Hail to the chief wikipedia

Hail to the Chief

For the television series, see Hail to the Chief (TV series).

Personal anthem of the President of the United States

"Hail to the Chief" is the personal anthem of the President of the United States, adapted by James Sanderson from an original Scottish Gaelic melody.[1][2]

The song's playing accompanies the appearance of the President of the United States at many public events, it is also played at inauguration ceremonies.[3] For major official occasions, the United States Marine Band and other military ensembles are generally the performers, so directives of the United States Department of Defense have, since 1954, been the main basis for according it official status.[4] It is preceded by four ruffles and flourishes when played for the President. The song is also played during a former President's state funeral after the casket is removed from the hearse.[5] As it originated in the 19th century, the song is in the public domain due to its age.


Verses from Sir Walter Scott's 1810 narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, including "The Boat Song" ("Hail to the Chief") with which the clan welcomes the arrival by boat of their chieftain Roderick Dhu, were set to music around 1812 by the songwriter James Sanderson (c. 1769 – c. 1841); a self-taught English violinist and the conductor of the Surrey Theatre, London, who wrote many songs for local theatrical productions during the 1790s and the early years of the 19th century:[4]

Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances!
Honored and blessed be the ever-green Pine![4]

— The Lady of the Lake, 1810

Scott's romance was quickly made into unauthorized romantic melodramas. In November 1810, Scott wrote to a friend that The Lady of the Lake was being made into a play by Martin and Reynolds in London and by a Mr. Siddons in Edinburgh. About the same time, Scott received a letter from a friend and army officer who ended his note with a copy of the music of the Boat Song, "Hail to the Chief."

A version of Lady of the Lake debuted in New York May 8, 1812, and "Hail to the Chief" was published in Philadelphia about the same time as 'March and Chorus in the Dramatic Romance of the Lady of the Lake'. Many parodies appeared, an indication of great popularity.[6]

Association with the President first occurred in 1815, when it was played to honor both George Washington and the end of the War of 1812 (under the name "Wreaths for the Chieftain").[4] On July 4, 1828, the U.S. Marine Band performed the song at a ceremony for the formal opening of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was attended by President John Quincy Adams.[7]Andrew Jackson was the first living President to have the song used to honor his position in 1829, and it was played at Martin Van Buren's inauguration in 1837.[4]Julia Tyler, second wife of John Tyler, requested its use to announce the arrival of the President.[4] Her successor as First Lady, Sarah Childress Polk, encouraged its regular use in this manner after it was used at James Polk's inauguration; William Seale says, "Polk was not an impressive figure, so some announcement was necessary to avoid the embarrassment of his entering a crowded room unnoticed. At large affairs the band ... rolled the drums as they played the march ... and a way was cleared for the President."[4]

During the American Civil War (1861–1865) the piece was also used to announce the arrival of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. On October 3, 1861, Davis visited with Generals P. G. T. Beauregard, Joseph Eggleston Johnston, and Gustavus Woodson Smith at Fairfax Court House (now Fairfax, Virginia) for a Council of War. While at Fairfax, President Davis also conducted a formal Review of the Troops, which numbered some 30,000. At the start of the review, the band of the 1st Virginia Infantry struck up "Hail to the Chief" and concluded with "Dixie".[8]

President Chester A. Arthur did not like the song and asked John Philip Sousa to compose a new song, which was entitled "Presidential Polonaise". After Arthur left office, the Marine Band resumed playing "Hail to the Chief" for public appearances by the President.[9]

In 1954, the Department of Defense made it the official tribute to the President.[4][10] The 1969 hit anti-Vietnam war single, "Fortunate Son", by the American rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival, specifically named "Hail to the Chief" when referring to patriots and jingoists.


Sheet music for the song whose tune became the presidential fanfare, with the melody, on the middle staff, carried by "First Voice"

Lyrics that were written by Albert Gamse are set to James Sanderson's music, but they are rarely sung.

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that is our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!

The original lyrics, written by Sir Walter Scott, read:

Hail to the chief, who in triumph advances,
Honour'd and blessed be the evergreen pine!
Long may the tree in his banner that glances,
Flourish the shelter and grace of our line.
Heaven send it happy dew,
Earth lend it sap anew,
Gaily to bourgeon and broadly to grow;
While every Highland glen,
Sends our shout back again
"Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! i-e-roe!"

Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade;
When the whirlwind has stript every leaf on the mountain,
The more shall Clan Alpine exult in her shade.
Moor'd in the lifted rock,
Proof to the tempest's shock,
Firmer he roots him, the ruder it blow:
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,
Echo his praise agen,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! i-e-roe!"

Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin,
And Blanochar's groans to our slogan replied,
Glen Luss and Ross Dhu, they are smoking in ruin,
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on our side.
Widow and Saxon maid,
Long shall lament our raid,
Think of Clan Alpine with fear and with woe.
Lenox and Levon Glen,
Shake when they hear agen
"Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! i-e-roe!"

Row, vassals, row for the pride of the Highlands!
Stretch to your oars for the evergreen pine!
O, that the rosebud that graces yon islands,
Were wreath'd in a garland around him to twine.
O, that some seedling gem,
Worthy such noble stem,
Honour'd and blest in their shadow might grow;
Loud should Clan Alpine then,
Ring from her deepmost glen,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! i-e-roe!"

See also[edit]


  1. ^Golby, David J. "Sanderson, James". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24625. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^Robert A. Nowlan, Ph.D. (31 January 2016). The American Presidents From Polk to Hayes: What They Did, What They Said & What Was Said About Them. Outskirts Press. p. 63. ISBN .
  3. ^Hauser, Christine (2017-01-20). "'Hail to the Chief': The Musical Strains of Presidential Power". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  4. ^ abcdefgh"Hail to the chief (Song Collection)" in Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia
  5. ^"President George H.W. Bush U.S. Capitol Arrival Ceremony | C-SPAN.org". C-span.org. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  6. ^Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003, p. 108.
  7. ^"The President's Own" At the White House: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marine Band, 1798-1998 (Media notes). United States Marine Band. Washington, DC. 1998.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^"Memphis Daily Appeal, October 12, 1861, p. 2, c. 4"
  9. ^Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003, p. 110.
  10. ^Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003, p. 109-110.

Further reading[edit]

  • Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003. ISBN 0060513047

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_to_the_Chief

'Hail To The Chief': Fanfare Sought By Some Presidents, Avoided By Others

United States Marine Band via YouTube

Outside of show business, the presidency is one of the few jobs that comes with its own song.

In a tradition dating back to the 1800s, when the commander in chief enters the room, the U.S. Marine Band strikes up "Hail to the Chief."

It starts with the so-called "Ruffles and Flourishes" — four of them in succession. Then the song itself. A slow, melodic, instantly recognizable march — entrance music for the leader of the free world.

The first time presidents hear "Hail to the Chief" played for them is right after taking the oath of office. There are no firm rules for when — or how often — to use the song.

In these early days of the Trump administration, we haven't heard it much. He used it during a visit to a Boeing plant in South Carolina, but President Trump is just as likely to opt for the music featured at his campaign rallies, including the ultra-patriotic country ballad "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. That's what he used recently at the big Conservative Political Action Conference. It's less stately, but a crowd-pleaser — and easier to sing along to.

The real tradition of "Hail to the Chief" goes back to President James K. Polk, elected in 1844. It grew out of the practical, political instincts of first lady Sarah Childress Polk.

"Polk was not an over-the-top character; he wasn't larger than life," according to Thomas Price, curator of the James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, Tenn. "Sarah Polk mentioned that on occasion he would enter crowded rooms unnoticed."

James K. Polk, the 11th president of the U.S., was an unassuming figure. First lady Sarah Childress Polk had the Marine Band play "Hail to the Chief" so people would notice when he entered the room. Mathew Brady/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mathew Brady/Getty Images

James K. Polk, the 11th president of the U.S., was an unassuming figure. First lady Sarah Childress Polk had the Marine Band play "Hail to the Chief" so people would notice when he entered the room.

Mathew Brady/Getty Images

Polk was not a dashing military figure like some of his predecessors. He wasn't good at oratory or comfortable socializing. Price says the first lady recognized all of that as a potential problem for her husband.

But, with a keen sense of how Washington worked, she had an idea.

"Wanting to bring some fanfare to the presidency, she had 'The President's Own' Marine Band play the song 'Hail to the Chief,' " curator Price says, so that people would know the president had arrived.

From there it went on to become the president's official anthem.

Before Polk, the song — adapted in (or around) 1812 from an old Scottish tune, by orchestral conductor James Sanderson — had been played for earlier presidents, but not routinely.

Still, the song's use is subject to the wishes of any occupant of the White House. Some have despised it. President Chester Arthur even launched what today might be called a "Repeal and Replace" campaign against the song. He stopped using it, enlisting none other than John Philip Sousa to compose a new presidential theme song. The fact that you've probably never heard (or heard of) Sousa's "Presidential Polonaise" tells you how successful that effort was.

Now it's Trump's turn to decide how prominent "Hail to the Chief" is on his presidential playlist.

And, in case you were wondering — or hoping to sing along yourself — the song does have rarely heard lyrics, written sometime in the 1900s by Albert Gamse:

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,

Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.

Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation

In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,

This you will do, that's our strong, firm belief.

Hail to the one we selected as commander,

Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!

Sours: https://www.npr.org/2017/03/04/518333087/hail-to-the-chief-fanfare-sought-by-some-presidents-avoided-by-others
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The Story Behind the Presidential Anthem "Hail To The Chief"

(Originally published in 2017). Even though it's not a universal favorite among presidents, "Hail to the Chief" remains their official entrance theme. WRTI's Meridee Duddleston has more on the origin of the march that begins with the ultimate in fanfare, not three, but four "Ruffles and Flourishes."  

Credit Library of Congress

The Department of Defense declared “Hail to the Chief” the official presidential arrival tribute in 1954. But the story behind the tune begins with a blockbuster romantic poem completed by Sir Walter Scott in 1810. It didn’t have a thing to do with presidential pomp. Scott’s six-part poem titled “Lady of the Lake” involved a romantic struggle and a Scottish chieftain’s losing fight over territory in the Scottish Highlands.

The poem was a popular sensation. It made Scott famous and inspired musical adaptations performed in theaters in London and Edinburgh.

Philadelphia is credited with playing an early role the process that put “Hail to the Chief” on its presidential path. The Library of Congress notes one musical version, including the presidential melody with lyrics from the poem, opened in the long-defunct New Theater on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day 1812. Around the same time, a Philadelphia publisher printed sheet music titled “March and Chorus, ‘Hail to the Chief,’ in the Dramatic Romance of The Lady of the Lake.”

It was first used in a presidential context in 1815 to honor the belated George Washington and the end of the War of 1812, under the title “Wreaths for the Chieftain.” It was in 1829 that Andrew Jackson became the first living president to be honored by "Hail to the Chief." And when did the tradition of playing the anthem to signal the arrival of the president begin? It was First Lady Julia Tyler, wife of President John Tyler, who first made that request on behalf of her husband.

The song evolved over time and it’s the lyrics by Albert Gamse (1901-1974) that are known as the current words to “Hail to the Chief,” although they are rarely sung.

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,

Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.

Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation

In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.


Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,

This you will do, that's our strong, firm belief.

Hail to the one we selected as commander,

Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!


Radio script:

MUSIC: "Ruffles and Flourishes" tune, "Hail to the Chief," "The Presidential Polonaise"

Meridee Duddleston: Asked to name his favorite song, John F. Kennedy famously replied, “I think ‘Hail to the Chief’ has a nice ring to it.”

MD: The story behind the official presidential anthem begins with a six-part romantic poem penned by Sir Walter Scott in the early 1800s called “Lady of the Lake.” Scott’s tale was about power—not pomp. But one line, signaling the arrival of a Scottish chieftain, reads “Hail to the chief who in triumph advances.”

The popular poem sparked a flurry of musical adaptations—including the familiar melody in a song composed by a London theater orchestra conductor named James Sanderson. A version soon hopped across the pond to Philadelphia where it was performed at a theater on Chestnut Street. And in just a couple of years—with new lyrics—it made its way into patriotic repertoire.

In the late 1800s, President Chester Arthur didn’t much like what had, by then, become the presidential standard. He asked John Philip Sousa for a replacement.

MUSIC: "The Presidential Polonaise"

Sousa’s “The Presidential Polonaise” was just a one-term favorite. But it's the tune attributed to Sanderson, born of Walter Scott’s poem hailing a Scottish chief, that announces the President of the United States.

Sours: https://www.wrti.org/arts-desk/2021-01-20/the-story-behind-the-presidential-anthem-hail-to-the-chief

Hail to the Chief (TV series)

For the 1973 film, see Hail to the Chief (film).

Hail to the Chief is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from April 9 to May 21, 1985. It centred around the President of the United States, portrayed by Patty Duke. The series was created by Susan Harris,[1] and was produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions. It featured one of the few recurring gay characters in a 1980s television series (Randy, the Secret Service Agent portrayed by Joel Brooks).


Hail to the Chief is similar in style to the TV sitcom, Soap (from the same producers as this series), in that it was a comedy with open-ended storylines that parodied a soap opera. Patty Duke had the starring role as the President, Julia Mansfield. The show focused on President Mansfield's attempt at balancing her political career with raising her family.

Cast and characters[edit]



Patty Duke was cast as President Julia Mansfield.[2]Ted Bessell was cast as First Gentleman Oliver Mansfield.[3]Quinn Cummings was cast as Lucy Mansfield.Ricky Paull Goldin was cast as Doug Mansfield.


Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
1"Episode One"J.D. LobueSusan HarrisApril 9, 1985 (1985-04-09)
President Julia Mansfield is told that Brower, an Air Force general gone crazy, has taken control of a launch command center and will launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the USSR unless his demands are met. Julie calls Soviet Premier Zolotov to warn him, and is told that the Soviet Union will have no choice but to retaliate if she can't stop Brower. Later, Julia's husband Oliver confesses all of his past affairs to her, and she walks out on him.
2"Episode Two"J.D. LobueSusan HarrisApril 16, 1985 (1985-04-16)
General Stryker tells Head of Security Helmut Luger that Stryker's daughter is pregnant and that Luger is responsible, unaware that Julia's son Doug is really the father. Corrupt televangelist Rev. Billy Joe Bickerstaff plots to have Julia impeached. Oliver's mistress Darlene threatens to ruin him when he tries to end the affair; in an attempt to make up for all his past mistakes, Oliver promises God that he will save the world by stopping Brower.
3"Episode Three"J.D. LobuePaul Junger WittApril 23, 1985 (1985-04-23)
Oliver confronts Brower and is shot in the process; later, Julia tells a comatose Oliver that all is forgiven. Meanwhile, Ivan Zolotov, head of the KGB and the premier's twin brother, arrives at the Russian embassy and instructs his agent Darlene to stay by Oliver's side so she can continue to get information.
4"Episode Four"J.D. LobueBarry Fanaro,
Terry Grossman,
Mort Nathan,
Kathy Speer,
Tony Thomas
April 30, 1985 (1985-04-30)
Oliver recovers, believing that Heaven has given him a second chance. His daughter Lucy is sleeping with Raoul the butler, but Raoul says that he can't commit to a serious relationship until his people in Contrapointa, South America, are free. Darlene visits Oliver in the hospital. Stryker tells Luger to marry his daughter Muffin, under threat of death. Rev. Billy Joe finds two wealthy oil barons, Clovis and Lamar, who are willing to help him with his plan.
5"Episode Five"J.D. LobuePaul Junger WittMay 7, 1985 (1985-05-07)
Oliver, who is now home from the hospital, still can't make love to Julia because he feels guilty about cheating on her again. Clovis and Lamar find some dirt on the President's personal accountant, Irving Metzman (George Wyner), and force him to help them plot against Julia. Oliver breaks it off with Darlene but not before having "one last time together," unaware that the KGB is secretly filming the whole thing.
6"Episode Six"J.D. LobueMort NathanMay 14, 1985 (1985-05-14)
Clovis and Lamar give Metzman some money to secretly put into government contracts, in the names of Julia's family, as personal investments to make it appear that she gave her family inside information. They then tell Rev. Billy Joe to attack Julia on his talk show. Ivan Zolotov confronts Oliver, letting him know that if he doesn't do what Ivan says the world will see the film of him and a Russian agent.
7"Episode Seven"J.D. LobuePaul Junger WittMay 21, 1985 (1985-05-21)
Raoul leaves for South America and Lucy follows after him. Luger has dinner with Stryker's family and, after seeing how crazy they are, decides to marry Muffin if for no other reason than to get her out of the house. Ivan gives Oliver a list of demands. Later Ivan admits to a colleague that if Oliver doesn't come through for them he has a better plan — a plan to put a Soviet agent in the White House, at which point he introduces his newest secret agent: Rev. Billy Joe!


Critical response[edit]

John J. O'Connor of The New York Times wrote in his review: "Hail to the Chief features Patty Duke as the first female President of the United States surrounded by assorted misfits in a format that is intended to be, as they like to say, zany and irreverent. This one's sour, to say the least. [...] As for Hail to the Chief, there hasn't been anything so furiously wacky on prime-time television since Soap got a broad cross-section of protest groups worked up almost a decade ago - even before the show went on air. Not surprisingly, both series come out of Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions. Susan Harris is the creator and writer. Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas are the producers. It is perhaps a sign of the times that Hail to the Chief, which goes several kinky steps beyond the outrageousness of Soap, is making its debut without so much as a raised eyebrow, even though the advertisements for the equal opportunity offender promise that you'll say, I thought they couldn't do that on TV."[6]


Hail to the Chief, which featured Patty Duke as the President, got off to a very good start, attracting 32% of the available viewers and winning its time period for the April 9 premiere. But it drew only 24% the following week, 23% for the third episode and 22% for the fourth.[1]


Hail to the Chief was canceled in May 1985 after seven episodes.[1] ABC continued to air repeats of the series through July 20, 1985.



  1. ^ abcMargulies, Lee (May 21, 1985). "'Hail To The Chief' Goes To A Quiet Death On Abc". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  2. ^Chicago Tribune Staff. "Julia Mansfield, 'Hail to the Chief'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  3. ^Oliver, Myrna (October 9, 1996). "Ted Bessell; Actor, Director Co-Starred in 'That Girl'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  4. ^O'Connor, John J. (April 9, 1985). "TV REVIEWS; 2 SITCOMS: 'LUCIE ARNAZ' AND 'HAIL TO THE CHIEF'". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved September 1, 2017.


  • Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York City: Ballantine Books. p. 574. ISBN .
  • Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). New York City: McFarland & Company. p. 425. ISBN .
  • Justin S. Vaughn; Lilly J. Goren, eds. (2012). Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 108. ISBN .

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_to_the_Chief_(TV_series)

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