Katherine Lee Bates originally wrote this song as a poem, which immediately took a patriotic role within American society during the late 1890s. It wasn’t until 1910 that the poem was published as a song alongside Samuel A. Ward’s music and ever since it has been regarded as an iconic American song. This is primarily because of its patriotic language, as suggested by the title and it therefore represents a proud nation within America that holds the song in high regard. It has been suggested that many people believed that this song should have taken the role of the National Anthem, highlighting its popularity among the people. Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and many more have performed the song but Ray Charles’s version remains most popular in America. It must therefore be recognized the iconic appeal of the song to be performed by such stars of their day and in this sense it almost acts as a rewarding or advantageous part of an artist’s career.
Ray Charles, a well-known gospel-soul artist during the 1950s, was also known for his controversies but his music remains legendary and the introduction R&B and rock ’n’ roll within his songs are famous world wide. Arguably Ray Charles helped to reshape American music and also contributed to racial integration during the 60s. In this respect it is iconic for this black artist to be performing an iconic American song that glorifies the country where he found his success, and ultimately his liberty. This is an important milestone in American history and is truly representative of the country that still today struggles to move completely past racial discrimination. This song performed by Ray Charles however is a representation of a more forward moving society, and in this sense the title becomes more believable.
This song is an icon within American society. Not only is it popular and respected among the people but also it has a long history within society and with various other icons that too have come to represent the country, such as Ray Charles. The overlapping nature of such a performance further enhances the iconic stature of this song, making it more memorable and allowing it to evolve and survive in modern times. The latest advertisement for Coca-Cola for example for the 2014 Super Bowl featured the song, which was sung in a variety of different languages, which represented the vastly diverse nation that America is today. In this sense ‘America the Beautiful’ has evolved to represent a different America that it was originally made to represent, and this has gradually changed over time but the fact that the song has survived and remains important within American society is enough to display that it is in fact an American icon.