"Rock and Roll Part 2," a song that reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, has had a checked history as a stadium anthem.
Also known as the "Hey" song, based on its lone-word lyric, the tune fell into disfavor after the glam-rock star behind it, Gary Glitter (real name: Paul Gadd) was convicted of numerous sex crimes. In 2006, Gadd was convicted of committing obscene acts with children, and in 2015, he received a 16-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three young girls in the 1970s.
But colleges, and college marching bands, nonetheless continue to play the crowd favorite — with fan bases often composing their own lyrics — despite attempts to silence the one-hit wonder of a disgraced artist.
Such is the case at the University of Maryland, which first attempted to ban “Rock and Roll Part 2” in 1998, when then-athletic director Debbie Yow ordered band director Richmond Sparks to take it out of the rotation, The Washington Post reported. Students responded by singing an a cappella version, and members of the Student Government Association requested a meeting with Yow to ask her to repeal the ban. By the Terrapins’ next home game, the band was back to playing the song.
Yow banned “Rock and Roll Part 2” again, along with the pregame tradition of tossing crumpled newspapers toward the visiting team’s bench, in 2001, after Duke star Carlos Boozer’s mother was hit in the head by a plastic bottle thrown from the Maryland student section.
The Post further notes that the song was banned a third time, in 2004, after school officials “received a slew of complaints, and loads of negative publicity” after Maryland fans chanted “F--- you, JJ” at Duke star JJ Redick during the final minute of the Blue Devils’ win in College Park in January of that year.
In the 18 years since, other schools, professional teams and leagues have discontinued the use of "Rock and Roll Part 2."
But Maryland can't seem to quit the on-again-off-again tradition.
According to Scott Allen of the Post, as Maryland prepared to welcome members of its 2002 men’s basketball national championship team back to campus for a celebration during a game against Ohio State in February, Rudy Gersten renewed his quest to convince the athletic department to reinstate the song. Gersten didn’t receive a response to his email to athletic director Damon Evans, but the Maryland graduate was thrilled to hear “Rock and Roll Part 2” played in Xfinity Center during the Terps' upset of the No. 22 Buckeyes.
The song has also been heard at Maryland baseball, football and women's soccer games. A recorded version will be played at additional basketball games, as well.
“We felt like it was the right time to bring it back,” Jordan Looby, Maryland’s senior assistant athletic director of marketing strategy and fan experience, said of the song, which contributed to the intimidating atmosphere visiting teams encountered in College Park until the school banned it, seemingly for good, in 2004, the Post reported.
“It helped energize our own team, and it made us a little more intimidating,” Gersten, who attended Maryland from 1996 to 2000, told the Post. “It made the crowd a little more difficult to play in front of.”
According to the Post, Gersten took to social media and message boards to encourage fellow Maryland fans and alumni to email Evans about bringing the song back in February. “Traditions do not grow on trees,” Gersten said. "They’re hard to start; they’re even harder to sustain. If the tradition died on its own, then that’s one thing.”
Looby said using a recording of the song, as opposed to having the marching band or pep band play it live, gives the crew responsible for in-game entertainment greater flexibility as to when the song is deployed, the Post reported. He also said the reaction to the song’s return has been almost entirely positive.
“It was a Maryland-specific tradition that meant something different here than it did at other schools,” Looby told the Post, “and we were excited to finally bring it back after having fans ask us for it for so long.”