Stanford Band

Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band

LSJUMB scattering at Big Game 2010 at Cal (Each section of the LSJUMB wears a different costume at the Big Game)
School Stanford University
Location Stanford, California
Conference Pac-12 Conference
Founded 1893 (1893)
Members 20–400 (depending on the day)
Fight song "Come Join the Band" and "All Right Now"
Uniform White fishing hat with red trim and buttons, red LSJUMB blazer or vest, black pants.

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) is the student marching band of Stanford University. Billing itself as "The World's Largest Rock and Roll Band", the Stanford Band performs at sporting events, student activities, and other functions.


LSJUMB rallying fans at Stanford Stadium

The LSJUMB was formed in 1893. However, its modern era began in 1963 with the hiring of Arthur P. Barnes as interim director (he got the full-time post two years later). Previous director Julius Shuchat had been very popular, and his ouster caused several members to go on strike. However, according to band lore, Barnes immediately won the band's loyalty by ceding any meaningful control over it.[1] To this day, the band is almost entirely student-run.

In 1972, the Band went from an all-male band to co-ed.

The band and its new director also clicked over his arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner", which featured the striking effect of a single trumpet playing the first half of the song, joined later by soft woodwinds and tuba, and finally bringing the full power of the brass only in the final verse. When it was played at the "Big Game" against Cal, just eight days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Barnes said, "I've never heard such a loud silence."

Empowered, the student-led band threw away the traditional marching music and military-style uniforms, eventually settling for a mostly rock and roll repertoire and a simplified uniform consisting of a white fishing hat with red trim (and as many buttons as will fit), red blazer, black pants, and "the ugliest tie you can get your hands on."[2] In the springtime and at non-athletic events, band members appear at performances (and sometimes even at rehearsals) wearing "rally" attire, which can range from swim suits to Halloween costumes to furniture and pets, always displaying their freedom from the usual rules of fashion. The Badonkadonk Land Cruiser, a new version of which is currently under construction, is used as a band support vehicle.[3]

Songs and shows

LSJUMB pre-game show at Stanford Stadium

The band's repertoire is heavy on classic rock of the 1970s, particularly songs by Tower of Power, Santana, and The Who. In the 1990s, more modern music was introduced, including songs by Green Day and The Offspring. For many years, it has billed itself as "The World's Largest Rock 'n Roll Band."

The de facto fight song is "All Right Now," originally performed by Free. Another frequently played song in their repertoire is "White Punks on Dope", originally by The Tubes.[4] The band prides itself on its vast song selection, never playing the same song twice in one day (except for All Right Now), and has a library of over one thousand songs at its disposal, sixty-nine of which are in active rotation. One of the first collegiate marching bands to record and release their music, the band has produced thirteen albums since 1967. Arrangements focus on the loudest brass instruments—trumpets, mellophones, and trombones—and percussion—one bass drum (called the Axis o' Rhythm), snare drums, and single tenor drums. This led a Rolling Stone writer to note in 1987, "It's hard for anyone raised on rock to imagine that a band could sound this loud without thousands of watts of amplification."[5] Many traditional band instruments like bells and glockenspiels are altogether absent.

Traditional "marching" is also missing, as the band "scatters" from one formation to the next. The halftime field shows feature formations that are silly or suggestive shapes, as well as words. A team of Stanford students writes a script for the halftime show explaining to some degree what the band is doing in any given formation. The announcer reads this script over the public address system.

Controversial actions by the band

Irreverence has been a mainstay of the band through its over half-century as a scatter band. The band did recognize some limits, however, and although they regularly discussed a "Death and Medicine" show, including formations and song arrangements relating to Jayne Mansfield's death – "Saturday Night and I Ain't Got No Body" – and other current events, including Richard Nixon's phlebitis, they never did – and never intended to – in fact stage this halftime show.

"The Play"

The Band's most infamous and controversial moment, however, had nothing to do with its irreverence. In the final four seconds of the 1982 Big Game against the University of California, Berkeley (Cal), band members (as well as players from Stanford) ran out onto the field, thinking the game was over after Stanford players appeared to have tackled ball-carrier Dwight Garner. Garner managed to lateral it to another player, and they continued to lateral back and forth, with Cal's Kevin Moen dodging through the band for a winning touchdown, which he ended by running over LSJUMB trombone player Gary Tyrrell in the end zone. "The Play" is celebrated by Cal fans and inspires the ire of many Stanford fans. To this day, it remains one of the most famous and controversial plays in American football history.

In 2002, during the Big Game halftime show, the LSJUMB performed a humorous re-enactment of The Play. Special emphasis was placed on the allegation that Cal player Garner's knee touched the ground before his lateral; all band members performing the re-enactment froze in place at this stage, and a single member, carrying a large yellow arrow, ran out and repeatedly pointed at the "down" Garner. Officials at the time did not call Garner down and though no instant replay rule was in effect at the time, game tape appears inconclusive.

To this day the position of Band Manager is conferred from one generation to the next with four seconds left in the Big Game in commemoration of The Play.


The LSJUMB (background) doing the Roman salute, some holding dollar bills, as USC's fight song is played by the Spirit of Troy in the (foreground).

The LSJUMB has been criticised and disciplined for their actions on several occasions:

The Dollies

The Dollies, a five-member female dance group, and the Stanford Tree, the University's de facto mascot (the de jure mascot is the color cardinal), operate under the band's aegis. The Dollies appear at all sporting events and school/community rallies with the Stanford Band and Tree.

The Dollies are a dance group, rather than cheerleaders in the typical sense. They are a separate entity from the Stanford Cheerleading team, who currently fall under the umbrella of Club Sports. Dollies are managed by their Dollie Daddy/Mama (the Band's assistant manager or "ass-man"/"ass-ma'am"), and they choreograph their own routines, hold their own practices, and design their own dresses and costumes. Traditional dress colors are white for the spring, red for the fall, and cardinal for the winter. The Dollies are numbered 1–5 in order of height (shortest to tallest).

Dollies serve one-year terms, and each year five new dancers are chosen by previous Dollies and the band. Try-outs are held in February and culminate in "Dollie Day," when prospective Dollies ("ProDos") demonstrate their ability in front of the entire assembled band. Each year's new Dollie cadre is revealed at the annual "Dollie Splash," where the Dollies give their debut performance in the spring for the public followed by a dunking in the Stanford Claw.

The most recent Dollies have been:

Albums of the LSJUMB


  1. Meigs, op cit, p. 89
  2. Meigs, op cit, p. 89, 152
  3. Review of the Badonkadonk Land Cruiser
  4. Hart, Derek (September 7, 2010), "Stanford Football: Cardinal Marching Band is America's Most Fun Bunch", Bleacher Report.
  5. "Band on the Run", James B. Meigs, Rolling Stone 509, September 24, 1987, p. 153
  7. Meigs, op cit, p. 89, 150, 152
  8. 1 2 3 "Facts". Stanford Band. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  9. "Nov. 2 news briefs" (Press release). Stanford University. November 1, 1994. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  10. Bisheff, Steve (September 27, 2006). "Band's suspension hits sour note". Orange County Register. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  11. "Band punished for mocking Notre Dame". Stanford, California: Stanford University. October 15, 1997. Retrieved February 1, 2015.]
  12. Workman, Bill (October 11, 1997). "band Banished from Notre Dame Games". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  13. "Band's Mormon-mocking halftime shoe leads to apologies, sanctions". Stanford Daily. Stanford, California: Stanford University. September 22, 2004. Archived from the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  14. Lagos, Marisa (August 5, 2006). "Again, Stanford Band must face the music". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  15. Lagos, Marisa (November 17, 2006). "Stanford band won't face charges for 'Shak' vandalism". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  16. "University exonerates Stanford marching band in vandalism case". USA Today. Associated Press. March 14, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  17. "Stanford Band Mocks "Girls Gone Wild" Founder Joe Francis In Front Of USC Crowd (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. November 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  18. FitzGerald, Tom (January 4, 2011). ""Coby Fleener has monster game on biggest stage". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  19. "Band inquiry to lead to reforms". Stanford University. May 15, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  20. Wilner, Jon (January 2, 2016), "Stanford Band draws ire of Iowa Hawkeyes fans with staggering cow performance", San Jose Mercury News.
  21. Sherman, Rodger (January 2, 2016), The Stanford band made everybody furious at the Rose Bowl for the 3rd time in 4 years, SB Nation.
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