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Ovation: The Star-Spangled Banner

07/04/2014

REPOSTED from July 4, 2013 …

StarSpangledBannerToday, the United States of America celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when the original Thirteen Colonies separated from Great Britain.  The federal holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, family reunions and sporting event.  The national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, will be performed an untold number of times throughout the day.

With the signature of President Herbert Hoover, The Star-Spangled Banner was made the official national anthem of the United States by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.  Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, the song, with a range of one and one half octaves, is known for being difficult to sing.  Because of this fact, many performers tend to embellish the melody or change it entirely to suit their particular abilities.

My all-time favorite rendition remains the performance by Whitney Houston and the Florida Orchestra in Tampa, Florida before the start of Super Bowl XXV in 1991.  Houston’s emotional interpretation came at a particularly patriotic time in the nation’s history, just after the onset of the Persian Gulf War.

Every time I hear this I get a lump in my throat and a chill down my spine.  Her voice was in spectacular form and her musicality captured the emotion of the nation during a very trying time.  This performance was released to the public as a charity single to raise funds for soldiers and families of those involved in the Persian Gulf War.

HoustonSuperBowlThe single was re-released after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at which time Houston, The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, Inc. and Arista Records donated their royalties and net proceeds from the sale of the single to the New York Fraternal Order of Police and The New York Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund.  Interestingly, the 2001 re-release peaked at number six on the US Hot 100 and was certified platinum, the first and only time for national anthem to do so.

Houston didn’t need to “make it her own” because she understood that The Star-Spangled Banner wasn’t hers alone … it belongs to every American.  One of the most powerful voices in the history of music was lost on February 11, 2012, but her patriotic spirit, her amazing vocal talents and this performance are a spectacular legacy to leave behind.

Happy Independence Day!

Please click HERE and HERE for previous Independence Day posts.

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One Comment
  1. Seeing this live at the Superbowl on TV was chilling. I agree it was the greatest performance I have seen of a very difficult song. The closest thing I have seen to hers, I saw live and in person at a NBA basketball game when Ben Vereen belted out a terrific rendition. I remember that one well, as he had one leg in front of the other and kept rocking into the microphone. Thanks for sharing Houston’s version again. It is still worth it.

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