What would make a better U.S. national anthem than "The Star-Spangled Banner"?

Inspired by a hijack in this thread.

Forget about how you feel about having a national anthem with warlike lyrics. As a song, TSSB sux and everybody knows it, including those few who can properly sing it. I vote for “This Is My Country”.

Nothing would.

Either “America the Beautiful” or “This Land Is My Land.”

My vote is Phil Ochs-Power and Glory .

I know there are a lot of people who wouldn’t care for it, but my gut reaction would be for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” I don’t expect that it would fly, but I have to admit I just like singing it, and it’s great for walking along to.

I agree with “America the Beautiful”. We can get rid of the verse about the Pilgrims if you like. It actually talks about the country itself - beauty, spirit, dreams, etc.

"America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law! "

"O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears! "

is also very nice.

Almost anything. They could change the music and keep the words if they want, but the tune has to completely go.

America: Fuck Yeah!



The notion that TSSB is a bad song makes me want to throw things. Bad song? Are you fucking drunk? I don’t want some pub sing-along song as my anthem, it damn well better be a difficult and powerful song. Its powerful and distinctive and better than some proselytizing tripe meant for preschool aged Sunday Schoolers like God Bless America. Please, lets refrain from the Dumbing of America.

It also doesn’t make any sense if you only sing the first verse. And should really be more general than it is.

Well, it does celebrate a war in which you were the bad guys, and which you lost. Bad song? Maybe not. Bad national anthem? Absolutely.

I could go for “America the Beautiful”. or maybe “My country 'tis of thee”

I’m not eager for any change which emphasizes God too much, which makes “America the Beautiful” decidedly iffy, and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” just plain wrong.
But either of them qualify nicely for music I (already) enjoy singing–which is an important criteria for any proposed improvement on the existing national anthem.

How do you figure that the US were the bad guys in the War of 1812? Does impressment of nationals on the high seas not strike you as a good reason for going to war, when the nation doing it refuses to change their behavior?

I’m not going to say that all the reasons for going to war in 1812 were good. But don’t you dare say that the Brits were innocents and didn’t deserve any rebuke for their behavior!

America the Beautiful.

Sing it, Ray!


Better find something besides “The Star Spangled Banner,” then. According to Cecil, "the original tune was ‘To Anacreon in Heaven,’ an English drinking song

This is the correct answer. There’s nothing wrong with the Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem, so there’s no need to change it. And the alternatives that are proposed every few years are horrible. America The Beautiful is an insipid song with vapid lyrics. God Bless America is even worse. (Far worse.) This Land Is Our Land is a jingle, suitable only for television commercials (or, if all its verses are included, suitable only for protest marches); it certainly isn’t a national anthem.

Those who complain that the Star Spangled Banner is difficult to sing have no argument: the only time anybody ever sings the national anthem is at a baseball game; if you’re at a ballgame and you can’t sing the song, either don’t sing (most people don’t) or sing quietly. Or belt it out good and loud and off key, I don’t care. Being able to sing the national anthem well is not a prerequisite for citizenship or patriotism. But at least the Star Spangled Banner is an appropriate song for the nation’s anthem. The tune is majestic and well suited to a band or orchestra, and the words are terrifically moving and meaningful, and entirely in keeping with the nation’s history. A song about bravery and freedom, reminding us that it was necessary to fight to gain that freedom, and that freedom is worth fighting for, is exactly the right anthem for the United States. The fact that the lyrics were written on the scene of a battle, rather than by some milquetoast songwriter hunched over a piano scribbling limp poetry gives it historical import. It’s a great national anthem, and suits the country’s historical ideals. Therefore there is no need to change it.

The master speaks.

edit : actually, Gfactor, not the Master

Definitely NOT “My Country, 'Tis Of Thee”, because the tune is Britain’s “God Save The King/Queen”.

“America the Beautiful” for me.

But why switch? Sure, TSSB isn’t perfect, but all of the other suggestions have problems, too. The tune sucks? That isn’t the point of the national anthem.

I’ll venture that TSSB is unique because the part we sing ends with the question, “Is it still there”. It’s up to us to see that it is and all it represents.

Was there a post in that thread that wasn’t a hijack? As for the poll, I vote “none”.