Strange But True: Marching Song

One of the most colorful club owners in all of sports was George Preston Marshall, owner of the Washington Redskins football team from the 1930s to 1963. He entertained the Washington fans in many different ways. One of his pet projects was the Redskin Marching Band. A special song was written for them, called “Hail to the Redskins.” The music was composed by a society bandleader named Barnee Breeskin. The words were written by Corinne Marshall, the owner’s wife.

The the Marshalls were divorced. Corinne Marshall kept the rights to the song, and years afterward they passed to a man named Ted Webb.

Many years later, the National Football League expanded to Dallas. As it happened, Ted Webb, the owner of the marching song, worked for millionaire Clint Murchison, who wanted to own the Dallas team. But Murchsion needed the approval of the rest of the club owners, and George Preston Marshall refused.

Then Marshall learned that Murchison owned the rights to his beloved Redskin marching song. Murchison could forbid the Redskins to sing their own theme song.

No one knows for sure why George Preston Marshall changed his mind and voted for Murchison’s ownership of the new team in Dallas. But as part of the deal he got back the rights to “Hail to the Redskins.”

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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  1. According to the 2nd ESPN link, the rights to the song were purchased by Murchison from Breeskin when Marshall balked at allowing the Dallas franchise to be founded.  There is no mention of Ted Webb and I was unable to find a connection between Webb and the now-retired fight song.  That’s not to say that Liss got it wrong, only that I can’t verify which version of events is correct.

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