Just about every major singer gets the opportunity to perform the United States National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” at some point in their career. Some take a traditional approach while others risk it all by putting their own spin on the American classic.
In honor to Independence Day, we’ve compiled the 12 best renditions of all time.
Make no mistake about it, these performances are both notable and awe-inspiring. From Beyonce‘s flawless performance in 2004 and Alicia Keys‘ lengthy impressive piano version in 2013 to the best who ever did it, Whitney Houston, each of these renditions captures the spirit of America.
After the jump, see who else landed a spot on the coveted list.
12. Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross, one of the great R&B veterans of the ’80s and ’90s paired down the anthem and added a layer of sheer sophistication.
11. Carrie Underwood
Leave it to the country star of the group to add a bit of twang to the anthem. Her vocal performance is strong and dazzling.
10. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson brought the house down at the 2009 Super Bowl. Like everyone knew she would, Ms. Hudson showcased major control over her powerful instrument.
9. Alicia Keys
Keys proved why she’s the queen of the piano driven ballad in her slowed down (and we mean slowed down) version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Keys’ performance holds the record for the longest National Anthem ever sung at a Super Bowl clocking in at 156.4 seconds!
8. Kelly Clarkson
With a little bit country and rock and roll, Kelly Clarkson sails through her powerful performance with ease and grace.
A fresh-faced Beyoncé delivered a beautiful and symphonic laced rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” in 2004. She nearly brought the stadium to tears as she raised the bar for herself—once again.
6. Destiny’s Child
The vocal trifecta also known as Destiny’s Child blew everyone away at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game with a memorable rendition. Complete with unforgettable harmonies and solos, it was one performance fans won’t soon forget.
5. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is known as THE Voice. She sets aside the dramatics and gives it straight proving her vocal game is incomparable.
4. Aretha Franklin
A virtually unrecognizable Aretha Franklin gave the anthem a heavy, heavy dose of soul in 1992.
3. Patti LaBelle
Pattie LaBelle’s rendition left most of the audience present (and at home) deaf but stunned. Despite the critics, it was worth a standing ovation.
2. Marvin Gaye
Gaye provides perhaps the most original rendition of the anthem to date. The 1983 version is effortless, sonically pleasing and sexy–if we may say so!
1. Whitney Houston
Houston set the bar high in 1992 when she belted out the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Today it remains THE definitive version. Often replicated but never duplicated.
Who gave your delivered your favorite version of all time? Tell us!