“America the Beautiful“ is an American patriotic song….with the lyrics having been written by Katharine Lee Bates….while the music was composed by church organist and choirmaster Samuel A. Ward of the Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey….as these two composers never met….for Bates originally wrote the words as a poem titled “Pikes Peak“….which was first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical The Congregationalist in 1895. At that time, the poem was titled “America” for publication. Ward had originally written the music, “Materna” ,for the hymn “O Mother dear, Jerusalem”….when in 1882….though it was not first published until 1892…..that is when Ward’s music combined with the Bates poem was first published in 1910….and titled “America the Beautiful”.
The song is one of the most popular of the many U.S. patriotic songs….which has been covered in recordings by many from Bing Crosby to Frank Sinatra to Toby Keith to The Oak Ridge Boys to many many more…..and has been performed and played at Super Bowls and Olympic Games…..but, none compare to Ray Charles’ rendition of America The Beautiful….especially on the night of November 25, 1980….when at the introduction of fighters for the World Welterweight Title Fight between Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran Fight II….you know the NO MAS NO MAS fight…..for it is our opinion that Sugar Ray was put in the right frame of mind by Ray Charles singing this beautifully patriotic song…. to put the hurt of the mighty Manos de Piedra…..while embarrassing the once mighty champion into submission.