Singing in Front of the Largest Audience in the World – 10 of the Best National Anthem Performances at the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the most anticipated sporting event of the year in the United States. Hundreds of Millions of people watch two of the best football teams of the year take to the field, for one last time. It’s fitting to see that before the most iconic sporting tradition of the country gets underway, a live performance of the country’s most significant musical marvel, the national anthem, is given, which gets everyone in the groove to have the best evening of the year.  A total of 30 artists have performed the greatest American song at the greatest American sporting event since 1967; here are our top 10 performances ever:

Faith Hill in Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)

Faith Hill is widely regarded as the greatest country musicians of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums. She was handed the mic in the year 2000, and her rendition of the national anthem was one that resonated in the minds and hearts of the audience for many years to come.

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She didn’t have any significant backing band, so it was her voice that took center stage. Other performers would typically have all the support they could get, but Faith didn’t shy away from virtually doing it all on her own. She ends her performance with a clench of the fist, a casual grin, and a big Whoo. She was brilliant, and oh, did she know it.

Lady Gaga in Bowl 50 (2016)

Lady Gaga finally got her shot at the Super Bowl in 2016. During the year, she had already given her fans a lot to hear. She made numerous appearances in support of Cheek to Cheek, and also released an album alongside Tony Bennet. Not to mention the brilliant medley she performed at the 87th Academy awards.

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When given center stage, Gaga presented a unique rendition of the song; one which involved a full-throated, vehement take. Gaga wore a beautiful red pantsuit and complemented that by blue starred nails and platform shoes; it was a fitting tribute to the country flag.

Dixie Chicks in Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)

The Dixie Chicks are known for their big personalities, but after 2005, they were also known for their big performance at the Super Bowl. Their rendition involved a simple approach that was made powerful by the use of alluring melodies.

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The powerful patriotic performance happened a few weeks before Natalie Maines, the lead singer’s comments about President George W. Bush. The comments sparked a political controversy which has haunted the Dixie Chicks ever since.

Choirs of the Armed Forces in Super Bowl XXXIX (2005)

In 2005, the organizers decided to do something a bit different. They took a break from having an acclaimed musician perform the song, and instead, tried to shine the spotlight on the armed forces.

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Choirs from all four sections of the Armed Forces, teamed up with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, to perform so poignant, that no artist has managed to match it ever since. The performance was especially significant since the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were escalating at the time.

Kelly Clarkson in Super Bowl XLVI (2012)

Kelly Clarkson became famous when she won the first ever season of American Idol, but that’s not the only feather in her cap. After releasing many critically acclaimed albums and singles, she was given a chance to perform at the Super Bowl in 2012.

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She gave a very heart-melting rendition of the country’s prime song in Indianapolis. A heavenly backing choir complemented her melodious voice to perfection.

Mariah Carey in Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

Mariah Carey has been a pop queen for decades now. Some find it hard to believe that she didn’t get her Super Bowl shot till she was almost ten years into her career. Mimi’s turn at the center stage was significant since it was the first Super Bowl after the 9/11 attacks.

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The flashback of the building falling still played in the minds of the Americans as they assembled in the stadium, and it was high time they listened to something uplifting and pure. Mariah performed an apt, heartfelt rendition of the song, which involved her reaching the whistle register for the land of the free.

Whitney Houston in Super Bowl XXV (1991)

Whitney Houston set the bar high when she gave a rousing performance of the national anthem in 1991. As the Persian Gulf War was in full bloom, her dominant performance was attuned to the breeze of patriotism that was soaring in the country.

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The public adored the performance so much that Arista Records ended up releasing the song as a single. The song also reached the #20 spot on the Billboard hot 100. When Houston reissued the song after the 9/11 attacks, it climbed up to reach the #6 spot.

Luther Vandross in Super Bowl XXXI (1997)

Luther has a voice as smooth as silk, and as powerful as the gist of Star-Spangled Banner. In 1997, he gave such a pleasant rendition, while being backed by a silky R&B arrangement, that people were made to remember Marvin Gaye’s performance at the NBA All-Star in 1983.

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Luther’s performance had a lot of enthusiasm as well. It showcases his brilliant vocal power and purring abilities.

Jennifer Hudson in Super Bowl XLIII (2009)

The Oscar winner’s rendition involved a few nervous sighs during the initial notes, but as she proceeded, she blew the crowd away. She had a highly capable orchestra backing her. The performance keeps improving from start to finish; the faint beginning transforms into a powerful delivery of the final notes, owing to Jennifer’s trademark vocal power.

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The performance was more significant to Jennifer than you might think; it was her first live appearance after the murder of her brother, young nephew, and mother, the previous month.

Beyoncé in Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)

Queen Bee just has to make every list related to musical greatness, and who are we to keep her out of this one? In 2004, Beyoncé was given a chance to give a Super Bowl performance; she could either do the national anthem or any other song during the halftime show, that too, in her native town Houston.

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She didn’t think twice before opting for the national anthem, a childhood dream. It’s worth mentioning that this was only six months after Dangerously in Love had come out, and Bey wasn’t the queen we know, at the time. However, she gave us a performance to remember, and many after that.