Unfortunately for "Presidential Polonaise," it never caught on, and "Hail to the Chief" made a return. Sousa was undeterred; he would go on to write, among other patriotic classics, "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
President Jimmy Carter, in seeking to make the trappings of his presidency a little less regal, asked that "Hail to the Chief" not be played when he made public entrances. This turned out to be a highly unpopular decision. Carter would later tell CBS News: "One of the most unpleasant things that surprised me was when I quit having 'Hail to the Chief' every time I entered a room, but there was an outcry of condemnation." Before long, "Hail to the Chief" was back.
The Marine Band continues to play it as presidents make their entrances. The words, however, continue to mostly go unsung, and that will almost certainly be the case during the inaugural festivities these next few days.
In the spirit of the history of this -- and as a nod to what might have been -- we leave you with a parting gift of music.
On behalf of Chester A. Arthur, please click and enjoy the song you never got the chance to tap your feet to. Ladies and gentlemen, the Mount Prospect, Illinois, Community Band performs, for your listening pleasure, "Presidential Polonaise."
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