Search This Blog

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

This patriotic hymn, which is also known as "America," became the de facto American National Anthem before the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the official anthem in 1931.

The words were written by Baptist clergyman Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), when he was a theological student, after his friend, the renowned hymn composer Lowell Mason, asked him to translate or adapt the lyrics in some German school songbooks. One melody to a German patriotic hymn in particular caught his attention. Instead of translating it, Smith decided to write an American patriotic hymn, so he sat down and in thirty minutes had written this song, to go along with the tune.

Smith claimed to have written the verses in 1832, but his memory must have been amiss as the song was known to have first been performed in public on July 4, 1831 at a children's Independence Day celebration at Park Street Church in Boston.

The melody used is the same as that of the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Smith had no inkling of the German melody's associations with the British national anthem, as he had never heard "God Save the King."

Smith did not stop writing. He wrote over 150 other hymns and in 1843 teamed with Baron Stow to compile a Baptist hymnal, The Psalmist.

Aretha Franklin sang the song on January 20, 2009 at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Aretha Franklin at the first inauguration of Barack Obama

Originally written for

No comments:

Post a Comment