"The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way" is the fight song of the University of South Carolina. It was adapted from the musical number "Step to the Rear" in the Broadway show How Now, Dow Jones and the lyrics were written by Gamecocks football coach Paul Dietzel.[1]


USC band director James Pritchard obtained a band arrangement of the Elmer Bernstein-penned song "Step to the Rear" from the Broadway musical How Now, Dow Jones in 1968 and the marching band played the song at the first game of the 1968 season.[1] It caught the ear of Coach Paul Dietzel who contacted Pritchard about making it the official fight song of the University to replace the original "Carolina Fight Song" (or "Carolina Let Your Voices Ring," now called the "Old Fight Song").[1] Dietzel wrote the lyrics for the song, but asked that he remain anonymous because knowledge that the football coach wrote the lyrics might render it unacceptable to the basketball program.[1] The song was officially introduced on 16 November 1968 prior to the football game against Virginia Tech and has been the fight song since the Fall of 1969.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Carolina Bands Collection: Series I: Sheet Music (1914-2000s): 1/12 "Step to the Rear." The Music Library at the University of South Carolina website. Retrieved 1 December 2009.

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