For the 1963 film of the same title, see The Victors (film)."The Victors" is the fight song of the University of Michigan (U of M). It was composed by UM student Louis Elbel in 1898 following the last-minute football victory over the University of Chicago that clinched a league championship. John Philip Sousa is quoted as saying it is "the greatest college fight song ever written." First performed in public in 1899, "The Victors" did not catch on right away, and did not become Michigan's official fight song until many years later. At the time, the song "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" was considered to be the school song. An abbreviated version of the fight song, based on the final refrain, is played after the football team either scores or makes a big defensive play, such as an interception. Its full lyrics span several verses that run over two minutes long. The melody of the fight song is very similar to the trio section from "The Spirit of Liberty March", published seven months earlier by Tin Pan Alley composer George "Rosey" Rosenberg. This song is often referred to as "Hail to the Victors," which is not correct. The phrase "champions of the West" is often misunderstood, and is in reality a reference to Michigan's membership in the Western Conference, later renamed the Big Ten. Accordingly, after Michigan temporarily withdrew from the Western Conference in 1907, a new Michigan fight song "Varsity" was written in 1911 because the line "champions of the West" was no longer appropriate. Both songs were highly popular, and with Michigan's reentry to the Western Conference in 1917, followed by an undefeated football season in 1918, the lyrics to The Victors became apt once again. The lyrics are unusual for a fight song, in that the typical fight song exhorts its team to play well and win, whereas "The Victors" is sung in celebration of a win after the fact. Uses and performances, The chorus of the song ("Hail! to the victors valiant," etc.) is played at all University of Michigan sports competitions, as well as many UM band events, first year student orientation and welcoming events, and graduation commencement ceremonies. When the song is played at any event, most fans stand and clap in rhythm until the chorus. During the chorus, fans clap and sing along and thrust their fists in the air at each repetition of the word "Hail!" This raising of the fist during the chorus has become a well-known sight indicative of UM athletics and school spirit. Recently, fans have started to yell the phrase "Go Blue!" at the conclusion of the chorus. However, during hockey games, it is more common to insert "Let's Go Blue!" in between the two stanzas of the chorus (after the line "...leaders and best.") than it is to end with "Go Blue!" More recently, the hockey fans at Yost Ice Arena have begun adopting the football cheer version and ending in "Go Blue!" and omitting the aforementioned "Let's Go Blue!" in the middle of the song. Since UM athletics and "The Victors" are both popular, the University of Michigan has also used the words to the fight song as an advertising tool. For example, commercials for the University of Michigan Health System's "The Michigan Difference" campaign have featured the words to the chorus of "The Victors" over pictures of children in hospital beds, amputees and post-surgical patients living active lives, and doctors performing surgery. The musical accompaniment to these commercials is a light chamber orchestra/pop rendition of the fight song. UM alumnus Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, often had the Naval band play the fight song prior to state events instead of "Hail to the Chief". He also selected the song to be played during his December 2006 funeral procession at the U.S. Capitol. The Michigan Marching Band played this tune for him one final time, for his last ride from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lyrics, Now for a cheer they are here, triumphant!Here they come with banners flying,In stalwart step they're nighing,With shouts of vict'ry crying,We hurrah, hurrah, we greet you now, Hail!Far we their praises singFor the glory and fame they've bro't usLoud let the bells them ringFor here they come with banners flyingFar we their praises tellFor the glory and fame they've bro't usLoud let the bells them ringFor here they come with banners flyingHere they come, Hurrah!(chorus) Hail! to the victors valiantHail! to the conqu'ring heroesHail! Hail! to MichiganThe leaders and best!Hail! to the victors valiantHail! to the conqu'ring heroesHail! Hail! to Michigan,The champions of the West!(break strain) We cheer them againWe cheer and cheer againFor Michigan, we cheer for MichiganWe cheer with might and mainWe cheer, cheer, cheerWith might and main we cheer!(chorus)