Unhymnal

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The Unhymnal, the Unofficial Songbook of the Clemson University Bands, is a document passed down through generations of band members since at least the 1960s. It contains the alternate lyrics to opponents fight songs, as well as bellicose, often profane, oral histories of events in Tiger Band history.

With roots in the Clemson military cadet corps, the earliest known compilation dates from the late 1960s, and is rooted in the rude spirit songs sung by military fighter pilots. Indeed, the late 60's edition contains Vietnam era songs about difficult targets in Southeast Asia such as "Red River Valley" about attacks on the constantly-rebuilt bridge at Than Hoa, North Vietnam. Many of these are unprintable on a family website.

In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, several editions were produced, but the much-prized 1974 edition is now thought lost (no known copies extant), and with it a number of old standards from the early 1970s have disappeared in the mists of time (such as "Old Milwaukee" set to the tune of "On Wisconsin", "My Grandfather's Cock" ("My Grandfather's Clock"), "My God, How the Money Rolls In" to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean", and Lucas' own version of "My Favorite Things"). Further, Tiger Band clarinetist, Concert Band oboeist, Mu Beta Psi member, and staff writer for The Tiger, James L. Lucas, III, (Class of 1973 in English), who compiled that edition during Concert Band season, 1974, passed away of a heart attack at the WAY too young age of 34 on April 1, 1986, so he cannot be consulted. A photo of Jim, in his white-on-red Psi jersey, typing copy on an old Royal typewriter in The Tiger office on the 9th level above the Loggia, is on page 69 of the 1975 edition of TAPS, Volume 65. This same photo was featured in a documentary DVD produced to celebrate the Centennial of The Tiger in 2007. Unhymnals are traditionally dedicated to the current band director and to Jim Lucas; this dedication is implicit and not explicitly stated anywhere in the document.

Traditionally, the Unhymnal was almost always hand-written, keeping the illicit document flavor of a simpler time when photocopying machines were relatively new on the scene. The 1960s version was done by stencil and mimeograph machine! The first exception to this rule was Dale Walsh's 1978 edition which was type-written; however, the latest edition, 2008, has been digitally formatted to include legible, type-written lyrics (credit to M. Wells and A. Lambert/Wells; preservation by A. Long; publication by J. Taylor).

The Unhymnal is updated as often as bright young minds create new ribald songs, and get around to compiling them; usually, reprints would take place every two years. The most recent known edition that was produced en masse was the 1995 by David Weinberger, and at least 45 copies are known to be in circulation amongst the 2006 edition of Tiger Band. Other intermediate editions were produced by C. Mark Sublette and Dan Codespoti, with the most recent being Unhymnal 2008[1].

A G-rated example of the contents of the Unhymnal is The Night We Drove Old Woody Down, commemorating events at the Gator Bowl on December 29, 1978. A slightly more profane ditty is The Battle of Notre Dame, recalling the events of November 12, 1977. The University of South Carolina Alma Mater and Fightsong are similarly parodied. And then, there are other cheers like the "Rat Cheer" and the "Ice Cold" Cheer. A 2008 addition is Help!

In April 2009, the Unhymnal became part of the Clemson archives in Special Collections at the Strom Thurmond Institute.

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