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The Many Sides Of 'The Star Spangled Banner'

The symbols of patriotism are everywhere in the nation's capital, marking this week's historic transition of power. Flags fly high and historic monuments gleam white in the chilly air; soon, music will flow from loudspeakers and from real musicians. It's almost certain that, at some point, the shivering masses in attendance will be treated to a rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." It signals the start of most sporting events, so why not a new presidential administration?

The story of Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner" is the stuff of grade-school history books. But the song has inspired some memorable interpretations in the recent past, as each performer imbues it with a personal take on patriotism. Here are five (among many others) that stand out.

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Felix Contreras
Felix Contreras is co-creator and co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.