Star-Spangled Composer

John Stafford Smith was born this day in 1750. While still a teenager, the Gloucester choir boy and organist composed the rousing music for what would be the song, To Anacreon In Heaven – the anthem of a London amateur musicians’ club, the Anacreontic Society.

James_Gillray__Anacreontick's_in_full_Song_c1801_01aJames Gillray, Anacreontick’s in full Song, circa 1801.

In 1814, following the defence of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, a Georgetown lawyer by the name of Francis Scott Key wrote a poem, imaginatively entitled Defence of Fort McHenry.

Key’s popular poem was subsequently set to the music of Smith’s To Anacreon In Heaven, and became known as The Star-Spangled Banner – made famous by 1960’s guitarist, Jimi Hendrix.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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8 Responses to Star-Spangled Composer

  1. Keith says:

    And possibly famous by the fact that it is the United Stated National Anthem.


  2. Bill Rypka says:

    Wonderful weave of classic rock and roll into your blog on classic furniture! Jimi Hendrix was truly classic!


    • William Evanusich says:

      I didn’t know you were such a die-hard Jimi Hendrix fan! I hope your the same Bill Rypka from Corning, CA. If not, your probably that Coast Guard helicopter pilot I come across when ever I search the internet for my friend.


  3. Jim says:

    Fancy that, the US national anthem being based on music to a Greek poet famous for his drinking songs. “O say can you see”, could take on a completely different meaning in that context.


  4. Yankee Woodworker says:

    And with that I must resolve to ignore all your future blogs. Thanks for the eArly morning insults.


  5. Jack Plane says:

    I clicked the ‘Like’ button at the bottom of this post by mistake and received the following notification from WordPress…

    “You liked your own post on Pegs and ‘Tails
    You’re so vain. You probably think Star-Spangled Composer is about you.”

    Serves me right!


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