The National Anthem of the United States is called “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It reached this status in 1931, although Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics in 1814.
The melody of the National Anthem was written by John Stafford Smith in 1773. It was a popular song at the time, considered the official tune of the Anacreontic Society of amateur musicians in London at the time.
When Key finished his poem, his brother-in-law recognized that the words fit perfectly into Smith’s tune.
Two Newspapers Published the Lyrics on September 20, 1814
It didn’t take long for the American public to recognize the patriotism in the lyrics that Key wrote. Since the words worked well for a melody that most people recognized, two newspapers realized that they could boost their publishing numbers by printing the composition.
On September 20, 1814, The American and the Baltimore Patriot ran the song called “Anaceron in Heaven.” Another 17 newspapers would run the same information in the coming days, going as far as New Hampshire with the lyrics.
It would be the Carr Music Store, founded by Thomas Carr, who would publish the music and words together under the title “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The song was also referred to as the “Defense of Fort McHenry.” Carr made one minor change by raising the fourth in the tune to create the music we know today.
Multiple Variations Were Playing in the Early 20th Century
President Woodrow Wilson gave the Bureau of Education the task of finding an official version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to serve as the country’s national anthem. With hundreds of different remixes getting played across the country, the goal was to standardize the song into one version that everyone would love.
What many people don’t realize is that the National Anthem has four verses to it. When people sing the song in public, only the first verse gets sung.