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Callin Baton Rouge, LSU
AP Photos/Julie Jacobson, File (left), Gerald Herbert (right)

For several years now, one of the greatest traditions of the LSU Tigers, and really the entire SEC, has been the use of the song “Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks prior to their home games in Louisiana.

Although the ritual takes place every season, it has never been more popular than it is now, effectively serving as the pregame pump-up song for the Tigers’ football and baseball teams.

Callin’ Baton Rouge on LSU Game Day

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Before LSU football games, Tiger Stadium’s speakers blast “Callin’ Baton Rouge” with every fan clapping and singing along. Few stadiums in the country have a tradition that matches it.

A Saturday night in Death Valley is a college football tradition in its own right, and seeing the fans fired up during that song is a key reason as to why.

While he was the head coach of the Tigers, Les Miles was known for singing along on the field as the song played. It was during his tenure that the tradition became as popular as it is today.

The song, which was originally released in 1978 by The Oak Ridge Boys, was written by Dennis Linde. It was covered 11 years later by New Grass Revival, and, in 1993, Garth Brooks released his album, In Pieces, that contained his famous version of the song.

Even though the song doesn’t have much of a tie to football or Louisiana State University, it is about a woman from Baton Rouge and mentions Louisiana quite a bit. And since the campus is located in Baton Rouge, that is as solid of a connection you could possibly need.

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The football team isn’t the only part of the school that uses the song, though.

The LSU baseball team has also played the song at their games, where fans rocking Baton Rouge t-shirts and boasting Geaux Tigers signs sing along joyfully. The band can also play the song, though that version is not nearly as easy to sing along to.

Country music star Garth Brooks has said he loves playing in Louisiana because it is the only place on Earth where the top song everyone wants to hear is not “Friends in Low Places,” his most popular song.

So when the Tigers kickoff every football game in the Bayou, expect over 100,000 LSU fans singing along to “Callin’ Baton Rouge.”

Virtually every college football fan remembers the 2019 season that saw the Tigers win the National Championship, led by head coach Ed Orgeron and Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. The game was held in New Orleans, so you can bet your bottom dollar that “Callin’ Baton Rouge” was played at every tailgate and post-win celebration in Tigerland.

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This article was originally published July 31, 2019.

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Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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