This is the title of the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from a poem by Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old lawyer who wrote “The Defence of Fort McHenry” in 1814 about the British bombardment of the Baltimore installation during the War of 1812.
His poem was set to the tune of “The Anachreontic Song,” or “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular British song composed for a London musicians’ club called the Anacreontic Society. That song praised Bacchus, the god of wine, and Venus, the goddess of love, based on a lyric by the ancient Greek poet Anacreon (582 BC – 485 BC). Members were allowed to drink wine as long as they could sing the song.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” quickly became popular in the states. Approved for official use by the Navy in 1889 and for the President in 1916, the song became the nation’s official national anthem by resolution of Congress on March 3, 1931.