After being delighted that the United States had escaped British assault, Francis Scott Key penned the "Star-Spangled Banner" as a joyful poem. Since then, it has grown into the United States' national anthem, and it is played at official ceremonies, schools, and athletic events. It is also often sung by individual Americans when they feel like it can be quite a powerful moment.
Key wrote the song in 1814 to celebrate the fact that Britain had declared war on France, not America. He hoped it would serve as an inspiration to his countrymen during their fight against the British. However, it wasn't long before the song became popular with Americans of all races who felt proud to be an part of the new nation. Today, it is estimated that the song is sung in concert halls, sports arenas, and church basements across the United States every day.
The Star-Spangled Banner has been translated into many languages, including French, German, Chinese, Arabic, and Indonesian.
It is the ninth-most-popular song in American history, with sales over one billion copies worldwide. It has been cited by various scholars as an important influence on later patriotic songs such as "O, My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee (reprise)".
Francis Scott Key writes a poem on September 14, 1814 that is eventually adapted to music and becomes America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," in 1931. The poem, originally titled "The Defense of Fort M'Henry," was written after Key watched the British bombardment of the Maryland fort during the War of 1812. In it, he described the scene as being like "a glow-worm's lamp" and imagined what it would be like if the American flag were still there.
Key had only intended the poem as an expression of sympathy for the Americans who had died during the war but it became very popular after its publication in a Baltimore newspaper. It is now considered by many to be one of the best poems about freedom and patriotism in English language.
After the war, Key lived in Baltimore where he worked as a lawyer. He may have been inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" by another famous poem about freedom called "Ode to Freedom" by John Milton. This poem has also been used as inspiration for other songs such as "Eternal Father" by Bob Dylan or "Blow Up The Outside World" by New York Dolls.
What is so special about this song? It has been praised for its beauty by people from various cultures and times. For example, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called it "the perfect song" and Mahatma Gandhi said it made him cry tears of joy.
Based on its use before sporting events, an old joke goes that the second stanza of the "Star Spangled Banner" is the chief umpire's call: "Play Ball!" The real flag depicted in the poem has survived, and it is rather huge even now.
Francis Scott Key writes a poem that is eventually put to music and becomes America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," on this day in 1814. The poem, originally titled "The Defence of Fort McHenry," was written after Key watched the British bombardment of the Maryland fort during the War of 1812.
The Battle of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to create "The Star-Spangled Banner" on September 14, 1814. Mark Clague of the University of Michigan debunks some widespread fallacies concerning our national anthem. The mission of Key was a success. His poem soon after the battle became popular throughout the country.
Key had no intention of writing a national anthem. But when he saw the excitement over his poem, he decided to turn it into reality. He approached several prominent citizens of Baltimore seeking their help in choosing new lyrics for the poem. One of them was William W. Stone, an attorney who lived near the site of the battle. Stone helped Key revise the poem and send it to Washington. In return, Key was given federal territory in eastern Maryland as a form of compensation for his work.
The song that we know today as "The Star-Spangled Banner" wasn't officially adopted as our national anthem until July 4, 1931. It was first sung at a baseball game between the Chicago White Stockings and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys with President Herbert Hoover in attendance.
The original music for "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written by Joseph Philbrick Hayne. In 1815, he also wrote the music for "To Anacreon in Heaven", which is used today as the opening ceremony of the National Football League season.
Key was a lawyer living in Baltimore when he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner." He had no idea that it would become America's official national anthem. The song is about the British attacking and defeating the American army at Fort McHenry near Baltimore. When Key submitted his poem to a newspaper for publication, it was rejected as being too short. So he lengthened it by adding words that would appeal to more readers.
He borrowed some lines from an old French song that was popular at the time. These lines were not about the British invading America, but rather about two lovers separated by war. They tell how much they long for their loved one to return home. Key changed the lyrics to fit America's fight with Britain!
After the war ended, Congress appointed a committee to choose a national anthem. They chose "God Save the United States and Canada" because they thought this would be easy to remember. But almost immediately, complaints began coming in from soldiers who said they could not do so because they were too busy fighting the enemy. So the committee decided to allow people to submit songs for approval.
The tale of how and why Francis Scott Key penned the poem that became our national anthem is well-known in American folklore. What is less well known is that the route from poetry to anthem was lengthy (more than a century) and contentious.
Key had only modest success with his early attempts at publication. His first poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", wasn't published until after his death in 1843.
It was written for a patriotic occasion. After the war with Britain ended in 1783, America was still under British rule and its citizens were not granted full citizenship rights. The United States Army had invited foreign artists to submit designs for an official national flag. Key submitted his poem on April 20th, 1814. It was selected by Congress as the winner of the contest and given general approval.
However, when it came time to adopt an official national anthem, members of Congress disagreed over whether to use Key's poem or have their own song chosen. Some representatives felt that Key's poem lacked the necessary military spirit needed by an official anthem while others disliked the writing itself - it was too sentimental for some listeners. In the end, no action was taken on Capitol Hill and the matter was dropped.
Nearly twenty years would pass before another attempt was made to choose an official national anthem.