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10 Mind-Blowing College Marching Band Cover Songs

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Robin Thicke, "Blurred Lines" (Jackson State)
"Blurred Lines" might have Robin Thicke’s name at the top, but it’s Pharrell’s sparse, catchy percussion that drives the tune. Like so many salsa and meringue tunes, the song’s energetic and repetitive nature gets up inside your skull and just bounces around forever. Relying on Pharrell’s expertise, Jackson State used the song as a foundation for their huge drum line in order to infect an entire stadium with the tune.

Psy, "Gangnam Style" (Ohio University)
"Gangnam Style" was designed to be ridiculous. The video features Psy dancing through a trash storm. He gets straddled in an elevator. He wears a suit that even Bob Eubanks would turn down.  So, it's even more ridiculous for an entire marching band to do the whacked out “Gangnam” Style dance, complete with male-on-male straddle … and by ridiculous, we mean ridiculously awesome.

Daft Punk Medley (Western Washington University Viking Band)
Acknowledging Daft Punk's dedication to performance and robotic showmanship along with the music, Western Washington University put on an entire Daft Punk tribute complete with raver glow sticks, Tron suit clad dancers, and strobe lights. Just like Daft Punk works best in a packed club, the band's thick sounds reverberate through the gymnasium.

Cee Lo, "Fuck You" (Southern University)
Although the original version of Cee Lo's nasty named anthem never hit the radio, everyone knew what the watered down version declared when he sang "Forget You." You have to admit that it's somewhat subversive to have a marching band play an instrumental form of this vicious revenge song. 

Beyonce Medley (University of Michigan) 
In order to up the ante, the University of Michigan recently brought in a ringer for their Beyonce medley - Queen B herself! Mrs. Carter appears on the jumbo tron and blesses the performance. Does this signify a new era of celebrity endorsed marching bands? Will we see Lil Wayne backing PSU? Nicki Minaj giving props to Pitt? Only if we're lucky.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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