The student pep band regularly causes a resurgence of interest on campus in traditional Lafayette songs. Many will hope so, for Joe Bell's observation in 1938 -- "There are a great number of good songs, full of harmony, that were once sung in the various dormitories and in front of old Pardee that today are unknown to most alumni and to all undergraduates" - is as true now as it was then.
Joseph E. Bell, Class of 1928, secretary of the Alumni Association, wrote to alumni in the spring of 1938, enlisting their help in gathering Lafayette music for a songbook. We may well imagine that a brand new song - "On, Lafayette!" - inspired him to do it.
If indeed many of Lafayette's great old songs had been forgotten by the students, "On, Lafayette!" by Charles E. Straub, Class of 1912, was No. 1 in their hearts.
"Enclosed is a copy of the song that swept the campus last year," Bell wrote to Thornton W. Allen, the publisher of college songs, in September '38, granting permission to air "On, Lafayette!" during a special Lafayette-Penn football program broadcast on radio station WOR. "As you can see, its main appeal is that it is a marching song, but the boys whoop it up when they sing it."
And so "On, Lafayette!" took its place with "The Eyes of Texas," "Fair Harvard," "The Victors" of Michigan and the other great college songs.