John Stafford Smith

po_Smith-John1John Stafford Smith (March 30, 1750 – September 21, 1836) was a British composer, church organist, and early musicologist.

Smith was one of the first serious collectors of manuscripts of works by Johann Sebastian Bach. He is best known for writing the music for “The Anacreontic Song”, which became the tune for the American patriotic song “The Star-Spangled Banner” following the War of 1812, and in 1931 was adopted as the national anthem of the United States of America.

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry” (later re-titled, “The Star-Spangled Banner”), which came to be sung to the tune of Stafford Smith’s “Anacreon”. This was officially designated as the national anthem of the United States in 1931.