The Star-Spangled Banner

Album: Celebrate America (1814)
Play Video
  • Fort McHenry as it appears today. The staff here does a remarkable job preserving the history of the fort and its legacy in American history. Located in Baltimore, it's worth a visit - you can see where the soldiers lived, hold their weapons, and view demonstrations of how they trained. Visiting the fort, you get a sense of what the Americans were up against and an appreciation for the freedom they preserved.

Comments: 24

  • Frederic from VirginiaIt seems ironic that our two National Anthems - My Country 'Tis Of Thee and The Star-Spangled Banner - both use tunes from Britain.
  • Diana from UsaI have never been a rock fan in my life (prefer classical music) but I really LOVE the Madison Rising rendition of the Star Spangled Banner! It is very stirring and patriotic. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem and shortly after that they started singing it to a British drinking song, which is what we still use. I don't think there is anything wrong with putting your own touches on something as an artist and I'm sure Key wouldn't be disappointed with Madison Rising's version either. It is the BEST-- far superior to the messes that are commonly made as egotistical, stuck on themselves, so-called celebrities attempt to sing our national anthem! BTW, My Country 'Tis of Thee is also a British drinking song.
  • Jennifer from Bellingham, Wa"I want to second the "America the Beautiful" proposal. It is about the beauty of the land, the US's best asset. The current anthem is about war. A country is not great because a group of soldiers in a fort can survive a bombardment or forget to take the flag down"...WHAT??? I really can't believe the ignorance in this comment. The song was about the notion that DESPITE the fact that there was gunfire, bombs and war, the American Flag STILL continued to wave proudly, displaying all of its stars and stripes. Our flag...a proud symbol of what our country represents. Each star, each stripe and each color have a meaning: Beyond that, what does our flag represent for YOU? Freedom? Pride? American Patriotism? History? America the Beautiful, you say? I think not. I would MUCH rather sound like a screaming cat singing the words of Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner, than sing a bland America the Beautiful song that has only one meaning...the topographical beauty of the US.
  • Wojciech from Zgierz, PolandI heard the Anthem at HI Tibbets Point Lighthouse Hostel, Cap Vincent, NY
    finding there are still places in US which are truly "land of the free"
  • Patrick from Bremen, GaOften times in Atlanta, Georgia the last line is slightly changed to "home of the Braves" in relation to the baseball team of the same name.
  • Terry from Whittier, CaI have lost most of the use of My little finger, so I pick up the guitar and play here and there for about 30 years. So i laid it down for about 8 years. So I picked it upagain and the first song I wanted to lear was the Star Spangled Banner. I do not know about You Guys but it gives Me hope that We will change back to the great Nation We where once. And other Nations will follow by unexample. Love this nation but have no President yet, till We get back on track and start helping Ourself's first. With Love and Respect
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaJimi's rendition of this at Woodstock is the best illustration I know of that shows what a guitar viruoso he was. He could make a guitar do anything, and without any apparent effort. I can't imagine the amount of time he must've spent perfecting his skills. Nobody will ever live who can match his raw talent & skill. Stevie Ray Vaughan came closest.
  • Madalyn from Madison, MsI love this song! It is very sweet! Well i dont know bout yall but this is my favorite song
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhAll the same, you have to admit that the song has done a lot to hone the skills of musicians who have to somehow arrange, play, and sing it.

    And that is why I like it: like the USA, the Star Spangled Banner was sort of patched together.

    Many nations have far more organized histories: they were absolute monarchies, or ancestral tribal homelands. And many have beautiful, stirring national anthems, written by native composers and based on traditional folk tunes.

    We in the USA don't have either one, and I think that symbolizes how dissimilar our nation is from others. I like it here.

    M Kinsler
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkThe words to the Star Spangled Banner ar stirring, still. They tell about the underdog, fledgling country standing against the tyranical, most-powerful, nation in the world . . . at that time. Anybody ever notice that all the lyrics are questions? It's about fighting the good fight for which the US flag should signify. Thank God for Jimmi Hendrix and his rendition.
  • Euan from Lanark, ScotlandI submited this fact but it will never get Put on, this song when played by Jimi was intended as an anti-war song, he simulated Bombs dropping, Mechine Guns Firening and Women screaming with the guitar. When i read this i went strait to the song, when i heard it i had Hairs stand on the back of my Neck, its an amaizing song....even for scottish :)
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScYeah the Jomi Hendricks version is crazy. It's briliant though, and I like how he changed it up a bit.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIf I remember correctly, she didn't refuse to sing it, she refused to have it played before her concert.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe band Boston has also recorded a version of "The Star Spangled Banner"; it appears on their Greatest Hits CD.
  • Flo from Toulouse, FranceI love Marvin Gaye's version. Great, mon!
  • Daniel from Queensbury, NyThis is America. Clinton cheated on his wife, Bush is a recovering addict, and I put a cat in the dryer when I was a kid. Go ahead, judge others artistry, the way they sing, the style of music they play. The point is the first time I heard Hendrix's version at woodstock I was annoyed that it seemed to stray so far from the usual. Then, I realized that is what freedom means to me and hopefully to you, that is, to sing, to listen to, and to try really hard sometimes to understand, as many different versions presented of the soul voice of the American pride in one song presented, poached, and even scrambled on occasion, our vent, our song, The Star Spangled Banner. By the way, I never turned it on. P.S.-If we do not defend our freedoms we then are attempting to separate, and we know what that leads to. I vote we stick with the Star Spangled Banner.
    -Daniel Searles, NY
  • Gilbert from La Mesa, CaI, too, am no great fan of the Star-Spangled Banner. However, due to the great divisions in our country today, it would take two anthems to replace it: Atheists would want "America the Beautiful," while normal people would want "God Bless America."
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaI want to second the "America the Beautiful" proposal. It is about the beauty of the land, the US's best asset. The current anthem is about war. A country is not great because a group of soldiers in a fort can survive a bombardment or forget to take the flag down.
  • Ydur from Knoxville, TnBruce Springsteen also occasionally plays this at concerts as a 12 string acoustic guitar solo.
  • Martijn from Helmond, NetherlandsPerhaps I shouldn't comment on other people's nationale anthems, but I've always been annoyed by the lyrics of this song. They don't even fit the meter of the music. Goes to show that American Congressmen don't have much taste in music I suppose.
  • Boris from Gent, BelgiumThe music of this song is from an English song called "to Anacreon in heaven" ( not "to Anna Creon in heaven" as said above). This song was a drinking song used by a group of Londoners who called themselves the sons of Anacreon. They were devotees of the Ancient greek poet Anacreon.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI believe the version by Whitney Houston was just Bland, Bland, Blaaaaaaaaaaaand! Whoever said that vocal gymnastics was necessary for the USA National Anthem? There was a controversial event in New Jersey when Irish Singer Sinead O'Connor refused to sing this song before a concert, I believe she did the right thing. She's Irish, for Pete's Sakes! If only they'd play an Irish song for her to sing, rather than the Star-Spangled Banner!
  • Brendan from Colts Neck, NjThe Hendrix's Woodstock version is the craziest thing I have ever heard. Period. Except for maybe the HTWWW version of Dazed and Confused. But its sick.
  • Erik from Davis, CaI think that the anthem should be changed to "America the Beautiful" since the song has less kitchy lyrics and is way easier to sing.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

The Police

The PoliceFact or Fiction

Do their first three albums have French titles? Is "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" really meaningless? See if you can tell in this Fact or Fiction.

Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)

Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)Songwriter Interviews

Chad tells tales from his time as drummer for Nirvana, and talks about his group Before Cars.

Don Dokken

Don DokkenSongwriter Interviews

Dokken frontman Don Dokken explains what broke up the band at the height of their success in the late '80s, and talks about the botched surgery that paralyzed his right arm.

Linda Perry

Linda PerrySongwriter Interviews

Songwriting Hall of Famer Linda Perry talks about her songs "What's Up" and "Beautiful," her songwriting process, and her move into film music.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.