The National Anthem of the United States

Not many Americans can hit the notes, many others don't understand the lyrics, yet it is a song that is part of all of us. Learn about how and when it was written and the meaning of the lyrics.

The American English Podcast

The American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Start listening at minute 10:30

As you are probably aware, February 2nd, in addition to being Groundhog’s Day, as I talked about an episode #45 is Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers, which is my team, will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs at Hardrock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

And this year, Demi Lovato will be singing the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Like during most performances of this song, we’ll be all hanging on the edge of our seats, waiting to see how she does. Until then, let’s go ahead and learn a little bit more about the Star Spangled Banner and maybe when you hear her performance, you’ll understand what she’s actually singing about.

So the Star Spangled Banner, as you can probably guess, is an old-fashioned nickname for the American flag. In fact, it was the name of the American flag when it only had 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars. That was way back in 1814 when the song lyrics of the National Anthem were penned by Francis Scott Key.

As a songwriter, he was an amateur, or a newbie, or noob, as we say in American English. He had never written anything successful before.

Funny enough, the tune to that song wasn’t his. In Britain, a song had become popular called the Anacreontic Song. It was catchy. Legend has it that it became popular in the US and people regularly changed its lyrics to fit whatever situation they were in. If they were out drinking with friends, they’d sing about drinking to that tune. If they had a hard day’s work, perhaps they’d sing about that.


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Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

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