Al Hoffman (1902-1960)

Bear Down, Chicago Bears

In January 1986, as the Chicago Bears football team approached an NFL championship, “Bears Fever” invaded Orchestra Hall. At the conclusion of a Tchaikovsky-Liszt concert on 23 January, members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus – wearing Bears sweatshirts – streamed onstage, and Solti led the Orchestra, Chorus – and audience – in a rousing rendition of the Bears’ fight song, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.” The “encore” was repeated at two succeeding performances, and Decca/London Records recorded the work in session on Monday, 27 January – the day after the Bears defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. The music was composed in 1941 by Al Hoffman under the pseudonym Jerry Downs. Hoffman was a songwriter active in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, perhaps best known for his hit “Mairzy Doats” (“and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey”), and was co-composer of the once-popular “Papa Loves Mambo” and “If I Knew You Were Comin’, I’d’ve Baked a Cake.”

Al Hoffman. Bear Down, Chicago Bears. Perf. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus (and audience). Recorded at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 23 January 1986 (Chicago Symphony Orchestra CSO CD98-2). Record Collection CD 30094

back to top