O! Say Can You Sing? National Anthem Turns 197

VIDEO: Cyndi Lauper fudges the lyrics while performing at the U.S. Open.

The “Star-Spangled Banner” has been rendered unrecognizable by the vocal chords of enough people to fill any sports arena many times over.

But try they do, including a slew of entertainers who risk public shame for the sake of national pride and honor (see more videos below).

Forgiving audiences, it would seem, know that the words of a song — one set to an old English tune, no less — are no match for the heart of a patriot.

Mangled lyrics aside, the U.S. national anthem, written in Baltimore on this date in 1814 as “Defense of Fort McHenry” by lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key — turns 197 today.

It didn’t become the official national anthem until 1931, leaving plenty of time to botch the lyrics. Here are some more examples.


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