Today is National Anthem Day, a day when we salute our flag as well as its famous song, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Many of us have known the song since our early years – but how many of us know about the history of the tune, the past of who wrote the song, and what it signifies? In the spirit of the holiday, here are a few things we bet you didn’t know about the United States of America’s signature song.
The song was originally entitled something different.
When Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner on September 14, 1814, he did not lend the tune a name. When the song was printed on broadsides and in Baltimore newspapers, it was given the title of “Defense of Fort M’Henry,” after the Battle of Fort McHenry in Maryland. It wasn’t until two months later when a Baltimore music store printed the song under the title “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
It took many years and several attempts to make the song our national anthem.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” quickly became a popular wartime song after it was written. Even so, it didn’t earn the title of our national anthem until the 1930s. Despite President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order stating that the song would become “the national anthem of the United States” in 1916, it took 40 more attempts to pass the resolution until it finally did on March 3, 1931.
Key was known to possess very little musical abilities.
Though we revere him for writing our national anthem, it’s been said that Francis Scott Key was far from a musician – and might have even been tone-deaf. Many of the attorney’s amateur poems failed to become popular. According to his family members, Key had difficulty even carrying a tune. In other words, the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was little more than a one-hit wonder!
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