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Happy 4th of July!

I figured I would throw together a few songs in celebration of the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (how time flies!).

I admit that I don’t know that much about the music of the American Revolution beyond Yankee Doodle Dandy. So we’ll begin with a rousing orchestral/drum and fife version (mostly because I don’t actually care for the lyrics–which is ok since they were written as a derogatory song against the Colonials that we for some reason adopted as our own.  It is quite the catchy tune, at least…):
From there I did some googling (how did we live without it?). A few songs struck my fancy.

The first is the “Liberty Song”. Written by Patriot John Dickinson, author and member of the first Continental Congress, it was apparently quite popular at the time. I found this traditional country version for you, which upon reflection is probably closer to what was originally performed than some of the other versions I found.

The song “The World Turned Upside Down” is actually an English ballad. How does this tie in, you ask? After our victory at Yorktown, Washington turned down the traditional honor of the British playing a tune of the victors (us Yanks or even the French as our allies). He insisted instead that a British (or German, their allies) song be played instead (complicated insult, ponder on it). Tradition has it this was the song thus played after their surrender at Yorktown. It was written in the 1640s during the reign of Charles I, in protest to an act of Parliament (one has to appreciate the appropriateness of the selection by the British). Here is a lovely performance on violin:

By contrast, in Europe, Mozart was alive and doing his thing. In July 1776, he composed his charming Divertimento No. 11 in D, K. 251. And yes, I can squeeze Wolfie into most conversations.  😉

To close it out, a modern piece–the theme song for AMC’s show about Washington’s spy ring, TURN.* It features Matt Berninger of The National and Joy Williams of (the now defunct) The Civil Wars.

The opening credits feature an edited version, which has such cool graphics, I had to share:

The full version, for those who need more, is available here.  The music from the show in general is worth checking out.  There are a few songs on Spotify here.

That does it for our quick Independence-themed journey.  On a brief serious note, I ask everyone to take a few minutes today, amid all the bbq and fireworks, to ponder what our Founding Fathers fought for and what they hoped for their brave new country.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!!

*Of course I watch this. 😀  While it messes a bit with timelines (and the nature of some of the people–the real Simco was not a monster at all), I have enjoyed seeing the era come to life. I shall miss JJ Feild as John André. He had to be executed to stay true to history but he was one of the coolest characters, if for nothing else but seeing such an interesting historical person “in the flesh”. Plus JJ was dashing in his uniform, even if it was red and not blue! If it is renewed for a 4th season (unlikely but fingers crossed!), I hope we see more of Hamilton and Lafayette going forward. Both are quite interesting in their own right.