Outside of "Happy Birthday" and maybe a few Christmas carols, there aren't too many songs that the majority of us know all of the words to and feel comfortable about singing in public.
The big and lasting acception in this country, though, involves the stars, stripes, the occasional baseball game, the occasional stirring political convention, and all of the full-throated passion we can muster. It's "The Star-Spangled Banner," a thrill-filled paean so storied that books and documentaries and museum displays regularly spotlight it.
Oh, did we say "museum displays"? One is coming together in honor of the patriotic ballad at the Grammy Museum. The show, which will consider 200 colorful years of the anthem in popular music, debuts on Friday, Sept. 12.
Sheet music arrangements from Rickey Minor, a jumpsuit worn by Whitney Houston when she sang the anthem in 1991, and footage from Woodstock 1969, when Jimi Hendrix famously played one of the most famous takes on it, ever, are part of the show.
We mean, ever, right? You're hearing Mr. Hendrix's guitar now.
Francis Scott Key penned our national anthem, as every American schoolkid learns when they're yea-high, after viewing the bombing of Fort McHenry during the Battle of 1812. But "The Star-Spangled Banner" moved far beyond its Maryland roots to become a rousing favorite sometimes elevated by its singer, sometimes not.
But count on it being interpreted with a good dealing of feeling and zest. (You've seen that zest expressed at pretty much every baseball game ever, by the guy next to you with his cap over his heart? Yep.)
"Oh Say Can You Sing: The Star-Spangled Banner in Popular Music" unfurls for one month at the LA Live-based museum, with an open date of Sept. 12 and a final date of Oct. 12.