From Beyoncé and Chris Stapleton to Whitney Houston, These Are the Best Super Bowl National Anthems

1 month ago We Got This Covered

The 2023 Super Bowl might have been football’s biggest night, but there were several performances that put artists in the limelight as well. From Rihanna’s historic halftime show, which marked her first live musical event in years, to Sheryl Lee Ralph’s majestic rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and a beautiful national anthem performance by Chris Stapleton, the musicians were definitely a major highlight last night. 

As far as national anthem covers go, each year marks a new take on the unifying song. While there have been a few botched performances here and there, most interpretations have been widely lauded, but which execution takes the cake as the best?

Here’s a ranking of the 10 best “The Star Spangled Banner” performances at the Super Bowl.

10. Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church

One of the more recent versions on this list, the pairing of Southern country rock singer Eric Church and the glossy R&B crooner Jazmine Sullivan might not have sounded great on paper, but the duo delivered a wonderful cover at the 2021 Super Bowl. Sullivan showed off her signature runs, while Church kept the pace with some soulful country and his guitar.

9. Faith Hill

Country music icon Faith Hill proved once again why she remains one of the most successful singers worldwide at the 2000 Super Bowl. Leaving all the theatrics at home and opting for a simple attire and her golden powerhouse of a voice, Hill shook the stadium with her national anthem cover. Her piercing vocals rang throughout the performance, and she took things a lot further by effortlessly belting out the climax.

8. Luther Vandross

Another delivery that might not have looked so good on paper, music legend Luther Vandross gave a unique spin to the anthem. In 1997, the gleeful tenor was all smiles as he sang the national anthem with so much soul and heart, serenading the crowd with his R&B take on the song.

7. Lady Gaga

The year was 2016, and Super Bowl 50 was blessed with a powerful rendition of the national anthem by Lady Gaga. In a bright shiny red suit, the talent showed off her immaculate vocal strength by belting out the anthem with so much vim and power, bringing the crowd to its feet. Lady Gaga’s cover is widely considered one of the best ever, and rightfully so. 

6. Cher

By 1999, Cher was already more than a household name, having been a star for over three decades at that point. Still, the icon held nothing back, utilizing every inch of her signature voice to amaze the crowd yet again. In a shimmery top and jeans, the fashion icon chose a much simpler look for her cover, ensuring that her voice was the star of the day. 

5. Beyoncé

15 years ago today, Beyoncé performed the national anthem at the 2004 Super Bowl. 👑

Beyoncé was initially offered the choice to do either the halftime show or the national anthem—only six months after her debut album was released—and she decided to go with the latter.— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) February 1, 2019

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance of the national anthem was in her hometown of Houston, Texas, so the singer understandably showed out. Right at the early moments of her solo career, she decided to etch her name in the history books by shining vocally. A decade later, and she’d stun the crowd once more as the halftime show performer.

4. Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton has never been one to opt for theatrics to win over a crowd, and that’s what made his 2023 Super Bowl cover of the national anthem one of the best yet. An emotional and heartfelt delivery, Stapleton sang while playing his guitar and generated a couple of tears from those in the crowd, including the players. At the heart of the national anthem remains the very important lyrics, and the country music legend made sure every word packed a punch. 

3. The Chicks

Example 1:— Hank F in Akron 🏆🥇 (@HankF330ToGo) February 13, 2023

In 2004, The Chicks opted for an angelic cover of the national anthem, showing off their illustrious three-part harmonies while backed by strings. Their voices were undoubtedly the stars of the night, as their harmonies rang through the entire stadium. 

2. Mariah Carey 

After the devastating September 11 attacks of 2001, the Super Bowl enlisted the Songbird Supreme to cover the national anthem  in 2002. A musical genius, the vocal titan delivered the most heartfelt rendition of the anthem, kicking off her performance with her sultry and airy vocals before chilling the crowd with her signature whistle register at the song’s climax. Unlike any other performance on this list, Carey’s cover came at a sensitive time when the country was grieving, and her warm cover was the perfect way to comfort the crowd. 

1. Whitney Houston 

If Carey’s performance is considered a soothing back rub after the battle, Whitney Houston’s cover of the national anthem is the inspirational mood lifter before. Often hailed as the best “The Star Spangled Banner” cover of all time, the Prom Queen of Soul held nothing back, charging the crowd with the sheer power that was her voice. Houston’s rendition is simply flawless, packed with both strength and joy and easily the best of them all.

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