Cincinnati Bengals' fight song, 'The Bengal Growl,' is part chicken dance, pure Cincy oompah

John Popovich traces song's 46-year history

CINCINNATI - It happened a lot this year – a Bengals touchdown!

It’s an occurrence that sends fans whooping and hollering, reveling on the team’s success for a half minute or so.

The club wants to maintain that energy, so the PA blasts out the lame Jungle Boogie. Most of the fans take a swig of beer and then…

Then is the reason for this story. Let’s back up to the late 60s. The Bengals were born and Paul Brown invited some Cleveland friends to help out. One was entertainment director George Bird. Somebody, maybe Mr. Bird, decided the Bengals needed a fight song.

So in the winter of 1968, Bird penned "The Bengal Growl."

RELATED: Listen to "The Bengal Growl."

 

Hear that Bengal growlin' mean and angry
Here he comes a prowlin' lean and hungry
An offensive brute
Run, pass or boot
And defensively he's rough, tough
Cincinnati Bengals
That's the team we're going to cheer to victory
Touchdown Bengals get some points upon that board
And win a game for Cincinnati

My friend, Scott Simpson of the Bengals, has the original sheet music in his files. It’s dated six months before the Bengals even played a down.

Then, I imagine, Mr. Bird sat down and found a tune. It’s not Irving Berlin, but it lives on today, 56 years later.

 

The song gets the young and the old, the male and the female on their feet.

They swing and they sway.

They get carried away.

It doesn’t have Michigan’s “Hail to the Victors” majesty or the warmth of the Notre Dame fight song .

But this is homegrown oompah at its best, a true Cincinnati three-way:

 

Part silly. Part cheesy. Part chicken dance.

And totally fun.

The original version of the song is the one that is still played. Nobody knows who does the vocals. Nobody seems to care.

Fans sing it after every Bengals touchdown, followed by a perfect Cincinnati chaser, the Who-Dey chant:

“Who dey! Who dey! Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?!

“No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-body!

 What’s your favorite fight song? Comment in the field below.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.