10 Renditions of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ You May Have Forgotten About
In honor of Fourth of July, it’s your patriotic duty to enjoy a handful of stunning performances of our nation’s anthem… and, of course, a few cringe-worthy renditions.
Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, and Marvin Gaye’s national anthem performances are arguably the best renditions in American history. Since then, famous pop, rock, country, and R&B singers have looked to achieve that same success when they take the mic at the Super Bowl, World Series, and other major sporting events. Some draw inspiration from these greats, others put their own spin on the classic, and a few simply cannot rise to the challenge.
1) Beyoncé took on “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl in 2004. Her stunning rendition made Beyoncé an easy choice to sing the national anthem at Barack Obama’s second inauguration, and return as the Super Bowl halftime performer in 2013. Who can forget how Queen Bey was too much for the Superdome to handle?
2) Demi Lovato showed off her hometown pride while singing the national anthem before Game 5 of the 2011 World Series in Dallas, Texas. The singer put her vocal range on display in a bold a cappella rendition.
3) Christina Aguilera undeniably has the powerhouse voice to do “The Star-Spangled Banner” justice. However, Aguilera botched the lyrics, merging the second and fourth lines together at the Super Bowl in 2011. She managed to get back on track, but her final note resembles more of a screech than a triumphant pop diva moment.
4) R. Kelly must have been trying to pay homage to Marvin Gaye when the former chose this soulful arrangement of the national anthem for a boxing match in 2005. Between the dancers and encouraging audience members to clap (perhaps a handful did, you can barely hear), Kelly’s rendition is best described as awkward.
5) Alicia Keys sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” while playing a grand piano. Not many singers can pull this off, but Keys’ soulful performance at the 2013 Super Bowl is worth watching again.
6) Marc Anthony showed off his vocals in his emotional national anthem performance at the 2011 NBA Finals. However, it wasn’t until his 2013 performance of “God Bless America” at the MLB All-Star game that sparked controversy. The New York native spoke out against social media criticism who said that it was “un-American” for him to take on the patriotic song.
7) The Dixie Chicks provided a pleasant three-part harmony at the 2003 Super Bowl. Any country music fan would enjoy this throwback.
8) This list would be incomplete without an American Idol winner’s performance of the national anthem. Kelly Clarkson is known for being a solid anthem singer, but her performance at the Super Bowl in 2012 with a children’s choir is one of her best.
9) Justin Timberlake performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Memphis Grizzlies game in 2001 (in his *NSYNC days). Although the Memphis native would go on to have his infamous Super Bowl moment in a half-time performance with Janet Jackson, Timberlake showed his solo potential and proved that he could take on the national anthem.
10) New Orleans natives Dr John and Aaron Neville, along with Aretha Franklin, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a gospel choir at the 2006 Super Bowl. The three did not mesh well together and Franklin struggled to hit some of the high notes, creating into a performance with a good amount of soul but not much luster.