Album: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1967)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Collegiana" tells the story (from first person perspective) of a college student who gets swept up in a dance craze. The dance is called "the Collegiana" and is discussed like a virus that swept from school to school. The character at the center of the song has become so enamored with the dance and with the party culture around it that he's failing out of school, but that doesn't bother him at all. The song is upbeat, funny, and fun.
  • Written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, "Collegiana" was a big band favorite in 1928, when several versions appeared on 78 RPM records. Waring's Pennsylvanians and Hal Kemp and His Orchestra were among those to release it.

    The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who were known to mine the archives, revived the song by releasing a modern version in old-timey style on their third album, Rare Junk. Dirt Band founder John McEuen said it was one of his favorite songs they ever did and that he thought it was bound for huge success, but the song (like the rest of the album) got little attention.

    Speaking with Songfacts, McEuen said he thought its lack of success could be attributed to it having "too many words."
  • The song's lyricist, Dorothy Fields, was quite an accomplished songwriter, with a number of classic songs from the 1930s and 1940s to her credit, including "The Way You Look Tonight." Jimmy McHugh, who wrote the music, also composed "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and "On the Sunny Side Of The Street."

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