Happy Independence Day weekend everyone! This is one of my favorite holidays: Long weekend, nice weather, cookouts, fireworks, freedom, maybe some golf – I love it all! Tomorrow being America’s bday, I figured I would rank my favorite versions of our National Anthem. BTW, do people call it The National Anthem or the Star-Spangled Banner? Either way, I think that every professional sport that is on TV, should air the National Anthem performance before the game. I love watching it and seeing different people sing or play it. This is ‘Merica after-all, and we’ll basically do anything to get the patriotic feels going (cue the U-S-A chant).
Ranking this was kind of difficult for me. There’s a ton of “Best National Anthem performances” lists out there and they are seemingly all the same. And at some point I think such lists just turn into “Versions of the National Anthem” and don’t factor in how good they actually are but instead simply show different ways people sang it. And personally, I’m pretty particular about the way I think people should sing it, and don’t care much for people adding their own take to it. So a lot of versions go out the window for me when they screw up the final line, “home of the brave”. But I’ve got my four favorite versions that I think should be the blueprint for anyone looking to perform the National Anthem.
**Note: I’m not factoring in the performances’ environment or occasion, because that takes things to a whole other level.
4. Carrie Underwood
There was never any doubt that Carrie would perform the hell out of the National Anthem, so her version is of course on this list. There’s nothing fancy about it, just simply well-sung.
3. Marlana VanHoose
I forget what game it was, but I was in another room when the Anthem was on and when I was coming back into the room, my brother stopped me and rewound the TV. He said to not look and just listen to this version and then had me guess what this person looked like. I never would’ve guess this was her. I was absolutely blown away, I mean talk about pipes! Definitely check out the story that E:60 did on her!
2. Marvin Gaye
I know I said I don’t care much for people adding their own take to it, but this is the exception. Marvin Gaye adds soul to the Anthem in only the way he could with just an absolute effortless version.
1. Whitney Houston
There’s only one word to describe this version: Perfect.