.

And here’s a specimen rendition of the above:

Words and Music


I’ve been working on pulling together the story behind the writing of “Bear Down Chicago Bears”–a mystery of perhaps less significance than, “What happened to the WMDs?” Still, you work with what you got.

Along the way, I called the song’s current publisher, Mark Spier, of Larry Spier Music, in New York City. He says he’s getting lots of requests for the sheet music. Alas, there is no currently published sheet music. So his firm has made a PDF copy of the 1941 sheet music and is selling it online. In the 10 days since the Bears beat the Saints to get into the Super Bowl, Spier has sold 200 to 300 copies (including one copy to me; Dad, it’ll be in the mail soon). The first thing I learned from the sheet music, beside the Bears’ 1941 address (37 S. Wabash), is that the song is to be played at a “bright march tempo.”

You can buy the song from Spier here (it’s three bucks; the company is selling several other Bears-related musical items, too). If you’re not satisfied with a virtual copy, I found at least one copy of the 1941 original for sale on eBay (the seller has timed it so that the auction will end near game time on Sunday.


One last thing: The graphic on the “Bear Down” cover page: It looks familiar; it’s looks similar, in some way, to Chicago Cubs scorecards, which always seemed to have an abstract quality to the cover art (that’s the 1941 scorecard here, part of a great online collection assembled by a “die-hard Cubs fan” (poor soul). I wonder if the same illustrator worked for both teams?

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