Composer and bandmaster John Phillip Sousa was the greatest musical star of his era. He was so popular that when he left the Marine Band in 1892 to start his own band it toured the nation with unparalleled success. Four years later, while vacationing in Europe with his wife, Sousa received word that his good friend and manager David Blakely had died. Sousa quickly boarded the S.S. Teutonic bound back for the states, and it was aboard the ship that he got the idea for “The Stars and Stripes Forever”. He didn’t write a note until he got off the ship, but when he reached the shore, he wrote down the tune that had been playing over and over in his head the entire journey and never changed a note. His band would go on to play the march for the next twenty-five years at almost every concert it held.