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Tyree Ends Rocky Top Tradition

October 15, 2013

  10/16/13 A 20-year tradition at Plymouth High School football games has come to an end. Over the years, as the PHS team scored a touchdown, the song “Rocky Top” was played. But after Plymouth Schools Superintendent Daniel Tyree received telephone calls a few weeks ago asking if he was aware of the reference to moonshine in the song, he performed an internet search to confirm that the lyrics did indeed include the wording that talks about living the good life and drinking moonshine. Moonshine is a type of whiskey that has historically been produced illegally.

At that point, he made the decision to halt the use of the song.

The nickname for the team is the “Rockies” and they play on a field called the “Rockpile”; so the Osborne Brothers 1967 recording of the song “Rocky Top” seemed to be a natural tie in.

Tyree said, “That song is not something that should be played at a high school event. It’s not the image we want to portray.” He added, “Games are a community event and what we do represents our entire community to another community. This is not the image I want us to portray.” He said, “This song was something we celebrated to. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Tyree pointed to the “core values” that were adopted by the School Board. Included in the list is “integrity” and indicators included under the word. “That indicator asks if “we walk the talk”.” he said. “I think schools need to take a stance against the use of alcohol.”

Despite the ban, some students sang the song a cappella at the Friday night game. Reportedly, some students are gathering signatures on a petition to present to school administrators. Tyree said, “I understand students not understanding, but I don’t understand adults not understanding.” According to Tyree, he and PHS Principal Jim Condon had talked with class leaders and to schedule a meeting to discuss the matter. “We established a path for communication, but some went around that path (contact media).” Tyree said.

Carol Anders Correspondent

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19 Responses to “ Tyree Ends Rocky Top Tradition ”

  1. on October 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I understood your point perfectly. Censorship is wrong. I believe the reason everyone is defending the performance is because you said we were promoting abuse to women. When in reality we were promoting how ugly censorship can be with the banning of books. Again, perception and wording. The show was not censored because it had nothing to do with abusing women.

    Yes censorship is bad. The band show is about how awful it can be.

  2. Kevin Bridgman on October 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

    It amazes me that when someone questions something people are passionate about they all come out attacking.

    None of you defending the band performance are paying any attention to my point.


    Do you people not understand that CENSORSHIP IS WRONG !!!!!

    Its a pretty simple point I don’t understand why you don’t get it.

  3. Thor on October 21, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I don’t think the best argument to support the first amendment and free speech is to try and point out how you should limit someone else’s free speech.

    Fahrenheit 451 is a great book btw. And picking a program that might get one of the students or members in the audience to pick it up is laudable.

  4. flaggirl96 on October 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Doug & Kevin
    I do not understand why, after this crazy debate over this song, you now choose to start throwing other things into the mix. The band show is not about abuse or domestic violence. The show was taken from the book Fahrenheit 451 which is about a futuristic society that bans books! You must have seen the show at some time to make these claims right? DId you notice the flag that says KNOWLEDGE? Oh, and at the beginning when the guard is being “abused” when the band member yells at the top of his lungs “NO BOOKS!” Yes, they are being pushed around but that is part of the story, which in no way is about abuse. OR maybe the information you have about the band show is second hand……I agree with holli, watch it!

    If you still disagree about the premise of the show, do some research before getting on a public forum and making ridiculous claims just because you are upset with a decision Mr. Tyree made. If you need further education on this subject, email me! I would be happy to make sure that you have the correct information.

  5. Kevin Bridgman on October 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm


    I have seen the show several times and Laura and I both were offended the first time we saw it but chose not to make a big deal about it because we both believe in free speech.

    It does portray violence again if you cannt or wont see that as a problem may be we should send a copy of the show to some national domestic violence groups and see what they think !!!

    Do you know that in the 5 year history of the Hemminger House it has not seen 1 day empty ? There is a problem in our community !

    You are still missing my point completely. If the Administration want to censor one program then he needs to censor all programs !!!


  6. BandFan on October 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Also on the band show, if the person that questioned this would have paid closer attention, he would have noticed that the soldiers in the show were BOTH male and female, and the students that had books taken from their hands and pushed down were also BOTH male and female. He would also have noticed that the entire scene was staged around a flag with the word “Knowledge” on it thus making it painfully obvious that the show was not in any way about abuse. Amazing how people can twist things around.

    I agree with the previous comment on here as well. Change is hard. Let’s rally together and figure out a new tradition that promotes school spirit while in a more positive manner. Maybe a new and equally strong tradition can be formed in place of the old “Rocky Top” song!

    Plymouth is an amazing place and I am proud to live here. Let’s bring positives to our community and drop all of the negative energy.

  7. BandFan on October 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    This conversation is a little ridiculous. The band show is about people FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO BE EDUCATED! The show is based on the novel “Fahrenheit 451″ in which the government bans the rights to knowledge and access to books! Yes, someone gets pushed down in the show (representing a soldier pushing a girl down that is holding a book in her hand and taking the book away from her). The show is about people fighting for the right to have an education. Anyone that sees something wrong with this is going WAY TOO FAR to find fault.

  8. on October 18, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I do not want to use this forum to debate ignorance. That is what is wrong with this world. People jump to conclusions and take matters out of context and everyone is suppose to cancel, discontinue or change things because of a few people’s opinions. Since the beginning of time there have been debates over what type of books to read and the band show is definately a reflection of exactly is going on regarding the censorship of music at high school football games. We are taking books away and women are not being abused (there are also men in the show too)the guard fights back and wins in the end so the knowledge can be returned.

    Seriously, look at the big picture!

  9. on October 17, 2013 at 11:20 am


    Please do not put the band in the middle of this situation. The show has NOTHING to do with the abuse of women. Do not jump to conclusions. Please watch the show.

  10. Kevin Bridgman on October 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

    hollishorterpifer If you don’t think women being shoved to the ground and kicked isn’t abuse there is something wrong with the way you think.

    It is at the least a very poor choice for a high school bands performance. NO MATTER WHAT THE EXPLANATION IS !!!!!

  11. Kevin Bridgman on October 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I have never had a child in the public school system in Plymouth so maybe I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I am an alumni and proud to say that. With that said I am disappointed that the Administration has appointed themselves the moral censors for all of us. It was my job along with my sons mother to teach him our moral values not Mr Tyrees job to force his morals on us.

    I have to question his motives and his morals when he has heard all the comments about the bands half time show and still hasn’t put a stop to the blatant abuse of women that it promotes.

    If Mr. Tyree wants to be the community censor then he needs to play that role for every aspect of our school system. He needs to look at every warm up song, every dance song the cheerleaders us, the music and words to every play or musical the theater department performs, the words and underlining meaning to every song the bands and choir perform. He needs to personally look in every book in every library to be sure none of them reference alcohol, drugs or violence. I’m sure he has better things to do with his time than all that so maybe we should create a new position and hire someone to do that maybe pay them somewhere close to 75,000 a year for that job also.

    Mr Tyree I look forward to a response from you if you would like you can email me at or better yet do it in a public forum so no one can say I didn’t say that or twist your words

  12. on October 17, 2013 at 8:49 am

    To the reference to the band show. First of all they are not all male band members taking the books away from the guard! Do you even know what the show is about. It has nothing to do with abuse to women! Perhaps before you comment you should find out what the show is about. Mr. Scott at the last home game did a wonderful job explaining the show. Please research before you speak.

  13. Andrew on October 17, 2013 at 5:59 am

    This seems to be a very “sticky wicket” (quoting Newkirk from Hogan’s Heros) for Mr. Tyree.

    The real problem is that thing called “tradition”. Some traditions are born out of ignorance (and I mean this in a positive way) — I doubt people who thought this whole thing up started it to promote it for the reasons that it has been since banned. The history of the country is full of such things.

    I read all sorts of things that make my stomach turn, zero-tolerance, etc that really don’t speak to the correction of the problem, but rather passing the buck to another.

    There needs to be a separation here of issues. I am very confident that Mr. Tyree didn’t do this to punish the students or community at large. I would question the motives of WNDU however, which is how got Plymouth nationally famous for a week. Today it seems that it is always a competition on who can report things first and they are the hungriest (and in my mind the most unscrupulous). I applaud the local Plymouth media for taking a more deliberate approach to handling the event.

    I think there is a bigger point that seems to have been lost. This song in question has deeper meaning for Tennessee residents because it’s about them. Maybe a good channel of energy here would be to find a new song that has closer ties to Indiana and the local surroundings. Maybe creative individuals can come up with a new song and music that could fill the hole. This would give people something to be proud of — as it would be “home grown” rather than just jumping on a bandwagon of some popular song.

    Change is difficult in any stage of life, what defines character in an individual is how change is integrated.

  14. MarkR on October 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Ernest Hemingway once said that ‘It is an age of moral bankruptcy’. Moral bankruptcy manifests itself in many different forms; theft, adultery, telling lies and half-truths and the ability to remove yourself from the value system that you purportedly espouse.

    Holding ourselves to a higher standard, as Dan suggests we should do as good, wholesome citizens of P-town & the PCSC, is a noble (if not completely Politically Correct) idea. We should want better for ourselves and our fellow citizens. It makes good sense.

    A do as I say, not as I do mentality, however, does not make good sense.

    For years, the PCSC and it’s board have blatantly denigrated and spat upon the moral fabric of the community by aiding countless coverups, participating in extra-marital affairs, facilitating kickbacks, turning a blind eye to misuse of corporation property and even leaving a corporation car in front of strip club! What do children learn from the poor examples of our administrators? Surely, an unsung verse about alcohol is the least of their worldly takeaways.

    Hemingway was right, it is an era of moral bankruptcy (he would have known!), and it is clear this era is alive and well at the PCSC.

    It is time for Plymouth to demand change and mend the moral fabric of the community by calling for the removal of those that do not hold themselves to the same high standards that they hold our kids to.

  15. doug681 on October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    all this about a song Lyric but the band can have a show that glorifies abuse towards women and that is OK. The male band members are seen hitting and kicking the female members during a performance and that is better than a very old song WHY? Mr. Tyree you failed once again. Oh maybe I need to call in a complaint on that and you will stop that too. Oh wait it is band so it is OK…..?

  16. Thor on October 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Dan doesn’t understand adults not understanding. We understand Dan immediately folded to political correctness as viewed by a couple of perpetually offended whiners.

    Some people are searching out reasons to be offended and then expect their being offended is a good enough reason to demand everyone change.

    He could have just said that the song references a different time in history and that the school does not condone the use of alcohol by minors and using the song to celebrate touchdowns is a popular tradition that in no way changes that policy.

  17. wiseman13 on October 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Tyree was and always will be a turd. If he remotely believes that banning this song will have any effect on alcohol abuse in high school he is sadly mistaken. The majority of folks had no idea those lyrics even existed in the song as we were only concerned with “rocky top you’ll always be home to me.” I’m sure if there was a mason jar of shine around he would have sipped on it too at the wonderful age of 16. Allowing Tyree to run Plymouth school corporations is like allowing a 9 year old to drive. It’s a disaster!

  18. lisa on October 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    One would have to wonder then…. Did Mr. Tyree and Mr. Condon use the proper open lines of communication and go directly to the class officers and inform them the song would no longer be played and why? Or did they wait until homecoming and simply not play the song. So we are punishing kids for outsmarting the highest educated people in our system. I am highly disappointed that our school board is sitting back and allowing this to happen. Also find it interesting that one of the pop machines inside PHS has a sign that says “stay thirsty my friends”. While it is cute, it is a beer commercial slogan. Double standard much? I guess if anything Mr. Tyree put us on the map. Great job Dan!

  19. MikeB on October 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Since alcohol apparently had contributed to several incidents/vandalism involving Plymouth “student athletes”, and their parents’ protectionalism, I can clearly see the the superintendent’s point. Nevertheless, it’s a public relations disaster,