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Posted on Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8 a.m.

Don't know what Kernkraft 400 is? Michigan football fans may be hearing it in their sleep

By Rich Rezler


What's that song Penn State students are pulsating to? Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation, of course.

AP photo

Kernkraft 400. Zombie Nation.

If those words don’t mean anything to Michigan football fans, they soon will.

You see, Kernkraft 400 - German for nuclear energy 400 - is a song released on Zombie Nation’s first album in 1999. It’s a remix of a song from the 1984 Commodore 64 game Lazy Jones by David Whittaker called "Stardust."

Still confused how it all relates? Well, Penn State blasts Kernkraft 400 at Beaver Stadium.

Like, a lot.

And during tonight’s prime-time matchup with Michigan on ESPN, it should have a little extra volume.

Associated Press college football writer Ralph D. Russo included Penn State’s personalized version of Kernkraft 400 in his list of the 12 best “unofficial fight songs” in the country.

“JoePa and techno, perfect together,” Russo wrote.

He continues: “When Penn State has it going, the sound system at Beaver Stadium starts pumping this Zombie Nation song and the fans chant along. Happy Valley certainly isn't the only place in the sports world where this song gets used, but when 100,000 or so Nittany Lions fans dressed in white start waving those white pom-pons in synch with the thumping beats, it's spellbinding.”

So if tonight's game plays out anything like last year's 35-10 Nittany Lions' win over Michigan, expect to hear it plenty during the telecast. But even a Michigan landslide victory won't keep the song completely out of rotation.

For demonstration purposes, here's a group of Penn State fans performing their version of the song. Coincidentally, it's prior to the Michigan game in 2008:

If you’re curious, here are Russo’s other entries in the top 12 unofficial fight songs, with links to examples.

• "Rocky Top." The country/bluegrass tune was recorded in 1967 by the Osborne Brothers and it was first played at a Tennessee football game by the band in 1972. And "Good ole rocky top / Rocky top Tennessee, rocky top Tennessee," has been played and played and played at Vols home games ever since. Ask SEC opponents and they'll tell you "Rocky Top" can wear you down as much one of those great Volunteer tailbacks.

• "Jump Around." House of Pain's one great contribution to hip-hop music was released in 1992 and not long after, Wisconsin used it create one of the most raucous moments in college sports. Between the third and fourth quarters, as "Jump Around" blares, Badgers fans star bouncing and Camp Randall Stadium starts shaking.

• "Also Sprach Zarathustra" aka theme to "2001: A Space Odyssey." The South Carolina Gamecocks make the most grand entrance in college football to this piece of classical music. This is probably not what Richard Strauss had in mind when he composed the work in 1896, but it's never been put to better use.

• "Tusk." The Southern California band didn't really have to adopt the Fleetwood Mac song, because it was part of the original recording for the 1979 album of the same name. The band even scored a platinum record out of the deal.

• "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Unless you've been to Milan Puskar Stadium, it might be hard to imagine this John Denver classic, released in 1971, getting football fans fired up. Not in Morgantown. The opening line says it all for Mountaineers fans, "Almost heaven, West Virginia."

• "Enter Sandman." Metallica's first huge radio hit was released in 1991 and nine years later Virginia Tech started using "Enter Sandman" as entrance music for the Hokies, turning Lane Stadium into the state's biggest mosh pit just moments before kickoff.

• "Hang on Sloopy." The McCoys, a rock band from Ohio, topped the charts in 1965 with this boppy pop song and soon after the Ohio State band started playing it at football games. It's been a staple ever since, as popular as the script Ohio. Now "Hang on Sloopy" is the official rock song of the state.

• "Sweet Home Alabama." Bryant-Denny Stadium is host to the biggest sing-along in the Deep South when Lynyrd Skynyrd's rock anthem plays. Crimson Tide fans have even put their own stamp on the song, working in a "Roll, tide, roll!" after the chorus.

• "Wabash Cannonball." The song dates back to 1882 in some form or another and it's been done and done again by artists from Bing Crosby to Woody Guthrie. But it's found a home at Kansas State, where Wildcats fans can't get enough of it, rocking back and forth to the beat to create a ripple effect in the stadium.

• "All Right Now." Stanford's band (officially, the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band) bills itself as the world's largest rock and roll band. Through the years, it's covered songs by artists from The Who to Green Day. But "All Right Now" by Free, a mainstay of classic rock radio, has become the unofficial fight song.

• Theme to "Hawaii 5-O." The theme song was one of the most distinctive in television history and it's only right that Hawaii's Warriors take the field with the band playing that wave-riding tune.



Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

River-Just moved to Cleveland. The 10 or so fans who go to Indians games love to sing this song. Was at Cedar Point last weekend and it came on over the loudspeakers and the place went nuts.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

And when the wisconsin fans are jumping up and down in it just me or does anyone else expect the whole stadium to collapse in a pile of rubble? I remember going to games at the Silverdome [hanging head in shame] and feeling the stadium shake while fans stomped to 'We will rock you', and they were sitting down at the time. Great tradition and fun for the wisconsin fans though

3 And Out

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

river if you go to the shoe for a game, the student section gets rocking for Hang on Sloopy and Brutus gets dancing around...they get in to it....i suppose its their tradition I like to raise the roof to who let the "wolves" out.. woof woof woof...jk.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 1:37 p.m.

I like all of the songs listed..most of them are inspiring if you are a fan of each particular team..but, come on..Hang On Sloopy?? Does that actually get the fans going? Way too bubble gum and played way too much during the game. I roll my eyes every time I hear it. Songs like Rocky Top make me want to sing along.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Cool story...It was interesting to be reminded of the certain songs that teams use to "hype up" the teams and fans before games. I forgot that the tune that teams use was the "Theme for 2001"- or that it was the Gamecock program that initiated this. What about the UofM "defense song" where fans wave the Wolverine Claw? Or the OSU drive song, with the "Go Bucks!" chant at the end (hate that one, but it's ever present)? I wonder what the names of those songs are? Reminds me of the Gary Glitter song they used to play at Bad Boys Pistons games that was later lifted by the Bulls during their run.