The melody to the national anthem of the United States came from a British drinking song.

The original tune was called “To Anacreon in Heaven”. This was the official song of the British Anacreontic society, a popular gentleman’s club. It was named after Anacreon, a Greek poet well known for writing songs about wine and women. The combination of Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” with this melody form what we now know as “The Star-Spangled Banner”!

You can read the full lyrics to the original song at the Straight Dope.


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