Why does every nation have a song?

Would any be candidates for Top 40 status?

Any mechanism in the constitution to modify ours (writing from U.S.A)? Could change occur with a simple popular movement?

Please hold off on discussions of replacements :wink:

Ummmm, I think you’re asking why every nation has a nation athemn and if any of them are catchy enough to make a Top 40 list (I’m assuming US Top 40) and if the US can change its athemn via legal means or popular voice.


In that case:
-because its nice to have national symbol to rally around
-If Great Britain were to change its national athemn to “Jerusalem” and put out a video in which Brittany Spears and Lindsey Lohan did topless jumping jacks sure, I’d buy that.
-I think that the “Star Spangled Banner” was made our national athemn by act of Congress, so in order to change it it would take a Congressional act. My vote is for “America” as sung by Ray Charles but then again, you said you didn’t want a debate about what we should change our athemn to.
Did someone tap the Rockies whilst watching the Olympics? :wink:

I have no problem with the Star-Spangled Banner as our National Anthem (as noted, so designated by an Act of Congress, which would be needed to change it, and that would only be done if there were overwhelming public demand), BUT I also like “America” for two reasons.

Unlike SSB, in which God only shows up in verse four, God is in every darn verse of “America”, which would drive the secularists nuts.

And I just recently read the woman who wrote “America” could well have been gay, which would drive a lot of religionists nuts.

So it would be fun to see the buttheads on both sides fuming!

According to the 2000 year-old man, as interviewed by Carl Reiner, the first was:

“Let em all go to hell
Except Cave Seventy-Six!”

Kind of snowballed from there, I think.

The thing about the Star-Spangled Banner is that it has a fairly ridiculous range for something that we’re all supposed to be able to sing. Thus, it’s often painful to listen to. It would be weird to change it now, but I wish that whoever it was who wrote the melody had kept average people’s vocal ranges in mind.

(I can hit all the notes, but I know a lot of people can’t.)

SSB is always painful to listen to, IMHO. I’m not being anti-American here or anything; I just really dislike the song (our national anthem is even worse, though).

I’d answer the OP but I don’t get it - what are you on about, man?

Er, I believe you guys are referring to “America the Beautiful.

“America” is the song that starts “My country, ‘tis o’ thee…” and is sung to the tune of God Save The Queen.
As to why every country has an anthem/themesong… because it’s what you do. The USA did not have the SSB be legally adopted as the National Anthem until 1931, Australia used “Waltzing Matilda” extraofficially until “Advance, Australia Fair” was adopted officially. The anthems need not be songs, even. Spain’s National March is just that, a march with no lyrics, and a few years back Russia simply decided to go back to the Soviet-era tune, stripped of its lyrics.

If the USA changed its anthem I surely hope it wouldn’t become “Americal the Beautiful.”

Some folks complain about the range of the SSB, but ATB’s melody is so dull and pedestrian it makes me gag.

And the words, oh God, the sappy stupid words. “Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears” I prefer the grimmer blood and guts of the SSB.

(Cue Dennis Miller)
Of course that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

My wife got her master’s in voice and sings professionally when she can, so I just shut up and let her go. It kind of makes me appreciate how the song should be sung, and also how horribly the average crowd really sounds when attempting it. I bet if SSB was the Italian natl. anthem, they’d all at least sing it on key, and those with limited range would drop into low harmony and not destroy the thing.

When she’s showing off, she likes to go into “Wagnerian Soprano” mode for the last line…“O’er the laaa-aaands of the FREEEEEE! And the HOOOOME OF THUHHHH BRAAAAAVE” The looks of astonishment on little kids’ faces is worth the price of admission.

Although I think “America the Beautiful” would be a much better national anthem than the one my beloved country is stuck with, I’m still holding out for “My Way” as sung by Frank Sinatra.

It’s Sinatra’s world. We just live in it.

That pretty much sums up why I cringe when the official singer of the superbowl is anounced , some people can sing it , others no , not , never in a lifetime.

So far the best person I have heard sing the SSB was Jewel


It’s worth reading the story of where Katherine Lee Bates got the ideas for the words to “America the Beautiful” from – IMO, it’s honest sentiment, late Victorian style, with each verse focusing on something she loved about America. And, FWIW, she was a college professor who spent most of her adult life as housemate with another woman, to whom she was dearly attached, never married nor accepted being courted, and referred to the arrangement as a “Boston marriage” – you do the math.

You do know it was a poem, right? Not intended to be sung.

Anyway, I love the SSB. Bonus: I never thought of it til George Carlin mentioned it. We’re the only county with an anthem that mentions rockets and bombs!! WHOO-HOO! :smiley:

We actually sang “God Save the Queen” before we had “Advance Australia Fair” forced upon us :smiley:

Thanks, Polycarp, I read the story on Beliefnet.com but was in a hurry to post so I didn’t take the time to search for the details.

National anthems generally sound sturdy and bland. I can’t get too excited by the genre (how many of us own the boxed set of world N.A.'s?). Are there any out there that’d make you want to dance or load it onto an iPod?

Kinda odd too that while a pop song lasts only weeks on the charts, the N.A. secures it’s postion in perpetuity. Especially when (IMHO) the tunes lack the qualities that generally resonate with our musical sensibilities.

Finally, what is it about nation building that mandates putting it all to music? IMHO, N.A’s are a means to foment a national identity. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this. How is it that a song (rather than common ideology or shared interest) should bind us together? Has a nation ever chosen not to have a N.A.?