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Friday, 23 January 2009

Aretha Sang British for Barack Obama's Inauguration

This isn't a blog about Aretha Franklin's hat, though the LA Times reports that neo-copies (the designer Luke Song only makes the one original for Aretha) have been highly sought after since Franklin appeared on January 20th 2009 in the hat at Barack Obama's inauguration.

Nor is this a blog about a little verbal set-to, according to the Guardian, allegedly occurring last year between Beyonce and Aretha over Beyonce Knowles's description of Tina Turner as 'The Queen,' a title often used to describe Aretha Franklin. (The royal epithet, in this instance, is applied to the ladies' perceived situation in the musical hemisphere).

However the lady in the first paragraph and the title in the second paragraph do have something to do with the subject of this blog.

For 'My country 'tis of thee,' which Aretha sang at Tuesday's inauguration, also known as 'America,' written by Samuel Francis Smith, was based upon the National Anthem of the UK, 'God Save the Queen.' I'm sure you recognised the tune.

Anyway, the wee Wikifolk who live in that wonderful Wikiuniverse behind our computer screens have much to tell us about the history of both versions of the tune, The British and the American, and point out that Samuel Francis Smith discovered the melody by way of a German adaptation, just in case it seemed as though the US was basing its most patriotic song on Britain's most patriotic song.

For your delectation here is a clip of the UK version sung to footage of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation so that you can compare the two versions.

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