By: Renee Grant
On Sunday, two NFL teams take each other on for the right to brag for the next 7 months until we start all over again in September. It’s going to be quite the fight, and families and friends all over the country are getting their snacks stocked and collecting the cold drinks in anticipation.
While the game is the main reason for the fun, there’s also the fun Super Bowl commercials, the halftime show performances, and of course, the singing of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.
Over the years, we’ve seen some incredible renditions of the tune. From the incomparable (and arguably the best) Whitney Houston to Kelly Clarkson, we’ve been treated to great voices over the years. Below are five of the most memorable performances of the national anthem to open the Big Game.
- Luther Vandross – 1997
It’s been far too long since we’ve been able to hear new music from the late, velvet-voiced Luther Vandross. In 1997, the crooner gave a soul-stirring rendition of the song that was both sultry and powerful.
- Choirs of the Armed Forces – 2005
While most of the singers of the past have been big names, the choice to have members of the U.S. Armed Forces sing during a time of war proved both poignant and important. Their rendition featured choirs from all five American military branches, accompanied by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.
- Faith Hill – 2000
Country star Faith Hill took the mic in the year 2000 to sing the first rendition of the national anthem at a major sporting event in the new century. Her version was fairly simple, but the vocals were pure, you couldn’t help but feel it, and it felt as American as apple pie and country music.
- Jennifer Hudson – 2009
Just four short months after the brutal loss of her mother, brother and nephew, Jennifer Hudson emerged for her first public performance since their deaths to sing the national anthem. Her trademark powerful voice wowed the fans of the stadium, and her amazing voice rivaled another unforgettable performance of the song. Watching her get through the moment was a testament to her personal battle, and the graceful way she was able to heal.
- Whitney Houston – 1991
Obviously, the most widely known and remembered version of the national anthem ever performed, Whitney’s is the one all versions since have aspired to become. Another wartime rendition, Whitney’s label saw the value in releasing her performance as a commercial single, capitalizing on the country’s sense of patriotism at the height of Whitney’s popularity. The single peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard charts, but it saw a resurgence and reached No. 6 on the chart after the attacks on September 11, 2001.