1980sABCAmerica The BeautifulHighlightsHistoryJim McKayMusicMusic SportsOlympic Closing CeremoniesOlympicsPatriotic MusicRay CharlesScott HamiltonTeam USA

Music – 1984 – Ray Charles – America The Beautiful – USA Medal Winners At Sarajevo Olympics Hilights

America the Beautiful is a 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 at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey….as the two never met.

At various times in the more than 100 years that have elapsed since the song was written….and particularly during the John F. Kennedy administration…..there have been efforts to give “America the Beautiful” legal status either as a national hymn or as a national anthem equal to, or in place of, “The Star-Spangled Banner”….but so far this has not yet succeeded…..as proponents prefer “America the Beautiful” for various reasons….while saying it is easier to sing, more melodic and more adaptable to new orchestrations….while still remaining as easily recognizable as “The Star-Spangled Banner”…..and some prefer it over the National Anthem due to the latter’s war-oriented imagery….but others prefer “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the same reason.  While that national dichotomy has stymied any effort at changing the tradition of the national anthem, “America the Beautiful” continues to be held in high esteem by a large number of Americans. 

In 1976, while the United States celebrated its bicentennial, a soulful version popularized by Ray Charles peaked at # 98 on the US R&B chart…..but in the hearts of Americans….Brother Ray‘s rendition has been considered the favorite of all time…..especially by sports fans who have heard it played at such events as the World Welterweight Boxing Title Fight between Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran (2nd fight)…..and in conjunction with Olympic highlights covered by Jim McKay of ABC Sports….as seen in this video herewith.

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