Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Before "The Star-Spangled Banner" became our anthem in 1931, citizens had a more singable tune -- "Hail Columbia". The tune was known as "The President's March" and was written for George Washington's Inaugural. By Adams' time it had acquired lyrics of fervent patriotism. It was played at formal government functions and was the requested tune of choice at American theaters; the next popular was "Yankee Doodle." In fact, audiences were known to riot if orchestras kept on with their Donizetti or Dibdin instead of responding to cries for "Hail Columbia!"

Click here for a streaming audio of the tune and a printed set of lyrics.

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