When Star Swain visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., she was about to join an elite club of singers who have won the hearts of the nation by singing her anthem: the “Star Spangled Banner.” In a video posted to Facebook, that has since received more than 15 million views, a man is heard encouraging the woman to let loose and sing. Without any backup singers, pre-recorded tracks, instruments or auto tune, Star Swain closed her eyes and began to sing. A crowd circled around her, watching silently as Star’s voice resounded, amplified by the natural acoustics in the Lincoln Memorial. Star sang the beloved verses of the “Star Spangled Banner,” to a hushed audience who only broke their silence with thunderous applause. Now, the public has made requests for Star Swain to join a host of other notable singers and perform the national anthem at Super Bowl 2017. You may watch the Lincoln Memorial impromptu, a cappella performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by Star Swain in the video below.
How the “The Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics were born https://t.co/EUTb0wbBZY
— TIME.com (@TIME) June 29, 2016
Star Swain’s stunning rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” and public cries for her to sing the national anthem at the next Super Bowl, brings to mind other notable celebrity renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Here is a list of some of the best performances of the “Star Spangled Banner” that have stood the test of time, drew the nation to praise and helped create a sense of pride in America while celebrating our nation’s symbol of freedom: Old Glory.
Whitney Houston “Star Spangled Banner” Video
The year was 1991, and pop-singer Whitney Houston was selected to perform the “Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV. Whitney’s performance would go down in history for her octave sailing notes, and for many remains the top performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” of all time. Whitney Houston’s working of the melody has become such a standard, that the “high note” she introduced in her phrasing has become a staple. Today, many singers perform the “Star Spangled Banner” and aim to reach the bar Whitney set when she performed the “Star Spangled Banner” in Tampa, Florida, at 27-years-old.
Beyoncé: “Star Spangled Banner” Video
Before Beyonce became the subject of a “Star Spangled Banner” lip-synching fail, she was praised for her version of the national anthem at the 2004 Super Bowl. Beyoncé is no stranger to singing the national anthem, and sang it (or lip-synced it) for President Obama’s 2013 inauguration. She also reconnected with Destiny’s Child, and the trio performed the anthem in 2006.
Despite the lip-synching controversy that prompted Beyonce to hold a press conference and sing the national anthem a cappella to prove to her doubters that she really could sing, Beyoncé’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner” continues to remain one of the best performances of all time.
Destiny Child’s harmonies on the “Star Spangled Banner” call to mind another trio of women who performed the “Star Spangled Banner” to amazing praise and acclaim, before being caught up in the midst of controversy for comments made regarding then president George W. Bush’s decision to go to war.
Here is the Dixie Chicks performing the “Star Spangled Banner” in what was undoubtedly one of the best performances of all time.
Jimi Hendrix salutes the crowd at Woodstock with a peace sign, after playing The Star-Spangled Banner. pic.twitter.com/wLq2PMbOf6
— Famous Photographs (@FAMOUSPH0T0S) June 21, 2016
Though not known for his singing prowess, and this list does compile the best singing performances of the “Star Spangled Banner,” it would be remiss not to mention the 1969 Woodstock performance that Jimi Hendrix gave where he honored Old Glory on his electric guitar.
In 2006, Kelly Clarkson sang the “Star Spangled Banner” in her native Texas for the NFL. The performance went viral, adding Kelly Clarkson to the list of top, Grammy-award winners who honored the nation and flag with their personal rendition of the national anthem.
Here is Kelly Clarkson singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”
What is your favorite performance of the “Star Spangled Banner?”