Madison Rising Star-Spangled Banner FA Video

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For the most part, I cringe whenever someone takes something like the National Anthem and in an attempt to inject some new life and interpretation into it, takes such liberties with the work that it becomes unrecognizable.

That is so not the case with Madison Rising’s kick-ass version…

Certainly a more traditional rendition remains appropriate in formal settings (and there have been some really cringe-inducing, star-mangled performances done in the past); but until this version came out, I had never wanted to listen to the Star-Spangled Banner before in leisure, and as a rock song. This version, I actually listen to pretty regularly in the car as a track on one of my CD mixes.

Victor Luebker:

Madison Rising has composed, produced and performed the most compelling rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” since Francis Scott Key wrote the original poem in 1814.

A rock band led by singer Dave Bray and guitarist Alex Bodnar, Madison Rising composes and performs guitar-heavy rock music with an explicitly patriotic pro-American message and sound.

If you liked this rendition of our national anthem, please take a click on over to the original video by the band; they are attempting to reach 5 million views by the end of July 4, 2013 (as of this writing, they are at 3,864,859).

Please post and link their video wherever you can to help them achieve their goal. (My version is mostly for my own narcissistic amusement).

Madison Rising:

Madison Rising brings great rock music back to the forefront of popular culture. With songs ranging from the guitar heavy opening track “Right To Bear,” to the hauntingly epic sounds of “Honk If You Want Peace,” to the beautiful violins of “Hallowed Ground,” it is clear that this band is on a mission to not only make great music, but also send a message that American culture is alive and well.

Madison Rising promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility.

Music, Hollywood, the arts can seem dominated by the liberal mindset and heartstrings; so it is always nice to listen to unapologetic conservative artists stamp their voices to their works.

Support them.

To book the band, please contact: [email protected]
Available on iTunes
Available at Amazon
Click here for a free download of Madison Rising’s American Dream

Visit the Madison Rising store

The complete lyrics in 1814 by Francis Scott Key:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort McHenry”,[1] a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “The Anacreontic Song” (or “To Anacreon in Heaven”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner”, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. “Hail, Columbia” served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, whose melody is identical to “God Save the Queen”, the British national anthem,[2] also served as a de facto anthem.[3] Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs would emerge to compete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Early history:

On September 3, 1814, following the Burning of Washington and the Raid on Alexandria, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden, flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by President James Madison. Their objective was to secure the exchange of prisoners, one of whom was Dr. William Beanes, the elderly and popular town physician of Upper Marlboro and a friend of Key’s who had been captured in his home. Beanes was accused of aiding the arrest of British soldiers. Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans. At first, Ross and Cochrane refused to release Beanes, but relented after Key and Skinner showed them letters written by wounded British prisoners praising Beanes and other Americans for their kind treatment.

Because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and later back on HMS Minden. After the bombardment, certain British gunboats attempted to slip past the fort and effect a landing in a cove to the west of it, but they were turned away by fire from nearby Fort Covington, the city’s last line of defense.

During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort’s smaller “storm flag” continued to fly, but once the shell and Congreve rocket[4] barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. By then, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised.

During the bombardment, HMS Erebus provided the “rockets’ red glare”. HMS Meteor provided at least some of the “bombs bursting in air”.

Key was inspired by the American victory and the sight of the large American flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, had been made by Mary Young Pickersgill together with other workers in her home on Baltimore’s Pratt Street. The flag later came to be known as the Star Spangled Banner Flag and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, and again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program.

Aboard the ship the next day, Key wrote a poem on the back of a letter he had kept in his pocket. At twilight on September 16, he and Skinner were released in Baltimore. He completed the poem at the Indian Queen Hotel, where he was staying, and entitled it “Defence of Fort McHenry”.

Much of the idea of the poem, including the flag imagery and some of the wording, is derived from an earlier song by Key, also set to the tune of The Anacreontic Song. The song, known as “When the Warrior Returns”,[5] written in honor of Stephen Decatur and Charles Stewart on their return from the First Barbary War.

According to the historian Robin Blackburn, the words “the hireling and slave” allude to the fact that the British attackers had many ex-slaves in their ranks, who had been promised liberty and demanded to be placed in the battle line “where they might expect to meet their former masters”.[6]

More history on the Wikipedia page.


21 Responses to “Madison Rising Star-Spangled Banner FA Video”

  1. 3



    Being an aging, die hard rocker myself, I really appreciate hearing this tasteful arrangement, Word. Like you noted, most alternative versions have really grated on the nerves. Love Hendrix, but can’t put his Anthem version in my best hits list.

    Glad to see that little cowboy in your images again… cute kid. :0) And I really loved that one tee… “Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave”. Thanks for your uplifting start to another Independence Day.

  2. 4




    Glad to see that little cowboy in your images again… cute kid. :0)

    Seeing it just cracks me up- Asian kid in a cowboy outfit. But that also speaks to me about America.

    There was an Asian pro-wrestler a few years back in the WWE whose gimmick was being a cowboy with a Texas drawl. And speaking of wrestling…

    And I really loved that one tee… “Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave”.

    That’s the “Texas Rattlesnake”, Stone Cold Steve Austin 3:16. I liked the t-shirt attitude as well. Also Tim Kennedy’s t-shirt that says “unapologetically American”.

    I could have filled this with so many images of so many random things about the U.S. It was just kind of a brainstorming capture of images and themes that came to mind as I listened to the lyrics.

    I had you in mind in part, btw, when I included the Rick Monday footage. Too bad they weren’t able to capture a better camera angle back then so those unfamiliar with the story could tell clearly what it is he was doing.

    Happy 4th, Mata!

  3. 5



    Yes, I caught a bit of that footage, which made me smile. You really picked some great imagery to accompany the Anthem.

    For those unfamiliar with the Rick Monday story, it’s often called “the greatest play in baseball”when, in April of 1976, Rick Monday, Cubbie player, rescued Old Glory from a couple of ingrates trying to burn it in front of the Dodger Stadium crowd. Here’s his 2008 interview about that event.

    And a happy 4th to you as well, my friend.

  4. 6

    Rides A Pale Horse

    IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

    embed compliments of ws

  5. 8




    Glad to see that little cowboy in your images again

    Forgot to make mention to you that the image that follows immediately after is my dad. 🙂

    I also snuck myself in at 3:28 being given a hug by Mark Crowley, a gold star dad. 🙁 [An LA Times photo]

  6. 11


    This whole post was absolutely awesome Wordsmith…thank you so much!!

    Happy Birthday America!!

    God Bless America!!

    Proud to be an American!!

  7. 12

    Rob in Katy

    Just made the Wife, kid and her cousins listen to it while watching fireworks.
    To all those that have served – a truly heart-felt Thank You!

    This remake of “Too late to Apologize” is pretty good also.

    embed courtesy of ws
  8. 15

    Nan G

    It’s Friday with more than 48 hours to go.
    Madison Rising has already had 3,916,530 on their You Tube link for this song….which is a great rendition.
    Thanks for introducing me to them.
    I’ve already listened to a couple more of their pieces and downloaded a few.
    Hubby and I both loved it.
    Terrific singer, too.

  9. 16


    For the most part, I cringe whenever someone takes something like the National Anthem and in an attempt to inject some new life and interpretation into it, takes such liberties with the work that it becomes unrecognizable.

    If I have recorded a show that had patriot songs, and the song has been redone in a way I don’t like, I fast forward through it, even if it is the National Anthem. To me, they all should be sung the way they were written, and with the feeling I used to get when I heard them sung. Does anyone get a feeling of patriotism when they hear some of the different versions of the songs?

    That is so not the case with Madison Rising’s kick-ass version…

    I personally didn’t care for it. I didn’t get any patriot feeling.

    Whitney Houston singing it the way it was written is still the one I remember best.

    I can understand that if a young person hears one of the redone versions of a patriot song, that is the one they relate too. I just don’t get the patriotic feelings I used to when the songs were sung. I’m glad I have several of the originals in my iTunes library.

    At sporting events where the Star Spangled Banner is sung, why do the fans usually start hollering before the song is finished? Are they glad that the song is almost over, so that the event they came for can get started? To me, there should silence while we think about how the flag the singer is singing about got there. How many people know the history of the flag and the song written about it?

    Sometimes the story should be told before the song is sung. Are the schools telling the students how our National Anthem came about? When I first read the whole story of how it came to be, I now think about the battle that was raging, and the lives lost, and the writer wondering if we lost that battle.

  10. 18



    Well, I think it rocks! 🙂 Certainly not appropriate as a replacement version for formal ceremony.

    Looks like the video will fall about a million shy. 🙁

    I don’t think it got enough word of mouth promotion.

  11. 19


    @Wordsmith: #18

    Well, I think it rocks!

    It’s like cars. You buy the one YOU like. I’m one, that if I hear a song, and like it, that is the way I want it sung from then on. There are very few remakes of ANY song that I like the remake better than the original.

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