Ohhh, Say Can You Sing The National Anthem? Great (And Not So Great) Renditions Of The Star Spangled Banner

I first heard Carl Lewis’s hilarious rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner on the Bob & Tom show.

Then I did some research, and found that he’s not the first one to completely mangle the national anthem in public!

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Here are some of the funniest (and most embarrassing) audio and video clips of people singing the Star-Spangled Banner badly — as well as some who sang it beautifully!


The Funny & Embarrassing

#1 – An oldie, but a goodie… Olympic sprinter, Carl Lewis’s “uh oh” moment while singing the National Anthem at a Chicago Bulls-New Jersey Nets game. (Kind of reminds you of an Imodium commercial!)


#2 – You can’t help but feel sorry for this little girl, Natalie Gilbert, as she forgets the words to the National Anthem and Portland Trailblazers coach Maurice Cheeks steps up to the plate to help her out. The next morning, in an interview with Good Morning America she described how “the worst moment of her life” turned into “the best moment of her life”. UPDATE: See what Natalie Gilbert is doing today.

Here’s the video where Cheeks saved her:


#3 – Here’s a police officer messing up the National Anthem pretty badly… how embarrassing:


#4 – This girl was singing the National Anthem at an NHL hockey game when she forgot the words early on and she walked off. When she returned moments later (with the words printed on a card) she fell and hit her head as she re-entered the ice. Can you say ouch?!…


#5 – And yet another rendition of a badly sung National Anthem:


Not Funny, But Controversial

R. Kelly sings the national anthem his way…

A Class Act…

On the other side of the picture, here are two of the most unique renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner that rank high among the most memorable anthems ever sung in public…

#1 –
Marvin Gaye’s soulful singing, accompanied by a drum machine, that caused the crowd to break out into cheers several times during the song. Here’s video of Marvin Gaye singing the National Anthem beautifully:


#2 – Jimi Hendrix’s classic break-out into a no-holds-barred electric guitar rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Here’s the video from Woodstock:

To learn more about the when and where these (and others) occurred, check out The Star-Mangled Banner: A look at some controversial, and botched, renditions of our national anthem.


#3 – Madison Rising puts a rock twist on the National Anthem in this video:


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