Worst National Anthem Performances in History
The Star Spangled Banner is serious business in the United States, and many sporting events take the opportunity to invite big name celebrities to their stadiums to give renditions of the tune. But sometimes they immediately regret their decisions, as the singers go hideously–and often hilariously–off the rails with horrible, terrible, no good, very bad versions of the song.
Fergie (2018 NBA All-Star Game)
The most recent fail, and really the impetus for this article, was so bad that even Vice President Mike Pence may have been tempted to take a knee if he had been present. Watch as the former Black Eyed Pea attempts her best Marvin Gaye impression, but instead hits closer to Roseanne Barr with her screeching and caterwauling. To her credit, Fergie did address the controversy, apologizing that she had missed her intended tone after getting dragged on the internet.
Steven Tyler (2001 INDY 500)
Steven Tyler has worn a lot of hats in his career: from big-lipped sex god in the ‘70s, to has-been and back again in the ‘80s, to creepy dad in the ‘90s, to everybody’s cool grandmother nowadays. But in 2001, he tried his luck at doing the honors before the Indy 500 and, well, we don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s possible that some of what we hear on his albums may have been studio magic instead of actual talent.
Carl Lewis (1993 NBA Finals)
To be fair to Carl Lewis, he wasn’t a professional singer like many others on this list. But to be unfair to Carl Lewis, dude botched it bad. Like, real bad. Like, if Kaepernick had heard it, he may have been upset by the disrespect shown to the anthem bad. Watch as Lewis forgets the words halfway through the first line, misses pretty much every note past the opening “Oh,” and immediately fails to live up to his promise to make up for it. Mercifully, running isn’t the only thing Lewis does fast, and he wraps it up quickly.
Roseanne Barr (1990 San Diego Padres Game)
What sets Roseanne Barr apart from the rest of the people on this list is that she is the only one who botched it intentionally. Say what you will about Lewis, Tyler and Fergie, but they seemed to take it seriously and give it a try. Barr screeched and laughed her way through the whole thing, even going so far as to grab her crotch and spit at the end as she was booed by thousands in attendance. Even though the whole thing happened nearly 30 years ago, her rendition is held as the nadir of public performances even today that nobody could hope to match, even if they tried.
(Cropped image courtesy Sen Chang via Flickr.)