DJ Sue

DJ Sue
Welcome to my blog. I’m a DJ in Second Life and I find myself discussing the music I’m playing with many of those in attendance at my shows. Unfortunately, when I am busy DJing, I can’t participate and discuss the music as fully as I would like. I’m hoping this blog can help change that. Look here before my set to see if I might be playing something interesting today or maybe after to see if discussion on a topic might continue. You are invited to join in the conversation and leave comments.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Star Spangled Banner

The story of our (United States) National Anthem is well known, but bears repeating and reflecting upon on this, the 235 anniversary of our independence.  As every school child is taught, it was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, but what is often overlooked is that this was only the lyrics.

Key was on a mission to secure the release of prisoners held by the British.  During negotiations, Key and his contingency became knowledgeable of portions of the battle plan for the attack on Baltimore. Because of this, they were held by the British on board ship.  This gave them a good view of the battle and Ft. McHenry, where the flashes from the rockets and bombs lit up the night sky and showed that the fort’s flag still flew above.  This was proof to them that it had not fallen into British hands.  In the morning, the flag (shown above) still flew over Ft. McHenry and inspired Key to write the poem that would later become our National Anthem.

Soon after, the poem was put to the music of To Anacreon in Heaven, which was the official song of a London Gentlemen’s club and is often referred to as a drinking song.  Soon it was being played at July 4th celebrations and other national occasions.  However, it didn’t become our National Anthem until 1931, over a hundred years after the poem was written.

Though it had been played at sporting events before, it wasn’t until World War II that it became customary to play it before every baseball game, and soon every sporting event.  Through the years, many famous, and not so famous, performers have recorded renditions of the Star Spangled Banner.  I plan on sharing three of the many recorded versions tonight during my Independence Day set.

The Star Spangled Banner

Opening the set: Boston (1997)
During the Set: Jimi Hendrix (Recorded live at Woodstock, 1969)
Ending the Set: Kiss (1993)

There are four stanzas or verses to the piece.  There have been variations, and even a fifth unofficial Civil War verse, through the years.  The four official verses I give you below. Normally only the first verse is sung but occasionally on formal occasions the fourth is added.

O! 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, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in 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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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