Here Come the Irish: Song embodies spirit of Notre Dame

Here Come the Irish: Song embodies spirit of Notre Dame

Every time Notre Dame's players run out onto the field for a game, the intro to Here Come the Irish is played. The Notre Dame women's basketball team uses that same music for player introductions. It's an emotional song that has become synonymous with the Fighting Irish.

"It's called gut instinct. I've been doing this a long time Allison. Over 50 years, so I've done this a few times," Jim Tullio said.

Tullio is a 2 time Grammy winning music producer.

Tullio got his start writing jingles on major advertising campaigns in the 80s for Ford, Hershey, Coca Cola, HBO and McDonald's.

He also produced for stars like Aretha Franklin and Greg Allman.

He discovered Los Lonely Boys playing in a Texas saloon.

His studio has also produced one of the most iconic songs in Notre Dame history.

Tullio hand-picked Cathy Richardson of Jefferson Starship for the vocals.

"That's what I do as a producer 'This just sounds like a Cathy Richardson song. She'd be perfect for this.' And she was. She nailed it," Tullio said.

To truly capture the essence of Notre Dame they needed someone with a real connection to the university.

"I think John's choice in life would have been a musician, if he wasn't so good at playing football," Tullio said.

John Scully played center for the Irish from 1977 to 1980.

He was a captain and an All American for the Irish but as good as he was on the gridiron, he felt he was at his best behind the piano.

"When you're a football player who knows how to play piano, there's something unusual about it," Scully said.

Scully went played 9 years for the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL but he always had a calling for music.

"Football was more of an alter ego sort of thing. Music is more who I am," Scully said.

Scully retired in the Joliet, Illinois area and eventually reached out to Tullio in Chicago.

"From that point, gradually at first and eventually in a flood, we did a very large body of work we put together over the years. One of those projects in '97 ended up being Here Come the Irish," Scully said.

Scully wrote the lyrics.

"He's an incredibly sensitive musician and he's got great skill. And he's got great musicality, which is rare. Especially being a pro football player. Who would've thunk? [sic] I mean John can write the most beautiful melodies that you can imagine, as he's like knocking down the guy in front of him. He's thinking of these beautiful melodies," Tullio said.

Tullio composed the music.

"I got on the piano, he was on the guitar, 'How about this? How about that?' And eventually it came together, actually very quick," Scully said.

Richardson brought the song to life

"I mean, it sort of has taken a life of its own. And when I hear that song, I have the same feelings that you do. When I hear that song, it evokes the same feelings that you have. But it evokes that feeling of sportsmanship and unity and that whole thing," Tullio said.

"It's knowing what it does to people. Because it's the community that's invested that sort of deep meaning into the music and into the lyrics and what the emotional impact of the two combined brings about," Scully said.

The song evokes the spirit of Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish.

Share this article: