Skip to main content
Makinzi, Del, and Myra
Makinzi Butram, Del Bryant, and Myra Loveday at a media appearance in UT’s Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio.

“There aren’t many songs with a life like ‘Rocky Top.’”

Del Bryant spoke those words to media last week while promoting the 50th anniversary of ‘Rocky Top,’ the famous song his parents wrote in 10 minutes in August 1967 while staying at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn.

Makinzi Butram, UT alumna (’17) and former Rocky Top Institute fellow, was one of six students who helped design the official 50th anniversary logo and other products.

“Participating in this process really made me appreciate design even more,” said Butram. “We worked with John Anderson at Bacon & Company to create some beautiful anniversary products.”

Rocky Top 50th Anniversary Logo
Rocky Top Institute fellows designed a 50th anniversary logo to celebrate ‘Rocky Top.’

The other UT fellows designers are Tiffany Waddell and Azlinn Alder, 2017 alumnae, and current students Amanda May, Sally Brink and Kara Rose O’Malley, all retail and consumer science majors.

In 2011, Bryant and his brother Dane partnered with UT to establish the Rocky Top Institute. The partnership allows students in the Retail and Consumer Sciences program within UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences to gain hands-on learning opportunities such as product development, brand management, and marketing to enhance the Rocky Top brand.

Proceeds from the sale of Rocky Top products are divided between the Bryant family and UT, with UT’s portion directed to the Pride of the Southland Band and the Retail and Consumer Sciences program.

Myra Loveday, associate director of the institute, said anniversary products are available at Walmart in Knoxville and surrounding areas, and will soon be available in the VolShop, at other retailers, and online.

“Additional anniversary products will be added throughout the season, and new products will be released for each home football game,” she said. “It’s an honor for our department and Rocky Top Institute fellows to collaborate with the Bryant family through these real-world retail experiential learning opportunities.”

J.J. Pershing, Del Bryant, and Faith Herd
UT alumna J.J. Pershing, co-host and producer of “Rocky Top Roundup,” Del Bryant, and Faith Herd, a senior in political science and WUTK news director and co-host of “Rocky Top Roundup.”

UT will celebrate the song with special tributes planned throughout the 2017 football season. Listen to Bryant’s interviews with the Daily Beacon, WUTK, and WUOT.

Additional coverage of the song’s anniversary is available from these sources:

Rocky Top Anniversary, Torchbearer magazine, August 17, 2017

50 Years Later: A Look at ‘Rocky Top’s’ Roots, WATE, August 14, 2017

Birthplace of ‘Rocky Top’ Song Celebrates 50th Anniversary, WATE, August 14, 2017

The 50-Year Rise of ‘Rocky Top’WBIR, August 14, 2017

50 Years of Rocky Top Fun for Songwriters’ FamilyWBIR, August 14, 2017

Rocky Top Is 50 Years OldWVLT, August 14, 2017

Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Rocky Top’, WVLT, August 14, 2017


 Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,