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Anacreon Drinks to America

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Song by various artists: "The Star Spangled Banner" (1814)

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Here’s why this song should be in your collection!

This is the 200th year of The USA National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” Francis Scott Key composed the song on September 14, 1814.

Key and John Stuart Skinner were representing the USA in a prisoner exchange aboard the H.M.S. Tonnant on September 13. They were prevented from leaving the ship because they had learned too much about plans for a British fleet to invade Baltimore Harbor. Seeing the flag still flying over Fort McHenry the next morning inspired Key to write a four-stanza poem about “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” He borrowed the melody from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a British drinking song.

The Star Spangled Banner” officially became The National Anthem in 1931. Now it is usually performed to open public events, especially sports games. The song’s most historic performances have included renditions by Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Aaron Neville, Faith Hill, and Sebastian de la Cruz; one of its most infamous performances was by Roseanne Barr.

Ironically, like Thomas Jefferson (The Declaration of Independence) and James Madison (The USA Constitution), Francis Scott Key owned slaves.

“The Star Spangled Banner” is available on numerous records in various formats. Please consider purchasing them from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

The flag that flew over Fort McHenry displayed 15 stars; Kentucky and Vermont had joined the Union. It’s the only version of the USA flag that has 15 stripes.

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