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Who Made The Star Spangled Banner The National Anthem?

and who let Christina Aguilera sing it at the Super Bowl?

There are so many pressing issues that annoy me first thing in the morning, sitting in the early morning darkness without chai. However, I realize the most pressing of the day is the national anthem debacle from the Super Bowl last night. Hey! I have no life.

The Star Spangled Banner tells a stirring story of the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British during the war of 1812. First, I would be willing to bet that 90% of citizens out there couldn’t tell me what the War of 1812 was even about if denied any kind of search engine. Second, Francis Scott Key, the author of the poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry” had his words set to an impossible tune. Key’s brother-in-law borrowed an English drinking song for the melody. Ironic since the song is about us fighting the British. The tune is called “To Anacreon in Heaven” and while it was a popular tune of its time, on this side of the pond as well as the UK, it is notoriously difficult to sing. I suppose when you look at it like the drinking song it was, it really doesn’t matter if you can hit the high notes because, well, you’re drunk and who cares anyway? Anyone who is listening to you is also drunk. Being drunk is the optimum way to sing and listen to this song.

Who do we have to thank for this train wreck being our National Anthem? President Herbert Hoover. Ah yes, Hooverville! It all makes sense now. An unpopular President, along with an unpopular Congress, makes an unpopular song choice. No wonder the Depression sucked. Also did you know the original version of this song is twice as long? Yeah.

I say we dump this song for the prettier, more encompassing, “America The Beautiful”. It’s shorter, and easier to sing. It has four verses though we usually only sing the first and the last. I say we change it. If all the reasons I’ve given aren’t enough, how about it would help avoid train wrecks like Christina Aguilera and the Super Bowl last night? Did you know this isn’t the first time she’s screwed up this song? She’s done it before where she switched two phrases and plum made up one line. Not only that, her “singing” could only be described in the literal interpretation of the act. I think dogs all over the State of Texas were howling during that screechy rendition.

It brought to mind the infamous San Diego Padres Game with Roseanne Barr when the comic, who has never professed to be a singer, caterwalled the song to the discomfort of all. If that wasn’t enough, she tried to lighten it up by grabbing her crotch and spitting like a ball player which only incited rage among fans. Hey! This is what happens when you ask a stand up comic to sing.

How about this idea? We (a) change the song and (b) stop asking pathetic pop stars/celebrities to sing at these events. How about you pick a “real person”. I’m sure there is a fan, a kid from the local high school, someone out there who could do a fantastic job without screwing up the words, hitting bad notes or giving a scenery-chewing rendition with notes so drawn out I think I’m listening to a filibuster. Can we do that? Thank you.

For you people who have forgotten what “America The Beautiful” sounds like, here is the first stanza.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!