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Call it the end of an era, or the start of a new chapter, but the Ravens unveiled a new fight song on Wednesday by adapting a classic.
“The Baltimore Fight Song” takes the original “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” and adds Ravens-centric lyrics in what should make fans’ gameday experience even more exciting.
“It’s more or less a changing of the guard,” said longtime director of the Marching Ravens, John Ziemann. ”The fans spoke out on this one. They wanted to feel that tradition.”
Speak out, the fans did. BaltimoreRavens.com held an online poll to see whether the Ravens’ Flock community wanted to use the new song when the Ravens scored a touchdown or field goal.
Through nearly 10,000 votes, an overwhelming 79 percent (7,766) of fans said “yes” to “The Baltimore Fight Song.” Another 2,070 (21 percent) opposed the change.
It all started with a screening of “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore native Barry Levinson’s story of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band’s dedication to sticking together even after the Baltimore Colts left town in 1984.
When the “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” was played during the movie, fans in attendance stood at attention and even sang along.
“I expected it, I really did,” said Ziemann, who originally joined the band in 1962. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten calls from people asking me to get them a copy of the ‘Baltimore Colts Fight Song.’ It was for everything from birthdays, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs and anniversaries. I wasn’t surprised at all.”
With the help of his bandmates, Ziemann and the band’s musical director, Todd Clontz, came up with the new lyrics set to the nostalgic melody.
Then, just like it did in choosing the name Ravens, the team left the decision up to the fans.
“We’ve heard the old ‘Baltimore Colts Fight Song’ through the years, and fans seem to really like it,” said Ravens Vice President of Marketing Gabrielle Dow. ”When that song was played at the [movie premiere] a year ago, the fans really got into it.
“That got us thinking more about adopting the song for the Ravens. The timing seemed right, but we wanted to see what our fans thought,” Dow added.
The Ravens have been looking for a song that will keep the energy high after a Ravens’ score or a significant victory.
Since 1998, Baltimore played the “Ravens Fight Song,” an anthem penned by John Modell, then a Ravens Vice President and son of previous team owner Art Modell.
“We had a great song before, and that’s a good enough song, to me, to be in the Top 10 of college fight songs,” Ziemann said. ”But bringing in a new one with roots in Baltimore is going to call to mind a sense of history with a look to the future of Baltimore football.
“My one wish for fans is to join us when the band plays the song. Learn the lyrics and sing along with us. It’s going to be fun on Sundays.”