The Star Spangled Banner

… that’s odd…

Anyway, My question is “Why doesn’t anybody sing all four verses of the Star Spangled Banner anywhere?”

This coming from a guy called Apathyman?

[Grinny here]

My guess is that singing all four verses is veeeerrryyy long and we Americans want to watch out baseball game. Plus, IMO, the tune isn’t that great in the first place.

Oh thus be it ever
Where free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war’s desolation
Blessed with victory and peace
May this heaven rescued land
??? conquered our foes
and something something mumble
And conquer we must
When our cause it is just
If peace 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

That was off the top of my head, honest.

To answer your question, it’s hard enough to sing it once. And besides, the baseball fans would never stand for it.
(stand for it. I made a funny.)

Years ago, I read a good article by Isaac Asimov on “The Star Spangled Banner” in Reader’s Digest. He started off by saying that at some meeting he sang all four verses, then explained them.

But to answer your question, probably because it’s too damn long.

Ahhhh, Isaac. I miss that guy. sad

Welcome to the SDMB, ApathyMan. But alas, how can one answer your question? It’s hard to give a specific reason why something isn’t done. The Star-Spangled Banner isn’t often performed for its musical qualities; after all, it’s just an old English drinking song. It’s performed simply because it’s the National Anthem. And for that, one verse is sufficient.

As a hijack, here are three songs for which the first verse (or more precisely, the introductory bars) are almost never sung: God Bless America, White Christmas, and Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Well, it’s a horribly difficult tune, with an unusually large vocal range. It’s difficult for most people to sign one verse well. I suppose that’s why we never hear all four.

By the bye, did anyone out there know that the tune is borrowed form an eighteenth-century English drinking song?

NOTE: The Sons of Harmony were a drinking club. Anacreon was an ancient Greek poet who often sang the praises of wine.

To Anacreon in Heaven, where he sat in full glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a petition
That he their inspirer and patron would be
When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
“Voice, trumpet, and lute, no longer be mute;
I’ll lend you my name, and inspire you to boot.
And besides, I shall teach you, like me, to entwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine.”

In other words, let’s get tipsy and kiss the barmaids! Such a naughty song! Knocked 'em dead in the 1700s. . . .

It’s the same as the Australian national anthem. Everyone is taught all the verses in primary school, but people only sing as far as the first verse (or mumble it, as the case may be with our footballers). However, when it comes to our unofficial anthem, Waltzing Matilda, most people would happily sing pretty much all of the song (I forget how many verses there are).

It always amuses me how most Australians don’t know past the first verse of the anthem that’s supposed to embody what it is to be Australian, yet proudly sing all verses of Waltzing Matilda, finding more spirit and patriotism in a song about a sheep thief (who commits suicide) rather than their own national anthem (or dirge, as my father calls it).

There is a funny bit in the musical “Over Here” where a Nazi spy is unmasked. A group of people are singing The Star Spangled Banner, and at the end of the first stanza she is the only person still singing. As one of the people who grabs her says: “No real American knows more than the first stanza of The Star Spangled Banner!”

Just to hazard a guess, one reason people don’t usually sing more of The Star Spangled Banner has largely to do with the fact that it is a miserably hard song to sing well and, besides, not a particularly attractive or appealing one except when performed by a person of outstanding talent.

It is said that it became the national anthem (and it did not do so officially until well into the 20th Century), more-or-less by default. Some ethinic minorities, and particularly Americans of Irish descent, objected to using the leading alternative, “My Country 'tis of Thee”. One reason for this was that the lyrics are primarily about being the *right kind * of American (“land of the Pilgrim’s pride, land where my fathers died”). More galling still for Irish-Americans, it has the same tune as “God Save the Queen”. The minister who wrote the song is said to have been unaware of this. Like the composer of God Save the Queen (or King), he had taken the tune of an old German hymn.

In the 1970s the surviving Andrews Sisters toured in a musical called “Over Here”. There is a funny scene where a Nazi spy is unmasked. A group of people are singing The Star Spangled Banner, and at the end of the first stanza she is the only person still singing. As one of the people who grabs her says: “No real American knows more than the first stanza of The Star Spangled Banner!”

Just to hazard a guess, one reason people don’t usually sing more of The Star Spangled Banner has largely to do with the fact that it is a miserably hard song to sing well and, besides, not a particularly attractive or appealing one except when performed by a person of outstanding talent.

Robert Goulet (in fairness, he’s Canadian) once botched the lyrics at a ball game. Can anyone forget Roseanne’s rendering? She later said that people criticized her because women have been demeaned throughout history, but I suspect there was another reason.

It appears that it became the national anthem (and it did not do so officially until well into the 20th Century), more-or-less by default. Some ethnic minorities, and particularly Americans of Irish descent, objected to using the leading alternative, “My Country 'tis of Thee”. For decades this song and The Star Spangled Banner were used interchageably at official functions.

One reason people found the idea of giving it official status offiensive was that the lyrics tend to be somewhat exclusionary, as they focus on being the “*right kind *” of American (“land of the Pilgrim’s pride, land where my fathers died”). More galling still for Irish-Americans, it has the same tune as “God Save the Queen”. The minister who wrote the song is said to have been unaware of this; like the composer of God Save the Queen (or King), he had taken the tune of an old German hymn.

I sing all four verses frequently in the privacy of my own bathroom.

I believe that’s:

Blessed with victory and peace
May the heaven rescued land
Praise the power that hath saved
And preserved us a nation

And conquer we must
When our casue it is just
And this be our motto:
In God is our trust

Of course that’s off the top of my head.

SnugTheJoiner Cecil is way ahead of of you (and anybody who hasn’t read all his books, of course :wink: ): Was the melody of “The Star Spangled Banner” taken from an old drinking song?