The Carillon Tower has been an icon on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus since 1936, in part courtesy of state architect Arthur Peabody. Initially, he was tasked with building a new dome on top of Bascom Hall after a fire destroyed the original dome in 1916. The proposal for the new dome included a set of carillon bells inside of it. After the Bascom Hall dome-rebuilding plan failed, however, Peabody decided to build the melodious Carillon Tower instead.
The generous support of alumni donors made possible the construction of the Carillon Tower, so it’s fitting that we reach out to alumni to give an update on the Carillon Tower concert series now that longtime carilloneur Lyle Anderson ’68, MMusic’77 has retired. At the moment, all concerts have been postponed, so we decided to replace the bellowing bells on Bascom with a custom Spotify playlist.
Lyle Anderson has always believed that the key to playing at the carillon is “selecting the right mix of music.” For this reason, we’re asking alumni to submit their favorite songs from their time at the UW to be added to the playlist. No longer will UW students hear the sweet music booming from the 56 bells in the carillon; instead, they will now be able to rock out to a tower playlist that showcases the diverse musical tastes of many generations of Badgers.
Just imagine getting out of your final exam and hearing “Work” by Rihanna — or even better, “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. For some, it could be “Oops! … I Did It Again” by Britney Spears.
How awe-inspiring would it be — after making the trek up Bascom Hill on a cold winter day — to hear “King of the Hill” by Johnny Cash? Or, for those who have reneged on their New Year’s resolution to start working out at the SERF, “I’m So Tired” by the Beatles?
One thing is certain: once the playlist goes live, Badgers will be dancing and partying all over the Muir Woods like it’s 1999. Who knows? Maybe groovy tunes like “Stand Up” by Ludacris, or “One Dance” by Drake will make ol’ Abe finally stand up to join the fun.
Carillon Tower Spotify Playlist
- “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations
- “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
- “I’m So Tired” by The Beatles
- “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline
- “Work” by Rihanna
- “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
- “Rock Me Baby” by B. B. King
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
- “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
- “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice
- “Oops! ... I Did It Again” by Britney Spears
- “Jump Around” by House of Pain
- “If You Want to Be a Badger”
- “1999” by Prince
- “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks
- “Smooth” by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas
- “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard
- “One Dance” by Drake
- “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
- “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
- “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory
- “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
- “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars
- “On, Wisconsin!”
Submit your favorite song for the Carillon Tower playlist at