What is the History Behind the Battle Hymn? – Marion English was brass section leader and asked Jeff Simmons to do a warm up for the trumpet section based on the Battle Hymn. Marion’s initial idea came from the slow Elvis version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. They prepared by listening to that recording before Jeff wrote the first draft. Jeff had been studying Wagnerian harmony with Dr Neilson, so incorporated some of that theory into the tune … plus some jazz (since that is Jeff’s bag). At least one session, they worked almost all night. The brass loved it, so they expanded it for full band. On first reading, Dwight Satterwhite stopped the band at the big suspension before the key and said, “this won’t work” Jeff jumped over three isles and said, “Oh yes it will”… And the rest is history.