Star Spangled Banner

Information About Star Spangled Banner

The "Star Spangled Banner" is the US national anthem. The lyrics for this song stem from a poem by Francis Scott Key in 1814 called "Defense of Fort McHenry" and written after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland. The area was under attack by the British Royal Navy ships in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812.

The poem was set to the tune of a well known British drinking song "The Anacreontic Song" and renamed "Star Spangled Banner". This patriotic song was in the year 1889 officially recognized for use by the Navy and thereafter by the President in 1916, and ultimately it was made the US's national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.

John Stafford Smith, to whom the tune was attributed, was an important English music historian, as well as a singer, organist and composer. Smith's melody was originally sung at each fortnightly meeting of London's Anacreontic Society, a club of wealthy amateur musicians founded in 1766.

For further information about the song "Star Spangled Banner" you may find Wikipedia helpful.

Francis Scott Key's words commemorate precise details of a specific event during the War of 1812. The actual star-spangled banner was 30' by 42' - the largest battle flag ever flown. It had been commissioned by Major George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor, who wanted a flag large enough to be seen by the British at a distance. Flag-maker Mary Young Pickersgill, assisted by her 13-year-old daughter Caroline, assembled the flag with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, laying out yards of woolen bunting at night by candlelight on the spacious floor of a brewery.

British forces had burned Washington in August of 1814, and captured a beloved elderly physician named William Beanes. Francis Scott Key, a successful Washington lawyer, had permission from President James Madison to try to negotiate Beanes' release. Negotiations took place over dinner - while the British officers also planned their attack on Baltimore. Beanes was freed, but he and Key were not permitted to return to Baltimore until after the battle whose plans they had overheard. They spent the night on their own sloop under a flag of truce, listening and watching for signs of the battle's outcome.

The British fired 1500 bombshells at Fort McHenry, including specialized Congreve rockets that left red tails of flame ("the rockets' red glare") and bombs with burning fuses that were supposed to explode when they reached their target but often blew up in midair instead ("the bombs bursting in air").

Watching from eight miles downstream, Key was able to see the huge battle flag hoisted at dawn to replace the storm flag that had flown through the rainy night. An amateur poet and hymn-writer (his hymns include Before the Lord We Bow and Lord With Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee), he began a commemorative poem, which he called The Defence of Fort M'Henry, on the back of an old letter.

Finishing the four stanzas of the poem in a Baltimore hotel, he gave it to his brother-in-law to take to a printer who produced handbills of it. Two Baltimore newspapers, the Patriot and the American, published The Defence of Fort M'Henry anonymously on September 20, noting that the words fit the tune To Anacreon in Heaven. Soon it appeared in other newspapers around the country, with its new title, The Star-Spangled Banner . Ferdinand Durang, a Baltimore actor, sang the song publicly at Captain McCauley's tavern that October. Carr's Music Store of Baltimore was able to offer The Star-Spangled Banner in their 1814 catalog.

Through the 19th century The Star-Spangled Banner remained one of several popular patriotic songs. In 1916, by executive order, President Woodrow Wilson ordered it played at military events. Its baseball debut was in 1918: league officials had considered cancelling the World Series due to the War, until they learned that American soldiers in France were looking forward to knowing the results of the Series. At the seventh-inning stretch of the first game, the band suddenly started playing The Star-Spangled Banner as a patriotic gesture. Players and spectators stood, took off their hats, and sang. The song was repeated at subsequent games.

While The Star-Spangled Banner had been acknowledged as America's unofficial national anthem since at least 1914, it was not until 1931 that an Act of Congress, signed by President Herbert Hoover, made it official. The law does not include the words of the anthem - and several different versions date back to Key himself - so there is no definitive set of words. During World War II, the tradition of singing or playing the anthem spread to other sports events.

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

This is a longer version for the Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
n full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
>From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust".
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
THE STAR SPANGELED BANNER.

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
n full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
>From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust".
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
THE STAR SPANGELED BANNER.

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
n full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
>From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust".
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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32 Comments

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Becky, United States

25 February 2013 at 6:11pm

Thank you for sharing the tunes to the awe inspiring Star Spangled Banner. We need never forget the long, hard struggle fought for our freedoms and the image of hope in the midst of war that our flag represents.

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Ally, Bosnia And Herzegovina

14 February 2013 at 9:06pm

i love this song it is one of my favorits.

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Brytta, United States

13 February 2013 at 3:39am

Even though it is a difficult song, it still is very nice when played on the organ.

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Johny Fiztjarled, United States

9 February 2013 at 1:51am

I really hate so so so much

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Jason, United States

9 February 2013 at 1:48am

The song really touched my heart

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Molly, United States

13 January 2013 at 2:56pm

Last year at school the talent show was coming up so I sang this song. But sadly, I didn't get to be in it.

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Jackie, United States

18 August 2012 at 7:39pm

I sing it all the time!

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Desmond, Indonesia

26 April 2012 at 3:55am

I like this song because this song was very patriotic and give me a brave

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Ly, Viet Nam

20 April 2012 at 12:16am

love it :)

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Ariana, United States

23 March 2012 at 5:25pm

i hate this song

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Kalista, United States

9 March 2012 at 11:14pm

i love it!

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Random Person In Kuwait, Yemen

13 February 2012 at 11:19pm

hi.

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Makayla, United States

8 February 2012 at 3:08am

I love this song!

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Alex, United States

9 November 2011 at 7:51pm

every one need to know this

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Lala, Bosnia And Herzegovina

26 October 2011 at 11:59pm

everyone needs 2 remeber this dadada ! song! now

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Kayla, Egypt

3 October 2011 at 1:52am

this is a great song for kids

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Laela, United States

29 July 2011 at 7:35pm

you r suppost to rember ths song every time u see a american flag and think about all the people that sacerfice because it is very sad of wht happend in japan because of the sunmi in japan and huricans and tornados it is very sad mostly very day people die so all ways remeber this song and remind people of this plz and ty!

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Gia, Greece

20 June 2011 at 11:58pm

i don't live in america but i like this song!

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Sandy Cheecks, United States

5 January 2011 at 11:35pm

Hey yall. i luv this song here. dont tease 'bout my accent. i love you guys! keep watchin spongebob!

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Chloe, United States

28 October 2010 at 3:54am

I LOVE AMERICA IT IS AWESOME i am proud of AMERICA for standing up for its rights

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.