Oh, say can you compose a new anthem?
Well, the jury's still out on that. A few weeks ago we began our listener challenge to create a new national anthem with the hopes that people would write new lyrics and music for song that could take the place of the Star Spangled Banner. With so few entries, we've decided to focus on ideas suggested by several listeners: that we replace the Star Spangled Banner with an existing song with a following, like "This Land is Your Land" or "America, the Beautiful."
Are there other songs out there that do a better job of representing the US and hopefully are much easier to sing than the Star Spangled Banner?
Two listeners brought to our attention a classic Albert Brooks comedy routine from the 1970s: it's called, "Rewriting the National Anthem." Turns out rethinking the national anthem was something Brooks was doing four decades ago! The bit is a highlight from his stand-up record, "Comedy Minus One."
Brooks performed the routine on the Flip Wilson show in 1972. And in this video, at 2:35, Brooks' subtle genius crackles. His original lyrics for a new anthem? "Hey world, look at us, we're the greatest..." Kind of perfect, right?