Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

The Star Spangled Banner lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key, a Washington DC lawyer, after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore during the War of 1812. The original Star Spangled Banner Flag was flying high over the fort in the morning, showing that the fort had not fallen. The sight inspired Key to write the song that became the United States' National Anthem.

Read the Star Spangled Banner lyrics here and then listen to some of the all time greatest recordings of the Star Spangled Banner lyrics below.

Star Spangled Banner Flag

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The Star Spangled Banner lyrics Francis Scott Key wrote were set to a popular tune called "To Anachreon in Heaven," which was the theme song of a group of amateur musicians in London called the Anachreontic Society. Listen to a recording of the first verse of To Anachreon in Heaven here. You can also read the complete lyrics of To Anachreon in Heaven here.

The original Star Spangled Banner Flag is held and displayed at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. 19th century instruments from the Smithsonian's collection were used to record what the Star Spangled Banner lyrics would have sounded like to a 19th century audience using an arrangement by composer GWE Friederich written in 1854. You can listen to this authentic recording of The Star Spangled Banner lyrics here.

Thanks to the National Museum of American History for these songs.

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

Star Spangled Banner Flag

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this 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!

Star Spangled Banner Songs and Videos

Next are three of the most viewed recordings of the Star Spangled Banner lyrics from YouTube. These are some very inspiring performances. If they don't stir your patriotic feelings and bring tears to your eyes, well... you are dead. Be sure to let the videos download completely before watching so they won't be jerky.

Red, white & blue bar

An oldie but a goodie:  The first recording is from the 39th SuperBowl in 2005 and is performed by the joint choirs of the United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy at West Point, United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Army Herald Trumpets.

This version, by Madison Rising, has become popular in the last few years.

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Learn more about other historical American Revolution Flags here.


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