By Jack Barnes
Jon Batiste’s masterful reinterpretation of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the lyrics of which were first published in The Atlantic in 1862, is now available to stream on all music platforms following its premiere as the theme song of The Atlantic’s podcast Radio Atlantic. The renowned jazz musician and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader has also been named Music Director of The Atlantic, a newly created role. As music director, Batiste will collaborate with the editors on a range of projects, from writing to video, to live events.
In his first piece for The Atlantic, published this morning, Batiste details his process of reimagining “The Battle Hymn,” and his belief that a melody can carry an undeniable purpose even before it gets paired with a lyric.
“I’ve gotten to know Jon fairly well, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s an actual genius,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic. “I’m just thrilled that he’s going to work with us across our many platforms. His rendition of The Atlantic’s theme song, ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ has resonated with so many people, and for us here The Atlantic, it connected our glorious past to our promising future.”
The Atlantic asked Batiste to create his own reimagined version of “The Battle Hymn” for the podcast, which debuted in July. Batiste’s composition is performed solo on piano, percussion on piano, and with his own vocals. A short documentary by Atlantic Studios hears from Batiste about the creative inspiration behind his work.
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