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Woodstock Festival (1969)
'Banner' a hit song with staying power
'Banner' a hit song with staying power

The sight that stirred Francis Scott Key on the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, from the deck of a ship on the Patapsco River, not only gave proof of the country's ability to survive a war with Britain. It also generated the verses that, set to a song of British origins, would one day be proudly hailed as our national anthem. With its octave-and-a-fifth stretch, the melody can be considered vocally perilous, but that hasn't stopped people from singing, or ungallantly screaming, "The Star-Spangled Banner" over the centuries. The piece got a good deal of its identity through the crisp and clear military band arrangement crafted by John Philip Sousa in 1879 and widely played,...