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Stars and Stripes Forever … Literally

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John Philip Sousa
Mr. Sousa -- whose music can (and will) be played again and again

As we all prepare to take off for a midweek Fourth of July celebration that will feature hundreds, if not thousands, of bands around the nation playing John Philip Sousa marches including “Stars and Stripes Forever,” I’d like to thank my Dear Old Dad for his patience.

What’s that got to do with the price of piccolos in Poughkeepsie?

When I was six years old, back in the “Mad Men” era, we had a big Magnavox stereo in our living room and a decent collection of LP records.  One of them featured John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” as played by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

As little kids sometimes will, one evening I enjoyed hearing “Stars and Stripes Forever” so much that I asked my father to play it again.  He obliged.

And then I asked him again.

And again.

And again.

And … at this point even I knew I was pushing my luck … again.

Well, after the sixth hearing he politely said we’d probably heard that particular piece enough for one night.  And he left me with a lifetime appreciation of his parental patience … and the ability to whistle “Stars and Stripes Forever” in my sleep.

If you’d like to prep for whistling along with tomorrow’s live playings, here’s a recording of that piece as played by the March King’s own band, courtesy of the Library of Congress National Jukebox, a delightful site that streams vintage recordings from the Victor Records collection.

What’s your favorite patriotic band music?  

Comments (9)

  1. Stars & Stripes Forever, without any doubt!

  2. Stars and stripes forever rules!

  3. The Marine’s Hymn, of course. Spent my childhood hearing that one and it still makes me tear up.

  4. Too many to pick a favourite. ‘America the Beautiful’ when Ray Charles sings it. And I love Meredith Willson’s ’76 Trombones’ for the energy and the sense of community and peacetime. ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ can still be quite a little journey when a good singer guides you through it.

    A new one that deserves classic status:

    ‘Hiawatha’ by Laurie Anderson

  5. Favorite patriotic song? “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” by Ed McCurdy.

  6. I love Bruce Springsteen’s “born in the USA”

  7. I love to hear (and sing) Woody Gutherie’s great song, “This Land is Your Land.” It celebrates our country’s beauty and is not militaristic.

  8. This was really great. Who doesn’t love a piccolo on the 4th. Thank you.

  9. to many times

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