Star-Spangled Banner - The Original Song

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The words of Francis Scott Key's poem (The Star-Spangled Banner) were set to the music of a popular English tune known as “To Anacreon in Heaven.” 

Key also used this music (which was similarly popular in America) for a song he wrote in 1805:  "When the Warrior Returns from the Battle Afar." 

The song originated in England and celebrated Anacreon, an ancient Greek poet who praised wine and love. 

Ralph Tomlinson penned the song's lyrics, and John Stafford Smith wrote the music - in 1775.  It was originally used as the "constitutional song" of a gentlemen's music club in London called the Anacreontic Society:

To Anacreon in Heaven, where he sat in full glee,
A few sons of harmony sent a petition,
That he their inspirer and patron would be;
When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
Voice, fiddle, and flute, no longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot
And besides I'll instruct you like me to intwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Media Credits

Audio clip online, courtesy the Smithsonian Institute.


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"Star-Spangled Banner - The Original Song" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 22, 2019.
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