22. August 2008 · 5 comments · Categories: Links, News

The source of the American national anthem being played at the Beijing Olympics during medal ceremonies is in question. Peter Breiner wasn’t watching the Games until his friends starting calling to say, “That sounds like your arrangement.” It does. Especially the “Rockets Red Glare” section — an unusually soft string rendition that brought some controversy when it was used in Athens in 2004.He got paid for that rendition in 2004. Now Mr. Breiner says he’s “100-percent positive” that the Chinese borrowed it from his work. In an email to The Washington Post, the Chinese insist they came up with the arrangement themselves.

When I heard it the first time I thought, “Oh rats, they are using the version they used four years ago. I really don’t care for that arrangement.” Of course I’d really prefer that our national anthem be America the Beautiful, so what do I know?

You can read about it here or listened to the NPR segment from that link.


  1. I didn’t realize that the hosts chose the arrangements for each country.

    For sure I have heard at least two arrangements of the Star Spangled Banner at the Beijing Olympics.

    I figured it wasn’t the choice of the athletes. I wondered if it varied by venue or some other factor.

    Maybe it has to do with changing when someone raises issues of theft. (Both versions had a strings section in the middle.)

  2. I’ve only heard the one, but I rarely hear it at all … I usually don’t stick around for it. I suppose I’m not a good American. Oh well.

  3. i think “america the beautiful” should be our national anthem, as well. or we should have let dvorak write us one when he offered. but i don’t really like tssb.

  4. Jimi Hendrix…Woodstock…
    That’s the national anthem.

    There’s not much beautiful about this country, we might as well celebrate the truth.

  5. Gabrielle, I didn’t know Dvorak offered to write one. Wow, wouldn’t that have been something?

    Lane, I actually do like living here, and I’ve found some beauty, too. I also like being able to complain about things publicly. But maybe that’s just me.