Million Dollar Band
The University of Alabama "Million Dollar Band" is an exciting part of the Crimson Tide spirit and tradition. Comprised of over 330 students with various majors and interests, the band is the largest single organization on campus. Participation in the Marching Band enables members to continue their involvement in a quality musical program while socializing and traveling with a large cross-section of students.
The Nationally recognized "Million Dollar Band" is widely known for its colorful half-time presentations and has appeared on national television more often than any other college band. Sports Illustrated magazine has listed the "Million Dollar Band" as one of the top three college bands in the nation. In addition, the 1992 September issue of Southern Living magazine selected the "Million Dollar Band" as one of the top 10 most outstanding bands in the South.
The "Million Dollar Band" began as a military band in 1914. In twenty years it grew to become the marching unit for halftime presentations under the "Father of the Million Dollar Band", Colonel Carleton K. Butler. Today, the "Million Dollar Band" is one of the finest and most famous college marching units in the country.
How did we get such a high price?
The name "Million Dollar Band" was bestowed upon us in 1922 by W. C. "Champ" Pickens, an Alabama alumnus and football manager in 1896. Accounts of how the name evolved vary. In the 1948 Alabama football media guide, it is described this way:
At the time the band was named (1922), it was having a hard struggle. The only way they could get to Georgia Tech for a game was by soliciting funds from the merchants. They usually had to ride all night in a day coach, and we thought it was swell when we finally got a tourist sleeper and put two to a lower and two to an upper berth." Thus, because of the fund raising prowess, Pickens called the group the "Million Dollar Band.
During that particular Georgia Tech game, won by the Yellow Jackets 33-7, an Atlanta sportswriter commented to Pickens, "You don't have much of a team, what do you have at Alabama?" Pickens replied, "A Million Dollar Band."