FSU in Pop Culture: Music
For our new series, we’re going to take a dive into some offseason fun. There may not be many live sports to enjoy, but the impact of FSU and it’s alumni, band, and mega fans can be felt all across the pop culture consciousness. So that’s what we’ll be looking at over the next few days. There’s no better place to start than the music industry.
Not only does Florida State have one of the most iconic pieces of music in the War Chant, but it’s also had some of the most successful artists that span multiple different genres. Now I’m sure there may be a few things missed, but we scoured the internet and did our best.
Authors note: This does not include things like the Seminole Rap or other FSU focused music. Only people or songs that crossed over into mainstream.
Jim Morrison: The Doors
Probably the second most iconic individual that has an association of any kind with the university that doesn’t have the last name Bowden. Morrison’s time in Tallahassee was brief, but it has gone down in infamy. Some of his time was spent behind bars, but he was also featured in this send home university video that’s become a cult classic of its own.
Of course we all know what Morrison did after leaving Florida State. He became one of the biggest rock stars in the world as the front man of The Doors during the rebellious 1960s. They had a number of hits that still get played today like “Light my Fire” and “Break on Through,” along with that infamous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sadly, Morrison passed away in 1971. He would join that tragic and infamous “27 Club” with stars like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and others.
Scott Stapp: Creed
Okay so the music of Creed may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying the success of the band and the frontman himself. Kind of like Morrison before him, Stapp spent a brief period at FSU after transferring in from Valencia College, and then went on to become one of the biggest rock stars of his era.
However, just like with Morrison, this led to a multitude of personal problems and a rocky career. Creed is a memorable band, however, and came along in the late 1990s during the post-grunge movement with hits such as :Higher," ‘With Arms Wide Open" and "My Sacrifice." At one time, Stapp was one of the most recognizable voices in music. He’s also done solo work during his on-again, off-again relationship with his Creed bandmates.
As you’ll see, FSU’s influence spreads across multiple genres, including. Owen is probably the biggest ‘Nole fan on this list, and is an alumnus of Florida State. He brings his family to sporting events and in the fall you’ll see him sporting FSU gear often.
If you’re unfamiliar with Owen, he has multiple number one hits to his name and is one of the biggest touring acts in the world. He’s also been the celebrity guest picker for ESPN’s College Gameday when the crew stops by in Tallahassee. He’s even done a video with the university speaking on his time at the school and what he’s been up to since.
Bryan Kelly: Florida-Georgia Line
This is the rare person on this list that not only attended FSU, but played a sport there, too. Before he began touring the world and climbing the music charts, Kelly spent his days over at Dick Howser Stadium. That’s right, Kelly spent time playing for legendary coach Mike Martin.
Since his days on the diamond ended, his music career has certainly taken off with the group Florida-Georgia Line. The duo has had a bakers dozen of number one hits and continues to remain one of the most popular acts in the country genre. Kelly has been known to sport his FSU shirt at many live shows, and, like Jake Owen, has appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday.
The group’s biggest hit, “Cruise,” really took the celebrity status of Kelly to a whole new level. Especially when a remix was done with rap superstar Nelly. Speaking of Nelly...
Shake Ya Tailfeather: Nelly, Diddy, and Murphy Lee
Leave it to the music industry deciding to take the one thing that is most synonymous with FSU and make a hit out of it. The Marching Chiefs have been playing the War Chant since the 1980s, and while this hip-hop track wasn’t the first to sample the chant, it’s likely the most famous and popular one.
In 2003, Bad Boys II was released, and the soundtrack featured a star-studded cast of hip-hop artists. The most famous song from the album would end up being “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” which was a collaboration between Nelly, Murphy Lee, and Sean "Diddy" Combs. From the opening line, it’s hard to mistake the iconic chant. It was almost like being at Doak Campbell Stadium every time you turned on the radio. In case you lived under a rock, it went a little something like this:
Seminole Wind: John Anderson
This one will be familiar to the FSU faithful, as it used to ring throughout Doak Campbell Stadium during the song’s heyday. The song shot up the charts in 1992, which coincided with one of the football program's best seasons to date. The lyrics include the name of Chief Osceola, which is also synonymous with Florida State. Some still clamor for the return of the tune at ‘Noles home games.
Indian Outlaw: Tim McGraw
This is probably the most controversial entry in this entire series. “Indian Outlaw,” by country music superstar Tim McGraw, was another 1990s classic for the country genre, but even at the time came with valid criticism of its lyrics and verbiage toward Native Americans. However, like the two songs before it, this samples the beat of the War Chant, so it belongs here.
Unlike “Seminole Wind,” this one didn’t have the embrace of the Seminole tribe, university, or fans. It was a huge hit for McGraw though, as it soared all the way to number one and even has its own line dance. There’s no mistaking the song’s main hook, and you can’t hear it without thinking of FSU.
Don’t Go There: Dangerous Minds Soundtrack.
So this one was a tough find, and if you aren’t paying attention you would probably miss it. "Don't Go There" by 24-K is featured in the Michelle Pfeiffer movie, “Dangerous Minds,” and briefly samples the War Chant. Now, it uses it in a way that I cannot include here so I recommend checking it out for yourself, but the list isn’t complete without it.
Other Sports Teams Using the War Chant
Several high schools across America share a mascot with FSU, so it‘s likely you may hear the War Chant in a lot of small towns on Friday nights. That being said, let’s stick to the two professional franchises that borrow the ‘Noles most famous tune-- the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.
Over the years, this has angered some FSU faithful, along with fans of those teams as well, but there’s no denying it creates a unique home atmosphere for both. The Braves and Chiefs have even taken to selling foam tomahawks. The Braves do have the Deion Sanders connection to Florida State, which is where the tradition of using the song began.
Check back here at All Seminoles. Next time we’ll be looking at FSU in the movies.