6 of the Best — and 7 of the Worst — Performances of the National Anthem

This Fourth of July, you can bet you’ll hear plenty of renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner.” in honor of that, we thought we’d pull together five of the best — and five of the worst (let’s be honest, it’s not an easy song to pull off) — to help get you in the Independence Day mood.

First, a little history: The song was not made the official tune of the USA until 1931, after originating as a poem in 1914 by Francis Scott Key.

Now, to the music. In the spirit of saving the best for last, let’s start with some of the, shall we say, cringe-worthy ones.

First, some classics.

7. Carl Lewis:

6. Who can forget the classic Roseanne debacle:

5. This rendition from a brave 11-year-old has more than 1.1 million hits on YouTube (note, she redeems herself in this video):

By the way, before you get too tough on the little girl, watch the video below where she proves she definitely can sing and that the instance above was an outlier:

4. This is what happens when a Canadian signer is tasked with singing the American National Anthem:

3. The faces of this police officer’s comrades as he sings makes it worth the watch:

2. Professional, celebrity singers mess it up too. Steven Tyler seems to ad lib a word in around 0:53):

1. Michael Bolton had to pause and look at his cheat sheet (a.k.a. notes on his hand):

And here are some of the best:

6. 12-year-old Julia Dale has been wowing audiences at Miami Heat games:

5. Sebastien De La Cruz from San Antonio caused caused quite a storm this year after some on Twitter issued racial slurs for his singing of the National Anthem during the NBA championship game. Still, many more agreed his performance was a stunner:

4. Sometimes not straying from the traditional notes, keeping it simple, is best. The then 9-year-old Athena Creese did just that, belting out the song with power:

3. Even though she admitted she lip-synced to a prior recording, Beyonce accompanied by the U.S. Marine Band, which played live, for President Barack Obama’s second term inauguration this year was worth putting on the list:

2. You can’t beat the surprising voice that came out of then 7-year-old Anthony Gargiula:

1. Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem for the Superbowl in 1991 while US soldiers were overseas in the Persian Gulf War (note: Houston starts singing at 1:15). Some call it the best rendition ever:

If you have any favorites, let us know in the comments.

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