National Anthems And Such — Patriotic Music

I got in an argument today with someone over this song, which all of my US readers know as My Country Tis of Thee though the proper title is America. The person claimed that this song is an American song. The lyrics are, indeed, American. But the melody, and therefore the song, are not American.

The melody (in what I consider an ironic twist) is actually the tune of the oldest national anthem in the world which is from 1745. Since the US didn’t even exist as a country until 1776, that sort of ends the argument in my opinion. I’m sure you’ll recognize it. It’s from Great Britain (You Tube w/Lyrics) and called God Save The Queen (Wikipedia). My favourite version is Queen’s Brian May playing it on the roof of Buckingham Palace in 2002 for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee; it’s really cool.

Many foreigners think this song (YouTube no lyrics) is the UK national anthem, but it isn’t. It’s called Rule Britannia (Wikipedia) by Edward Elgar and is what is played when the Queen is presented (at least as near as I can tell). It’s similar in concept to Hail To The Chief (YouTube). I will be honest and say I had no idea that Hail to The Chief (Wikipedia) even had lyrics until I started looking into this whole thing. (If a UK native cares to clarify the use of Rule Britannia, that would be awesome.)

In the interest of completeness, the US National Anthem aka the Star Spangled Banner is presented here (YouTube) and while it has no lyrics in this iteration, this is perhaps the closest to how this oft-mangled song should sound. (Far more popular is the Whitney Houston rendition of the Star Spangled Banner which became a best-selling single.)  Many people believe America the Beautiful should be our national anthem and the Ray Charles version is considered definitive. Another contender is God Bless America, here sung by French-Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion in the what I think is the best version ever — this from the 9/11 concert. I prefer either of the latter to the first.

And in the spirit of hockey and half of my ancestry, I’ve included O Canada (YouTube, Enhlish w/Lyrics), the Canadian National Anthem. Or, if you prefer French w/Lyrics (You Tube, French w/Lyrics). There’s some nice bilingual versions (YouTube no Lyrics) I’ve heard as well. I prefer the last one myself, but I don’t know the words by heart. My French has been officially declared shit. Canada still maintains the Royal National Anthem which is, God Save The Queen.

While not related to the argument, this came up in my research: I’ve always liked the French National Anthem, La Marseilles (You Tube w/Lyrics). This version is magnificent. 

Oh, and here’s Hong Kong being turned over to the Chinese. I found this by accident, and it just suited my mood to include it. It’s totally unrelated:
* If the reigning monarch is a King, the word King is used instead of Queen.

Leave a Reply