On cylinder. N°2 US. Original title of the melody: To Anacreon In Heaven, a drinking song written by Stafford Smith and introduced in the London Crown And Anchor pub (circa 1777). The melody crossed the Atlantic, where it first fitted patriotic song Adams And Liberty. Later in 1814 during the English siege of Fort McHenry near Baltimore, first witness Francis Ford Key wrote a poem entitled: Defence Of Fort McHenry To The Tune Anacreon In Heaven, including a line about the proud flag waving bravely along. "The Star Spangled Banner" seemed to be an easier title. Following the battle of Baltimore the song spread like wildfire. First singer mentioned was actor Ferdinand Durang who introduced it in a small tavern in Baltimore days after the siege. Key's original manuscript was auctioned in 1934 for $24.000. One of the main attractions of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. is the authentic bullet riddled Star Spangled Banner Francis Key saw waving over Fort McHenry. To stress his familiarity with the music of To Anacreon In Heaven, Francis Key wrote another poem to that same melody well in advance of the Star-Spangled Banner: The Warrior's Return in honor of Stephen Decatur's triumphant campaign during the war with Tripoli (1801-1805). Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) had Francis Ford Key as one of his forefathers.
Sousa's Band [on disc]
Margaret Woodrow Wilson [daughter of President Woodrow Wilson]
Prince's Orch. [Charles Adams Prince was a relative of President John Adams]
John McCormack [n°1 US]
Bing Crosby [B-side of God Bless America]
Kate Smith [B-side of God Bless America]
Jimi Hendrix [at Woodstock of course, but he introduced it earlier that year: on his West Coast Seattle Boy box set there's a version from April '69]
Whitney Houston [at the Super Bowl ceremony days before the first Gulf War]
Take 6 [on Song Of America, with the Fort McHenry flag on the cover]
Official US national anthem since 1931, when it replaced Kathrine Ann Bates' America The Beautiful.