Star-Spangled Banner Origins

The first lines of the Star-Spangled Banner poem were penned by Francis Scott Key, a thirty-five year old lawyer/poet, on September 14, 1814, after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, in the war of 1812.

Key’s poem/song became a big hit almost immediately. Within a week of the battle, it was printed under the title of “Defense of Fort McHenry” in newspapers all over the U.S.  A music printer soon took the liberty of changing the title to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The song remained popular throughout the 1800’s and was often played at military ceremonies. In 1931, Congress passed a bill adopting it as our National Anthem and President Herbert Hoover signed it into law.

Interestingly, Francis Scott Key put the words to a familiar drinking song at the time, “The Anacreontic Song“, also known by its incipit “To Anacreon in Heaven“. The lyrics are credited to “British” lyricist, Ralph Tomlinson (1744-1778), and the tune is commonly attributed to “British” composer John Stafford Smith (1750-1836). The song, also known as “The Drinking Song”, was written  sometime between 1773 and 1776 and was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians in London. Anacreon’s songs often celebrated women, wine, and entertaining.

Author: Gramps

The angry old white man that the liberal left is so afraid of!

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