In recent years, the Carolina-Duke basketball series has attracted the most attention.
Its lyrics appear in the edition of the university's yearbook, the "Yackety Yack," although how long it existed before that is not known.
Just before home football and basketball games, the song is played by the Bell Tower near the center of campus, and is often played after major victories. From the late s onward, the "unofficial" final lyrics have been "Go to hell, Duke!
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However, "Go to hell, State! Simply known as "Tag" by many Marching Tar Heel alumni, and titled as such on some recorded albums , "I'm a Tar Heel Born" has been adapted by at least two other colleges for their use, including the University of Rhode Island and the University of Richmond.
As its title implies, it is most commonly played when a Tar Heel team enters the field of play. Traditionally, the band plays a version of the traditional orchestral warmup tune before launching into the song when the first player charges out of the tunnel.
During the warmup tune, fans stand and clap along. The effect is similar to that of a train coming down the track.
For many years at basketball games, the band played the first seven notes of the song in different keys during player introductions, modulating a half step each time before launching into the song in the normal key after the final player was announced.
The last part of the song's melody come from an old revival song, " Jesus Loves the Little Children ".