Spanish 'Star Spangled Banner' -- Touting the American Dream or Offensive Rewrite?

ByABC News
April 27, 2006, 4:40 PM

April 27, 2006 — -- "The Star Spangled Banner" has provided the soundtrack to our national pastime since 1918, when the spirited tune debuted at a baseball game.

Now there is a new version with changes to the time-honored lyrics.

A group of Spanish music stars has presented its own take on the national anthem for Latino immigrants, in their native language, titled "Nuestro Himno" or "Our Anthem."

The idea came from music executive Adam Kidron, who sympathized with the recent immigrant demonstrations but was troubled by the number of Mexican flags in the crowd.

He hopes the new Spanish-language version of the national anthem will demonstrate Latino patriotism and encourage more American flags at the demonstrations.

"It has the passion, it has the respect, it has all of the things that you really want an anthem to have and it carries the melody," said Kidron.

"The Star Spangled Banner" has endured some extreme versions -- from Jimmy Hendrix's explosive guitar rendition to one from soul signer Marvin Gaye -- since Francis Scott Key first wrote the poem while watching the British bombard an American fort during the War of 1812.

The current version will likely spark debate, because it is not an exact translation. Some of the classic lyrics have been changed for rhyming reasons while other phrases were altered to soften war references. For example:

The original author's great-great grandson, Charles Key, finds the Spanish version unpatriotic and is adamant that it should be sung only in English.

"I think its a despicable thing that someone is going into our society from another country and changing our national anthem," Key said.

Those behind the new song say Key and others miss the point. The Spanish version is meant to show immigrant pride in a new country where they live and work.

It will be heard across the country at 7 p.m. ET tomorrow, debuting simultaneously on more than 700 Spanish language radio stations.