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There Are No Words / A Real Star’s Banner Anthem

That Fergalicious take on the “Star-Spangled Banner” will not be lifted into the rafters of any basketball arena.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is not an ordinary song. It’s much, much more. And messing up our beloved national anthem by taking the wrong (creative) approach will raise more than just eyebrows. In reflecting on Fergie’s terrible, cringe-worthy rendition of the national anthem before the NBA All-Star game this past Sunday, Slash came to mind for his clever and signature take on the very same national anthem a few years back.

But for very different reasons, as you’ll see and hear.

(Click the video below. It will play!)

For Slash, no words were necessary.

And yet, he said everything with an incredible instrumental that had Americans cheering on his symbolic tip of the hat to the song’s writer Francis Scott Key.

P.S. A Fun Fact: I am, as surreal as it reads, related to the aforementioned Francis Scott Key.

Okay, I’ll give this a shot:

My dad’s uncle (John Lentz) was married to Frances, whose grandfather’s brother was the grandfather of Francis Scott Key. 


America’s Musical Key

If you’ve always thought that the “The Star-Spangled Banner” sounded like poetry…

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

A perceptive observation, dream or random idea can alter the course of history and America has been sitting in the front row since the summer of 1776. When these lightning-in-a-bottle moments arrive without warning, people in all eras have proven to be quite receptive. This is what makes Francis Scott Key’s poem so remarkable. Mr. Key wasn’t hired to write poetry in that war zone, yet he saw something nobody had before. Forgive me if the following sentiment reads like a bit of a hyperbolic stretch, but perhaps Mr. Key, like everyone else, was familiar with the language of America’s declared independence, but he was the first to see the resonance of those words off paper via the lone flag flying after a battle of life and death.

At this point in American history (and world history), the future of the United States of America was unknown. The American experiment, as it continues to evolve today and tomorrow, was just that at its inception and sequential decades thereafter, including the War of 1812. More accurately, less was known and understood about “America” during the late 18th century because these supremely radical ideas were only beginning to be molded into a stunning reality.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is relevant due to the circumstances of how and why the lyrics came to be. And, at this country’s crossroads of sheer existence early in the 19th century, America’s purpose was realized within the smoke and fire of battle through a uniting anthem.

That anthem rocks to this day.

Fun Fact: I am, as surreal as it reads, related to the aforementioned Francis Scott Key.

Okay, let’s give this a shot:

My dad’s uncle (John Lentz) was married to Frances, whose grandfather’s brother was the grandfather of Francis Scott Key.

The lineage may not read like poetry, but it inspires pride in being an American all the same.

Waving 239 Years Later

Americans need to know why June 14th is important.

June 14, 1777 was the day in history when the Continental Congress approved a resolution that led to the creation of the Stars and Stripes.

“The flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

Flag Day doesn’t get the celebratory fireworks of the 4th of July, but its place in America’s history is still significant. The actions and declarations made during the late 18th century had profound, lasting impacts on the birth and evolution of the United States of America and the Stars and Stripes certainly qualifies as an underestimated moment that endures today.

While the story surrounding Betsy Ross and her involvement with the Stars and Stripes remains uncertain, what we can confirm is the legacy of the red, white and blue continues to inspire patriotism in a nation that rises to a greatness unlike any other country the world has ever known. The American flag evokes a special feeling, especially when singing along to the Star-Spangled Banner as it waves in the air, which is a testament to its eternal power and design.

Hopefully, in 239 years, America’s Stars and Stripes will still shine as brightly as today…

and people will know why.

Happy Monday!

Rock ‘n roll is as American as apple pie…

and Slash.

A product of the LA music scene during the ’70s and ’80s, Slash (Saul Hudson) rose to become one of the most greatest (and most iconic) guitarists in music history. His style is original and his talent is crazy incredible.

This past Saturday, college football rivalry games dominated our television sets. The Star Spangled Banner, a perfect song in its own right, was performed before each game as is tradition.

So, what happened when a perfect song received a special treatment from a living rock ‘n roll legend?

That’s America right there.

Have a Rockin’ Good Week!