The Star-Spangled Bannernational anthem of the United States.
The lyrics were written in 1814 by a 35-year-old poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Key had boarded the British warship HMS Minden to secure the release of a friend, who had been accused of harboring British deserters. The British commanders agreed to release both men, but for security reasons, they were held overnight while the British fleet attacked the fort.
The next day, Key wrote a poem, "The Defense of Fort McHenry." The poem was later set to the tune of a popular English drinking song ("To Anacreon in Heaven"), dating from around 1800, written by John Stafford Smith. The same tune was at one time the national anthem of Luxembourg.
The most famous instrumental interpretation is Jimi Hendrix's guitar solo at the first Woodstock Festival. Although it was condemned by some conservatives as a desecration to the song, it has since become a celebrated emblematic signature of the ideals of the late 1960s.
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2 Extra verses
3 See also
Because it is the most explicitly anti-British verse, the third is virtually never sung.