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Hear the Decemberists’ ‘Ben Franklin’s Song’ From ‘Hamilton’ Project

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote lyrics for track as part of monthly “Hamildrops” series, featuring unreleased ‘Hamilton’ content

The Decemberists resurrected an unused set of Hamilton lyrics with “Ben Franklin’s Song,” the first installment of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s monthly “Hamildrops” series.

The triumphant, expletive-laced folk-rock track chronicles Franklin’s numerous accomplishments as an inventor, writer and diplomat. “Do you know who the fuck I am?” bandleader Colin Meloy sings on the chorus, adding at the climax, “I am Poor-Richard’s-Almanack-writing, polymath, bifocal-wearing, hardened glass-harmonica-playing Benjamin Fuckin’ Franklin.”

Miranda originally wrote the song for his hit musical, but discarded it after he couldn’t figure out how to implement the scene. The writer-actor then reached out to Meloy in 2016, asking if the Decemberists could record their own version of the track. “Funnily enough, he said he’d imagined Franklin singing in a sort of Decemberist-y way, whatever that means,” the band wrote in a post on their website.

“We hope you like it,” they continued. “It was a lot of fun to write and record. If you’re a HAMILTON fan, we hope it will add a new dimension to the world of the show for you – but you can also just enjoy it as a history lesson. Franklin invented bifocals, you know. And the glass harmonica. WHAT A F***ING GUY.”

“Ben Franklin’s Song” launches the “Hamildrops” series, which will feature new Hamilton-related content every month through December 2018. Miranda – who previously wrote an essay for the band’s 10th anniversary box set of The Crane Wife – enthused about the track in a statement, detailing how the collaboration came together. 

“‘Member how I said I once wrote some Decemberists-esque lyrics for a Ben Franklin tune, but never set ‘em to music?” he wrote. “So I sent the lyrics to @ColinMeloy. And HE set it to music as only he and his crew can. It absolutely blew me away. Went BACK to write lyrics for a bridge for him. He took it to @The Decemberists & they brought Ben Franklin to life.”

Last year, Miranda recruited Sia, Miguel, Nas and more for the all-star Hamilton Mixtape. The Decemberists issued their seventh LP, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, in 2015. 

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