A high school in Indiana decided recently to ban the classic country song “Rocky Top” from football games because its references to “moonshine” are supposedly “politically incorrect,” as WNDU.com puts it.
The song “Rocky Top” was popularized in 1967 by the Osborne Brothers (YouTube)
“We have a hard time seeing how we can continue to let our whole school body, student body celebrate to a song that’s about alcohol,” said Plymouth School Superintendent Dan Tyree, who is responsible for the ban.
Plymouth High School has for the past 20 years featured the song prominently in its football games. It has been the signature of the Plymouth Rockies, played after all scoring plays at the stadium they call “The Rockpile.”
"Somebody brought it up to me a couple of weeks ago," Tyree told Fox 28, "and said 'you guys celebrate to Rocky Top after every touchdown and the song talks about going into the hills and living the good life and drinking moonshine.'"
"I think schools need to take a stand against the use of alcohol and playing a song like that and celebrating to it after every touchdown, and our school scores a lot of touchdowns, you know it just doesn't make sense,” he said, adding that he was unaware until recently that the song referenced alcohol.
[sharequote align="center"]The tradition “probably should have never started, but it did and I just put an end to it."[/sharequote]
Tyree decided to nix the song shortly after the school’s homecoming earlier this year.
“We all kind of figured it out, you know that oh wait Rocky Top is not playing so we kind of just took it into our own hands you know and started singing it,” one student told WNDU.
“I think it’s a big deal that they’re taking it away because I mean kids are still against it, they’re still singing it so it’s not really taking it away,” another student said.
Funny enough, some students say they didn’t even know “Rocky Top” referenced alcohol until after the school decided to ban the song.
“It refers to in the third verse, a moonshine still, however, during the games the parts that are played don’t have that actual wording in its so we’re just kind of dumbfounded the fact that they took it away from, you know, just the third verse that was never played,” said PHS student Mack Mercer.
“It just says ‘once two strangers climbed old Rocky Top looking for a moonshine still,’ so, you know, I don't know what they were doing, maybe they were trying to find a moonshine still and destroy it, they never specify in the song so maybe they’re trying to do good out there,” Mercer added.
Students have a petition to reinstate the song. They have gathered roughly 600 signatures.
Tyree, for his part, regrets nothing.
The tradition “probably should have never started, but it did and I just put an end to it,” he said, adding that at least three people have called him to thank him for the ban (although two other callers objected).
“Kids want to play Rocky Top at home they can do that, as far as at a school setting where the school is in charge of the music that’s being played, that’s not going to be one of the songs that we play,” said Tyree.
Recent reports claim the school’s students have taken to singing the song acapella from the stands.
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Featured image Fox 28. This post has been updated.