‘Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers,’ Phil Silvers

A poster advertising the 1947 musical, "High Button Shoes."

A poster advertising the 1947 musical, “High Button Shoes.”

The songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne wrote lots of timeless songs, both separately and together. “Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers,” which they co-wrote for the 1947 Broadway musical, “High Button Shoes,” wasn’t one of them. But it’s a fun little song, poking fun at the do-or-die mentality that sometimes permeates college athletics.

“Nobody ever died for dear old Rutgers/Strangely enough they simply want to live,” sang Phil Silvers in the musical. “The alumni won’t admit it’s true/But nobody ever died for Rutgers U.”

Later, after the chorus sings, “When the coach says, ‘Smash the Princeton line’/His reasoning is fine,” Silvers adds “But it’s no good for your spine.”

Check it out below.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


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1 comment

Jim Dautremont November 10, 2018 - 7:53 am

One of my fellow lieutenants in Vietnam, Bob Refelt, was a Rutgers grad in
Engineering. But he never said just Rutgers. No, no, he always said, “Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey.” He was a good guy — and smart.
> .
> Later on, Bob was promoted to the rank of captain. So, by Army regs, we
were expected to salute him. Yup. So we did — but with our left hands. Ha! We
called him “Cap’n Bob Sir.” He took it all with good humor. He survived the war.
> .
> From time to time I remember such happy times that were mixed in with the
horrible events of those days. “There is an aesthetics in all things.”
> .
> LT
> .


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