The French National Anthem: La Marseillaise

La Marseillaise is the French national anthem although it wasn't always so. This song wasn't even composed to be a national anthem, but to be a war song. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle wrote and composed it in Strasbourg on April 25th 1792. It was originally called 'Chant de Guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin' (War Song for the Army of the Rhine). It was written to reflect the invasion of Prussia and Austria, which was an ongoing war when the song was written. A young patriot from Montpellier named François Milleur sang it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille, and the people greatly liked it. When volunteers from Marseille came to Paris to revolt in the French Revolution, they sang it in the streets of Paris. The song became known as the 'Marseillaise', due to fact that people from Marseille first sang it in Paris. It became the Revolutions calling card and the Convention accepted it as the National Anthem on July 14th 1795. It was later banned successively by Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, and Napoleon III, who did not seem to like it. In 1879, 'La Marseillaise' was restored as France's National Anthem and it has remained there ever since.

'La Marseillaise' Instrumental

The music from 'La Marseillaise' was also used in many other things. In Russia, in 1875, Peter Lavrov, wrote Russian lyrics to the tune (not a translation) and it was used as revolutionary song. The Beatles used it as an introduction to their song 'All you need is love'. Frank Sinatra partly used it in his song 'Foreign French Legion'. Different versions of the tune are also used as themes for numerous rugby and football teams. It has been used in cartoons, games, movies and even featured in Monty Python sketches.


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