List of national anthem performers at the Super Bowl
"The Star-Spangled Banner" has been performed at every Super Bowl except for XI, when Vikki Carr sang "America the Beautiful" instead. In some recent years, the national anthem has been preceded by "America the Beautiful," and in very early years, the Pledge of Allegiance.
Early Super Bowls featured the national anthem being performed by marching bands. But as the popularity of the game increased, a trend where popular singers and musicians performed the national anthem emerged. Whitney Houston's performance at Super Bowl XXV in 1991, during the Gulf War, has been regarded as one of the best renditions of the U.S. national anthem in history. The performance was released as a single on February 12, 1991, appeared on the album Whitney: The Greatest Hits, and was re-released as a single shortly after 9/11. Faith Hill's XXXIV rendition proved popular in country radio. Following 9/11, her version entered the Country singles chart at number 35, despite not being released as an official single. It re-entered the same chart at number 49 in July 2002, and enjoys recurrent since then. During Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014, Renée Fleming became the first opera singer to perform the national anthem.
Five performers have rendered the national anthem at two Super Bowls:
- Grambling State University Marching Band (II & IX)
- United States Air Force Academy Chorale (VI & XXXIX)
- Aaron Neville (XXIV & XL)
- Billy Joel (XXIII & XLI)
- Marlee Matlin, ASL rendition (XXVII & XLI)
Performers who had previously performed the national anthem in their hometown area:
- Aretha Franklin (Detroit)
- Al Hirt (New Orleans)
- Aaron Neville (New Orleans)
- Beyoncé Knowles (Houston)
- Jordin Sparks (Phoenix-area)
- Diana Ross (Detroit-area)
- Piedmont Children's Choir, San Francisco Boys Chorus & San Francisco Girls Chorus (Stanford, California, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area)
- Grambling State University Marching Band at Super Bowl IX (New Orleans; Grambling is located in northern Louisiana)
Just days after Super Bowl XXV, a report surfaced that Whitney Houston lip synced her performance. It was confirmed that she was actually singing into a dead mic, but the performance heard in the stadium and on television was prerecorded. The disclosure, however, did not tarnish the performance's critical praise.
Since 1993, the NFL has required performers to supply a backup track. This came after Garth Brooks walked out of the stadium prior to his XXVII performance. Only 45 minutes before kickoff, he refused to take the stage, due to a dispute with NBC. Brooks requested that the network premiere his new music video "We Shall Be Free" during the pregame. The network chose not to air the video, due to content some felt was disturbing imagery. Brooks had also refused to pre-record the anthem, which meant the league had nothing to play if he left. Television producers spotted Jon Bon Jovi in the grandstands, and were prepared to use him as a replacement. After last-minute negotiations, NBC agreed to air a clip of the video during the broadcast of the game, and Brooks was coaxed back into the stadium and sang.
Following the "Wardrobe Malfunction" controversy during Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, all scheduled performers for Super Bowl XXXIX were chosen under heavy scrutiny. Game organizers decided not to use a popular music vocalist. The combined choirs of the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets were invited to perform. This was the first time since the second inauguration of President Richard Nixon in 1973 that all four service academies sang together.
At the beginning of Super Bowl XLV, Christina Aguilera sang the lyrics incorrectly. Instead of singing "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming", the pop star sang "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming". According to the New York Times, she also changed "gleaming" to "reaming".
Other patriotic performances
The following Super Bowls have also featured other patriotic performances besides the National Anthem:
- 1969: Apollo 8 crew
- 1970: Apollo Astronauts (This was the Super Bowl following the Apollo 11 landing)
- 1973: Apollo 17 crew (who were honored during a pregame tribute)
- 1977: Vikki Carr (in place of the national anthem)
- 2001: Ray Charles
- 2002: Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony and the Boston Pops Orchestra (this was the first Super Bowl following the September 11 terrorist attacks)
- 2005: Alicia Keys and a video of Ray Charles, as a tribute (this was the first Super Bowl following his death).
- 2009: Faith Hill
- 2010: Queen Latifah
- 2011: Lea Michele
- 2012: Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert
- 2013: Jennifer Hudson with the Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus
- 2014: Queen Latifah
- 2003: Celine Dion
- "Hudson's Super Bowl Lip-Sync No Surprise to Insiders". ABCNews.com. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "A fitting wartime rendition". St. Petersburg Times. 1991-02-04.
- "Warner can't match '07 magic vs. Steelers". ChicagoTribune.com. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Our National Anthem: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Rolling Stone. 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- Super Bowl XXV Highlight Film, NFL Films, 1991
- "Oh, Say, Can She Sing". St. John's Downtown. 2004-01-31. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Opera star Renee Fleming to sing national anthem at Super Bowl". CBS Sports. January 21, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "NBC Broadcast of Super Bowl III". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- NFL.com source currently states that Anita Bryant performed anthem, but NBC's broadcast of game, available from the Paley Center for Media's collection, shows that Geisler performed the anthem.
- Byron, Master Sgt. David (February 1, 2005). "Super Bowl goes super blue". Air Force Print News (af.mil). Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Garth Brooks Official Site - Discography
- Collins, Scott; James, Meg (February 4, 2005). "The Nation; After '04 Fiasco, Super Bowl Wants to Avoid Going Offsides". The Los Angeles Times (Home ed.). p. A01.
- Sandomir, Richard (2005-02-14). "Football? They Play a Game?". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Cadets to sing at Super Bowl XXXIX". Air Force Print News. af.mil. January 25, 2005. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- James Callow (February 7, 2011). "Super Bowl 2011: Christina Aguilera defends national anthem gaffe". The Guardian.
- Dean Schabner (February 6, 2011). "Christina Aguilera Mangles 'Star-Spangled Banner' at Super Bowl". ABC News.
- Elizabeth A. Harris (February 6, 2011). "Singing, Aguilera Trips O’er Ramparts". New York Times.
- "Super Bowl Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- Weseling, Chris (2013-01-30). "Sandy Hook, Newtown to be represented in Super Bowl". National Football League. Retrieved 2013-01-30.