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The Maine Stein Song is the school song of the University of Maine. Its lyrics were written by UMaine student Lincoln Colcord in 1902 and its tune was based on Opie, a march written by E. A. Fenstad. It was popularized in 1930 by Rudy Vallée and became the only college song to become a number one hit.

Contents

BeginningsEdit

In 1902, Adelbert W. Sprague, a sophomore at the University of Maine, discovered Opie, a march written by United States Army bandmaster E. A. Fenstad, while he was playing in an orchestra in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 1904, Sprague, then a senior and the school's band leader, was preparing for a concert to be held at the University. He handed part of Opie to his roommate, Lincoln Colcord, and asked him to provide some Maine-themed lyrics for the song. Colcord wrote the lyrics in half an hour and Sprague then rearranged the song slightly to fit the lyrics. The song was presented to the faculty advisor on music affairs, who disapproved of it on the grounds that it was a drinking song and it would be in poor taste for the state university of a state that prohibited the manufacture and sale of liquor to have its students singing such a song. However, Sprague had a chance meeting with University of Maine President George Emory Fellows, who told him that the lyrics were all right. The song was a hit at a concert and became popular with the student body.[1]

The lyrics were first published on February 15, 1905 in the University of Maine magazine The Maine Campus. The song was copyrighted on June 23, 1910 by Carl Fisher, who owned the copyright to Opie, under the name "Opie" – The University of Maine Stein Song.[2]

Rudy ValléeEdit

Rudy Vallée heard the Maine Stein Song when he attended the University of Maine from 1921 to 1922.[3] In 1929, the National Broadcasting Company acquired the rights to Opie and Vallée, the host of the network's Fleischmann's Yeast Hour, recorded the song with a faster tempo and a few word changes.[4][5] The song topped the charts for two months and was the leading song of 1930.[6][7] It became the only college song to become a number one hit.[8][9]

ReceptionEdit

At the time the song became popular, it reference to drinking was said to be a violation of the Volstead Act.[8] Its lyrics were also criticized for being pagan by proposing a toast "to the gods" and "to the fates".[1] In 1930, Johnny Johnson and Harry McDaniel wrote I'd Like To Find The Guy Who Wrote The Stein Song, a comedy song about a man who is fed up with constantly hearing The Stein Song on the radio.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the song came under fire for its promotion of drinking and lyrics that were considered sexist ("let every Maine man sing" and "to the lips and the eyes of the girls who will love us someday"). Various individuals began to push for a revision of the lyrics or the adoption of a new school song.[10][11][12]

Bill Studwell rankedThe Stein Song as the sixth best college fight song in his book College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Barrows, Nat A. (March 23, 1930). "Whole Country Sings Stein Song of Maine". The Boston Daily Globe.
  2. ^ Fuld, James J. (1966). The Book of World-Famous Music. Toronto: General Publishing Company. p. 346. ISBN 9780486414751. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Shaw, Dick (July 27, 2001). "Heigh ho, Mr. Vallee Showman's mark on UMaine remains strong". Bangor Daily News.
  4. ^ "Listening In". The New York Times. May 18, 1930.
  5. ^ "The Maine Stein Song". The University of Maine. The University of Maine. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  6. ^ Watson, Ben (Jul–Aug 2001). "Music made in England: Mondays at Mory's". Yankee.
  7. ^ Young, William H.; Young, Nancy K. (2005). Music of the Great Depression. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780313332302. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Briggs, Bob (2008). University of Maine Ice Hockey. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 9780738555157. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Winstead, J. Lloyd (2013). When Colleges Sang: The Story of Singing in American College Life. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press. pp. 190–191. ISBN 9780817317904. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Studwell, William Emmett (1997). The Americana Song Reader. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc. p. 165. ISBN 9780789001504. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  11. ^ "Raising Cain Instead of Steins". New York Times. May 8, 1988. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  12. ^ McKeen, Sid (December 2, 1990). "Non-drinking non-men drafting new Stein Song". Telegram & Gazette.
  13. ^ "Sing loud, sing proud". Chicago Tribune. September 11, 2003. Retrieved 2017-12-04.