Oh, say can you see?

In 1814, Francis Scott Key, watching the battle of Baltimore from a ship in the harbor, wrote what would later become the American National Anthem. The morning after the battle, he saw the Great Garrison Flag proudly flying 90 feet above Fort McHenry as a sign of victory. “Oh say can you see…” are powerful words that unfold a proud, glorious story every time they are sung.

The song’s tune, which was originally titled "To Anacreon in Heaven", is difficult for most people to sing due to the wide vocal range required to hit that “high F” at the peak of the anthem. Not all performers can pull it off the way everyone hopes, but when they do, it’s awe-inspiring.

Setting the gold standard

In 1991, Whitney Houston offered a jaw-dropping performance of the Star-Spangled Banner prior to Super Bowl XXV in Tampa Stadium. Many Americans, including Billboard Magazine, consider this to be one of the most memorable performances of the Anthem. Houston’s rendition was widely accepted as the gold standard and the song was so popular that Arista Records later released it as a commercial single. It immediately rose to the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 20 years later, following the 2011 re-release, the single rose to number six on the list.

Whitney Houston performing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV in 1991.


Over the decades, many performers, professional and non-professional alike have put their special touch on the National Anthem before sporting events and during special occasions. What is your favorite and most memorable performance of the Star-Spangled Banner? Let us know in the comments!