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The “Curse” of the National Anthem

“The Star-Spangled Banner” may be America’s National anthem, but singing it is a perilous challenge for even trained professional performers, especially at big public events like the Super Bowl.

Besides the conflict in the game itself, another competition, almost equally watched and rated, is the opening ceremony when the dedicated Singing Star for the game tackles, or is tackled by, the challenge of singing the National Anthem.

Conquering the American National Anthem is often as much of struggle as the game itself, and like the game, the dedicated singer must overcome both the elements and their other adversary; which is the National Anthem itself.

Anyone who has attempted to sing ”The Star Spangled Banner” knows it‘s a struggle, even for professionally trained singers. The lyrics alone can be a challenge. So who can blame Michael Bolton, who had the lyrics scribbled on his hand in a desperate attempt to remember the words?

Dealing with the music is one thing; dealing with the lyrics itself is even a greater challenge. At Christina Aguilera’s Super Bowl XLV moment she choked, singing ”The Twilight’s Last Gleaming” instead of those “Broad Stripes and Bright Stars So Gallantly Streaming”.

But if the Super Bowl is the ultimate challenge for a champion football team, then perhaps it’s only right that famous singing stars should be challenged as well. After all, the tune of American National Anthem is based on an old English drinking song. And making anyone sing it in public would drive anyone to drink.

So who can blame Cyndi Lauper for singing “O’er the ramparts we watched, while the frag was still streaming” at a The U.S. Open? But why would anyone, giving its reputation, ask comedian Roseanne Barr to “sing” the National Anthem at the 1990 San Diego Padres opening?