Aretha Franklin sang this song at the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama, on January 20, 2009. The song, written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, shares the melody with the national anthem of the United Kingdom.
As reported in Maclean’s magazine (July 11, 2011), Franklin said of this song and her opportunity to welcome the significance of America’s first black president, “He paved the way.”
Her commentary on the results thus far are diplomatic and cautious: “I think that [Obama] has been doing the very best that he can, with everything that can be done with what was left when he came into office.”
Crosby, Stills & Nash also performed this original, de facto American national anthem on the first episode of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, following the terrorist attacks of September, 2001.