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Just last night at the World Series, James Taylor, who was selected to sing the National Anthem, messed up big time. Unfortunately, he’s not the only person to ever have made a mistake with this tricky song.
Sure, singing in front of a stadium full of people is no easy task, but, at the same time, we expect the singers delegated to belt out this iconic song to be up for the job. Celebrities are often asked to do the honors, but heed my advice: just say NO if your voice can’t reach the high notes or you can’t handle performing for huge crowds. And, for crying out loud, know the words! James Taylor, Christina Aguilera, and other offenders, study up:
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Francis Scott Key is surely haunting these ten singers from his grave. Listen closely for the worst Star Spangled blunders of all time.
10) James Taylor sings the wrong song
James Taylor thinks our National Anthem needs an upgrade. When it was time to do the deed at the World Series last night, he began “American the Beautiful” instead of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Quickly realizing his mistake, he stopped and started, “Oh, say can you see.” Taylor was suppose to sing “America the Beautiful” later in the night, which is probably where the mix up came from.
9) Taylor Swift fell flat
At least Taylor Swift knew what song to sing; however, her version was a little meh. Swift just doesn’t have the quite the vocals for this tricky tune of “The Star Spangled Banner,” although it’s certainly far from the worst version we’ve heard. Plus, the crowd was probably distracted by her awesome silver glitter guitar anyway, so it’s all good.
8) R. Kelly sings to a hip hop track
R. Kelly doesn’t have the classic belting voice of a normal National Anthem singer, either, but he switched up tradition even more so by singing with a heavy beat in the background. To add insult to injury, he invites the crowd, who are supposed to be standing in respectful silence, to clap along to the song. Awkward.
7) The Fray depresses the crowd
The Fray also did their own version of the Anthem, complete with two guitars, a drum, and a tambourine. Their classic rock version was just a little sad though. And Isaac Slade’s voice, not so great (see: Taylor Swift). Stick to singing about cable cars, you guys.
6) Christina Aguilera sings the wrong line
Christina Aguilera made up for what the previous artists lacked in voice. However, her favorite line in the Anthem must be “What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming” because she sang it not once, but twice! She gives the beloved line an encore after “the perilous fight.” What about the ramparts, Christina? What about the ramparts?!
5) Steven Tyler fumbles
Steven Tyler starts off okay singing the National Anthem at the Ravens/Patriots game in January 2012. Then, it all goes downhill when he screeches the high note on “rockets’ red glare” and continues to say “as bombs bursting” instead of “the bombs bursting.” Then, he tries to turn “land of the free” into screamo. Yikes.
4) Michael Bolton forgets lyrics, reads off his hand
First, get over the terrible echo effect in the video. Then, fast forward to 0:40 and watch Michael Bolton forget what comes next and look at his hand (!) to remember. Come on, I didn’t even cheat off my palm in my freshman speech class.
3) Carl Lewis can NOT hit the high notes
Carl Lewis’ “rockets’ red glare” is even more cringe-worthy than Steven Tyler’s. At least he can laugh at himself, though. After Lewis promises the crowd he’ll make up for it, he continues butchering the Anthem by not even trying to hit the notes on “land of the free.” The crowd was not pleased.
2) Roseanne Barr screams the whole thing
Roseanne Barr wasn’t even trying to do a nice a job. Completely disrespecting the song, she screeches the entire Anthem and even laughs in the middle. Then, she proceeds to spit on the ground afterward. Classy.
1) Alexis Normand… just watch for yourself
I got some major second-hand embarrassment from this one. Jazz singer Alexis Normand completely freaks out and forgets most of the words. Although the hockey players are laughing at her, at least the crowd is nice, cheering encouragement and helping her sing the words.
Image: Wikimedia Commons