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Singing Respectful Songs
updated: Dec 26, 2013, 9:05 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

How do readers feel about singers who are asked to sing America or the Star Spangled Banner before an audience and try to turn it into a rock song? Yesterday I heard a singer singing Silent Night and practically yodeling the word "Virgin."

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 480213 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 09:26 AM

you have to be really really really good to pull it off, a la Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game or Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl. find those two performances on youtube, they set the bar.


 COMMENT 480215 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 09:36 AM

I don't care for the forced patriotism of having the anthem performed before almost every event imaginable.

The way it is sung by just about everyone is annoying and egotistical. The few who sing it as it's written are at least bearable to listen to.


 COMMENT 480220P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 09:51 AM

I'm a singer who despises the "yodeling" style of pop singing (that's what my daughter, who is also a singer, and I have always called it). And like @215, I don't really like having the anthem sung at every sporting event. It's always seemed kind of random to me -- just what is it about a baseball game that requires the national anthem?


 COMMENT 480223 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:00 AM

Agree with previous posters. Why the heck does it have to be at the start of athletic events? What does the rocket's red glare have to do with baseball or football? I have no problem with a performer adding in a touch of their own style. If the promoters ask,say, a country singer to do the Star Spangled banner, they should expect that the artist will do it in the style they are known for. If you commission Salvadore Dali to do your portrait, you would not expect it to be realistic, but in his own distinctive style. Yes, he COULD do it like a photo, but you'd feel cheated if he did.


 COMMENT 480224 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:02 AM

Personally it's not my job to control how others choose to express their creativity.... if I don't like I don't buy it.


 COMMENT 480225 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:02 AM

I like hearing the anthem especially when its done by a really creative performer. Love hearing it in a rock version. Even if it is sung by an amateur I still enjoy the effort. Takes a lot of guts to get up and sing the anthem.


 COMMENT 480226P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:07 AM

I agree that the current pop delivery style of vocal gymnastics is grating show-boating, and attempts to showcase the vocalist instead of the music and lyrics.


 COMMENT 480232 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:14 AM

Borat sang the best version in "Borat" -- even horses were awestruck!

I don't like our anthem either. It's way too war-llike. Something like America the Beautiful or NSA Uber Alles would be more realistic.


 COMMENT 480237 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:15 AM

232, the borat rendition was hilarious. also forgot to mention Jimi Hendrix's version in my first post, another classic.


 COMMENT 480247P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:36 AM

Rosanne Barr at the Padres game tops them all!



 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 10:36 AM

I think it would be cool if it was sang to rap..


 COMMENT 480258 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 11:20 AM

IMHO, the Star Spangled Banner sounds best with the full compliment of instrumentation thrown at it. ie - cathedral organ - all the stops out. 200 piece choir. 100 piece symphony orchestra. And a partridge in a pear tree. We should sound like how we are! Big and loud.


 COMMENT 480264 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 12:05 PM

As long as they sing it with pride for this country I am for it.


 COMMENT 480274P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 01:19 PM

247P beat me to it. After Roseanne's rendition, it is all downhill. No celebrity singer can EVER top her act. It's not un-American to butcher the anthem; any and all who try to sing it deserve applause. Oh-ho-say can you See-eeee-eeee!


 COMMENT 480281P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 01:31 PM

Why did the person who posted this write "for example?" Example of what? Is the question about one song only or some sort of genre?


 COMMENT 480284 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 01:33 PM

according to most of the post's. it seems we need to hear it more often. where is everyone's pride in america anyway ? remember, you don't know what you lost until it's gone.....


 REXOFSB agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 01:49 PM

If we had a decent national anthem that was easier to sing, we wouldn't have to worry about this in the first place. The octave spans and stupid words just beg to be subject to individual interpretation, a la Rosanne Barr and Borat. I'd suggest replacing the hackneyed Star Speckled Banner with This Land Is Your Land. I'd consider America the Beautiful, but it's got all that god stuff in it that has no place in a national anthem.


 COMMENT 480293P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 02:19 PM

Agree with a lot of the comments posted. Also, other countries don't flag wave to such an extent. We can be proud of our country without a lot of hoopla. Let our good qualities in themselves reflect our pride.


 COMMENT 480294P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 02:21 PM

Various renditions can be quite surprising. Silent Night, for example, by Mahalia Jackson is amazing.


 COMMENT 480298 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 02:46 PM

It smacks of jingoism to force standing and the anthem on sporting event spectators.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 07:05 PM

The Star Spangled Banner should be sung straight and proud, as written. Whenever I see a "popular" singer about to sing at a ball game I turn off the TV and ;eave the room. I also HATE singers crooning Christmas carols (such as Nat King Cole's version of Silent Night)


 COMMENT 480315 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 07:20 PM

213 here... i feel ya, both of my examples (marvin gaye, whitney houston, later amended jimi hendrix) embody the true passion for nation that existed prior to the freedoms we were stripped of post 9/11 pointed out by 301.


 COMMENT 480319 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-26 07:30 PM

...Star-Strangled Banner.


 COMMENT 480341P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 12:09 AM

I vote for the National Anthem to be performed as it's written. I think the artist who performs distinguishes himself or herself through that person's unique talent. If the voice is great I appreciate it.


 COMMENT 480349 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 08:29 AM

I can't get to the mute button fast enough.


 COMMENT 480350 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 08:29 AM

I love the group "Madison Rising" and think a reverent new spin on an old theme is great!


 COMMENT 480387 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 09:25 AM

REX of SB God was an integral part of this country's founding and history. The efforts of our founders, many who were Deists, to keep ORGANIZED RELIGION separate from secular federal and state govenrment is what they meant when they developed the doctrine of separation of CHURCH and STATE. They were not separating GOD from the state, it was the tenets of various organized religions they sought to separate. Many of our founders had suffered under the Church of England. The hierarchy of the Anglican Church which had heavily infiltrated government and they did not want a repeat in the "New World" of America. That is why our early government documents and other instrumentalities of government are repleat with references to God but NOT to Particular religious dogma. This is a popular misconception amongst atheists, agnostics and neo secular modernists, about what is meant by separation of Church and state.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 09:36 AM

A better song to sing for patriotism would be Woody Gutherie's "This Land is My Land"; this land is your land, from sea to shinning sea (etc).


 RHS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 10:02 AM

387 confuses and conflates history. The FF were deists in the sense that they believed that there was an original cause of the universe but they did not believe in any god that would intervene in the affairs of people. Christianity was particularly rejected by almost all who could not stomach the idea of a "trinity." In particular they did not want the Anglican Church in American politics. Most of the European immigrants came to the Americas to escape government religions and part of the revolution was about protecsting this. The Constitution specifically says there shall be no religious test for any office in the nation. The FF voted down language which would have stated the nation was a Christian one. Within a few years of starting government the unanimous Congress passes a treaty negotiated by George Washington and later signed by Adams that the US "is in no way a Christian nation." The FF were overtly hostile to religion in government.


 COMMENT 480440 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 10:53 AM

As far as sporting events, it's my guess the national anthem is used to bring the audience together for a short time so the game can officially begin. It's sort of like announcing to everyone that the event will now begin.

As far as how it's sung, I like to go back to the original form only. When a singer "embellishes" it, the focus then is on the singer. In fact, I'd rather just hear a recording than some singer trying to wail away.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 11:07 AM

Actually it would probably sound better if it was put to HipHop..than rap but rap would be cool too!


 COMMENT 480457 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 11:14 AM

RHS I don't know your definition of the meaning of "confuses and conflates" but, as I read your post, you have just said the same thing I did. Christianity, like Islam, Judeism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Budhism are all religious tenets. In most cases they all have a genesis in a belief in ONE GOD. The Deists simply believed they did not have to go to a church to communicate with GOD or had to do so through an earthly spokesperson in the fashion of a church official or a ritual performed in "the house of GOD". The phrase "separation of Church and State" as understood by our founders is not synonymous with separation of GOD and state. Deists believed in GOD but were skeptical of the manifestations of earthly spokespersons ministering THE word of GOD. In the more modern context, that is why one takes an oath to GOD, not Jesus, Muhammed, John Smith or some other earthly figure.


 COMMENT 480459P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 11:16 AM

The lack of respect for our country's national anthem is amazing. Maybe these people should go and live in a third world country or one with a dictator to develop their understanding of how great America is. They might change their tune.


 RHS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 11:30 AM

457--they did not 'communicate' with God. That is my point. They did not think God took heed of or cared about our problems. God (first force, Big Bang, whatever) set things in motion and let it develop. There was no plan. They rejected faith and trusted reason. Deism was pretty much what became science. Unfortunately the revolutionary nature of our revolution has been continually adultrated and corrupted by those who wouldn't have supported it in the first place. Basically these are the patriots of royalty (founded on God's choices) as compared to the patriot's of revolution based on reason and thought.


 COMMENT 480467 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-27 11:35 AM

We should be proud that we perpetuate our pride as Americans repeatedly and often. Many places around the world don't have a sense of unity and are internally antagonistic. BTW, the original tune was penned by the Anacreontic Society and celebrates wine, women and song. The tortured lyrics came later, but celebrate our persistence in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Various artistic interpretations are a mark of our expressions of individuality. As being of a certain generation, like it or not, Jimmy Hendrix'es version became an anthem within an anthem. That is why people everywhere want to become part of America. I always imagine the hoardes of southern immigrants, faces pushed up against the fences, listening and hearing the openning words: "Jose, can you see...?, wishing they could be a part of it all.


 COMMENT 480960P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-28 09:59 PM

It's inappropriate to sing it any way other than "straight." I love ray Charles' gospel influenced "America" but I feel that when it is a public service, it shouldn't be hyped up or showy r&b or anything but a straight version.

I too agree it is overdone and should probably only be sing at finale games such as the Super Bowl. OTOH, I'd like to think it gives the players a sense of perspective- they aren't at war, despite all the metaphors- and therefore they shouldn't try to win at all costs.


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