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“..and the Lord sayeth onto the cheering masses, "What song doth y'all wanteth to hear?" And the cheering masses did shout, "Free Bird! Free Bird!"”
“In Soviet Russia, the bird frees YOU!!”
"Free Bird" is the National Anthem of the United States of America, with lyrics written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, and musical accompaniment supplied by Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973. Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, wrote the poem "Free Bird" after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, by British ships in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a flock of birds which flew freely over the large American flag, a sign that the British were indeed not really that interested in claiming Baltimore, anyways.
There is speculation that Francis Scott Key actually stole the lyrics from an ancient text written in 763 B.C by Romulus just minutes after he founded Ancient Rome. Romulus first thought of the idea for the lyrics after he killed his brother Mitt "Remus" Romney. His brother then became quite peeved and cried in the corner until the 21st century, at which point he ran for dictator of the Soviet Union. Anyway, Romulus, being the clumsy wolf-raised boy he was, dug a hole to China, where Jackie Chan karate chopped the lyrics into 1812 America. Key didn't think anyone would notice, and promptly took credit for writing Free Bird. Romulus obviously became fussy when nobody believed he wrote it and adopted Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard.
edit Early History
Key originally wrote the ballad as a dystopian epic consisting of 24 stanzas; The first two stanzas set the scene at the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus of Nazareth asks his father to take this burden off of him since he has finally learned to be free as a bird, and Jesus has serious doubts about his ability to change. Stanzas 3 through 5 proceeds to follow Jesus' struggles as Judas Iscariot pops out from behind a nearby tree and tells Jesus that he has a surprise for him. When Jesus asks "what hast thou got for me?" Judas proceeds to saunter up to Jesus and give him a full frontal snogging. Soon afterwards, the local Roman authorities arrest Jesus for indecent public displays of affection. The next thirteen stanzas switch into a very disturbing stream of consciousness, very typical of Key and his naughty, naughty mind. the last six stanzas of this masterpiece finish the poem in a sestina which denotes the author's descent into madness, and his fight with the devil over his soul (a theme common to many national anthems. See also: "La Marseillaise", "O, Canada!" and "The Hamster Dance").
In a fever pitch, Key ran to the newspapers and had his masterpiece published at the incredible rate of one copy per hour. Within days, 72 or so copies could have possibly been within the hands of the local residents of Baltimore, and may have even reached Dover. Many critics, and Mrs. Key, praised Mr. Key's ability to use words and punctuation to form sentences.
Despite the critical acclaim that Key received, though, "Free Bird" simply could not even breach Billboard's Hot 100 for most listened to poetry of 1814. Key quickly spiraled out of control. The next four years of his life consisted of women, drinking and dropping acid into glass bottles clearly labeled 'dangerous' for a local chemist. It was the worst of times for Key. Then he died.
edit A New Life
In 1973, Leonard "fake pants" Dropsy and Bubba Bo-Rey Skinyard were traveling guitar salesmen for the Makeitup Guitar Company. Leonard and Bubba were at yet another diner trying to explain what a start is to a rather burly biker when someone in the diner asked for Leonard to play something. Oddly, nobody had ever seemed interested in hearing Leonard play one of his guitars, so the two salesmen were at a loss. Bubba Skinyard then remembered that he had a copy of Key's poem in his pocket; Bubba was trying to learn how to better himself, and was reading "Free Bird", but had not gotten past the second stanza due to "general retardation".
Leonard puts the performance this way: "I mean, there we were ready to play for these blokes and, I mean, I have to admit, I really didn't know what I was going to play or anything. I mean, you have to understand, I never played the guitar or anything before this point. I mean, you think I would, what with me selling guitars and all... but anyway. We're standing there, and the both of us just know that we're going to be spending the rest of the summer playing bitch to a motorcycle gang full of bald men with handlebar mustaches that could blot out the sun when I got real scared, see? So I prayed to God, see, 'cause I had no idea what to do, when suddenly, I looked down and my hand was just playing this angelic melody. Well, Bubba, he takes one look at me and his eyes are all bulging out of his head and then he just starts singing and what do ya know? It's 'Free Bird' baby!"
In order to maintain the feel of Key's work, Leonard proceeds to play out all 24 of the verses of "Free Bird" even if Bubba was "too stupid to even mumble along". The song is an immediate success. Leonard and Bubba sell a guitar.
The next day, Leonard and Bubba wander out of their Motel 6 room to find a throng outside. Incessant chants of "Free Bird!" filled through the air as nearby hooligans threatened to burn the motel down with their lighters. Leonard and Bubba proceeded to play the song again, and don't screw it up a second time. A record producer in the audience for DeusExMachina Records immediately signed them up for a record contract, and thus the band "Bybby Drypsy" was born. Unfortunately, someone had already taken that name, so they went with their back up name "Stephen".
edit Free Bird! Free Bird!
"Free Bird" fever was taking America by storm. Every rascal with a nickel in his pocket could pop down to the malt shop, stick it into the jukebox and shimmy away to the wild stylings of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even President Eisenhower was impressed with this little ditty, and was sure that it would help overshadow the rampant racism of the time. On January 3rd, 1973, "Free Bird" was declared the National Anthem of the United States of America (Thus retiring the ballad "America: The Song").
Soon "Free Bird" was played before every event in America that consisted of the gathering of at least two people. Tradition also dictated that, when the song begins, every man, woman and child sings along joyously while waving anything that might be on fire (flamethrowers are not only acceptable, they're recommended). On January 4th, 1973, new laws were instated by Eisenhower due to the fact that "some people are evidently queer or something. And not the good kind of queer that gives your house a makeover or heads the FBI. No, the kind of queer that likes to try to seduce me by walking around in leather skin-tight capris and insisting he's too good to sing 'Free Bird'". These laws made certain that everyone who heard "Free Bird" must join in the chorus and give at least "two hoots and/or hollers" throughout the course of the song. Also, if a person is holding a guitar in hand, and someone says the words "free" and "bird" directly after each other, that person must immediately play the full song or face a 40 year prison sentence (although, many witnesses to said crime commonly execute the perpetrator on the spot due to the embarrassment of both parties involved).