It is a song as deeply embedded in the American national psyche as the Stars and Stripes themselves.
But it turns out The Star Spangled Banner is not about a violent and bloody battle 200 years ago… but about monkeys.
That’s if you believe the words of a 6-year-old boy and his friend who made the hilarious claim on a segment of Jimmy Kimmel’s hit television chat show. And he says it with such deadpan sincerity, it’s hard not to take his word for it.
The boys were among a group of children asked by the TV prankster if they knew the lyrics to the country’s national anthem.
And their answers are more than a little enlightening.
Children trying to explain the national anthem on Jimmy Kimmel
Asked if she could sing the song for the camera on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, one of the girls says the second line actually means “we are proudly to all the states and the uniteds” while another reveals that the song’s real title is “Strong Singled Banner”.
And it wasn’t written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, but by legendary record producer Quincy Jones (though it’s not among the 27 Grammys he has won over the years).
Moments later, a girl reveals the War of Independence was really about gaining freedom from Canada before a young boy performs an interpretive dance while singing the anthem.
They gave the cute responses for a segment on the Jimmy KimmelLive show celebrating yesterday’s Independence Day.
The Star Spangled Banner was in fact based on the lyrics of a poem written by 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.
It was later made to fit the tune of popular melody The Anacreontic Song, by English composer John Stafford Smith and, in 1889, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy ruled that The Star-Spangled Banner be the official tune to be played at the raising of the flag.
Alicia Keys cut a striking figure as she sat down behind a silvery white grand piano in the middle of the field at the Super Bowl on Sunday to deliver an all-new version of the Star Spangled Banner before kick off in New Orleans.
Alicia Keys showed no nerves as she confidently sung a mellow, jazzy rendition of anthem in front of an estimated audience of more than 150 million.
The US National Anthem was interspersed with shots of American soldiers overseas spliced with emotional watching athletes.
At the culmination of her performance, Alicia Keys closed her eyes and held her arms aloft in a type of victory salute.
Following the furor of Beyonce lip syncing to the Star Spangled Banner at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, the pressure was on Alicia Keys to deliver.
Alicia Keys delivered an all-new version of the Star Spangled Banner before super Bowl kick off in New Orleans
“I’m really excited about it, I can’t even lie,” Alicia Keys told The Huffington Post prior to Sunday’s performance.
“I have to rehearse it totally, as if it’s a brand-new song, because it is actually a brand new song in the style that I’ll deliver it. I’m actually rehearsing it like a maniac.”
Luckily, Alicia Keys’ rendition went off without a hitch, unlike Christina Aguilera’s notorious line fluffing back in 2011.
She follows in the footsteps of stars including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks in performing the anthem.
Beyonce has admitted miming during her performance of the American national anthem at the inauguration of President Barack Obama last month.
Beyonce told reporters that she was a “perfectionist” and – due to lack of rehearsal time – “did not feel comfortable taking a risk”.
“I wanted to make him [Barack Obama] and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track.”
“I’m very proud of my performance,” she said.
Beyonce opened the press conference in New Orleans by asking reporters to stand before performing a live rendition of the national anthem.
Millions of people tuned in to watch President Barack Obama sworn in for his second term in office on January 21, which included performances by James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.
Her performance of the Star Spangled Banner at the inauguration was considered one of the highlights of the ceremony, but later reports suggested the singer had recorded her vocal.
“I am a perfectionist and one thing about me is that I practise until my feet bleed and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra,” Beyonce said on Thursday.
Beyonce has admitted miming during her performance of the American national anthem at the inauguration of President Barack Obama last month
She said her decision to mime the track was triggered by the weather, delays and “no proper soundcheck”, adding that pre-recording is “very common in the music industry”.
“It was a live television show and a very, very important emotional show for me and one of my proudest moments,” she said.
However, Beyonce insisted she would be singing live for her half-time Super Bowl performance on Sunday – one of the most-watched TV events in the United States.
“I will absolutely be singing live. This is what I was born to do, it is what I was born for.”
The National Football League also announced that singer Jennifer Hudson would be performing America the Beautiful with the chorus from Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in a mass shooting in December.
Last year’s Super Bowl half-time show, performed by Madonna, was watched by an average of 114 million viewers, while Janet Jackson’s notorious “wardrobe malfunction” – in 2004 – generated a record number of complaints for broadcaster CBS.