USC Band Pays Tribute to Jerry Buss

by City News Service
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(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Trojan Marching Band presented a tribute to late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss during the halftime of Saturday’s USC football game against Boston College at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The tribute consisted of the band performing the “greatest hits” of the Laker Band, according to Trojan Marching Band Director Arthur C. Bartner.

The halftime show began with “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from the 1976 best picture Oscar winning film, “Rocky,” the Laker Band’s traditional pregame song.

It was followed by Louis Prima’s “Just a Gigolo,” Buss’ favorite, which is now played at the end of every Laker home game.

The Laker Girls danced to the Trojan Marching Band’s trademark anthem “Tusk,” and the band spelled out Buss on the field, a distinction that has only been given to a select few Trojans.

After honoring members of the Buss family on the field, “I Love LA,” the Randy Newman song played following Laker victories at Staples Center, closed the show.

Buss received a doctorate in physical chemistry from USC in 1957. He gave millions of dollars to the university to endow faculty positions, support the athletic department’s scholarship fund and was one of the biggest supporters of the band, dating back to the 1970s.

When Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he asked the Trojan Marching Band’s best musicians to become the Laker Band.

Buss died Feb. 18 at age 80 from kidney failure after a long battle with cancer.

“Dr. Buss was a longtime friend of the band,” Bartner, who knew Buss more than 35 years, said prior to the halftime performance. “It is a great honor to pay tribute to him at halftime and a privilege to play his favorite Laker Band songs.”

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