Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

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Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Bob K » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:04 am

Went to the Cubs game today (we beat Minnesota in the bottom of the 9th - yowzah!!).

Prior to play, a young woman sang the national anthem (preceded by "God Bless America" ... in my opinion, the worst patriotic song ever written).

She had a magnificent voice, sang acapella, but jazzed it up somewhat.

I turned to F/W (Friend/Wife) and commented, "Laws are subject to interpretation, the national anthem is not."

Maybe I'm an old fart (forget the "maybe"), but I don't appreciate young farts improving on perfection.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby esa5444 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:18 am

Bob K wrote:Maybe I'm an old fart (forget the "maybe"), but I don't appreciate young farts improving on perfection.


I don't think it's because you are an old fart. I am a young fart, and I do not like any version of the Star Spangled Banner that is significantly different than what the US Marine Corps Band would perform. The worst, I think, is the version that old fart Jimi Hendrix performed. While it would be unAmerican to ban it's performance, I think that an affirmative defense for charges of assault and battery and for any civil suits resulting from it should be that you witnessed the person or people you assaulted performing the National Anthem in a non traditional manner and in a public venue.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Jericho941 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:57 am

The trouble with the Star-Spangled Banner is that it is set to the tune of a particularly challenging song. It is tough to perform without shouting or jazzing it up.

I always found playing the National Anthem before ballgames to be a rather strange occasion for it anyway. I can't really put my finger on it, but something about it just seems strangely inappropriate. Maybe it's just the state of modern professional sports. It's like playing the National Anthem before a circus.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Jeffro » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:02 am

I blame Jimi Hendrix.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby randy » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:06 am

When I was in Nav school, some classmates and I freaked the mundanes at a party once by coming to attention when they played the Hendrix version, and held it for the entire song.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Bandito » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:23 am

I wouldn't call the Star Spangled Banner" perfection, but it SHOULD be sung straight, without embellishment. It's the frickin' national anthem, after all.

And if it's too difficult for some performers to sing, as Jericho rightly points out, then they find somebody else to sing it properly.

But I much prefer "America the Beautiful," and believe that there have been some efforts in the past to make that the official national anthem. It actually has a decently inspriring melody (one, moreover, that can actually be sung), and is typically preferred by most people in some polls.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby blackeagle603 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:53 am

At a very young age I told daughter #2 (the singer), when you are a soloist in church or singing the National Anthem, "It's not about you."

She got it and has stuck with it.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby rightisright » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:20 am

The absolute worst was when that c*&+ Roseanne Barr butchered it back in 1990.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Denis » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:39 am

I believe you 'Muricans are unusual in that you regularly have a soloist "perform" your anthem. Perhaps this is because it's a particularly difficult melody (the vocal range involved is huge). In other countries, when the band plays the intro to the anthem, the crowd just starts singing on cue.

Some years ago, I was saddened to see at a gaelic football match that the words of the Irish national anthem were displayed on a big screen in karaoke/singalong style. Learning to sing the anthem is one of my earliest memories of school, and I was upset to discover that not everyone knows the words. The melody still gives me goosebumps.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby mekender » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:51 am

i dunno, im kinda partial to the Hendrix version sometimes... probably because i watched a friend of mine spend six months learning how to play it on the guitar... even then it still took him a lot of drugs to master it...

but that is an aside... most of the times i hear it sung, i want to ring the singers neck... though i went to a minor league game a few weeks ago and it was sung by a mens chior... man that was impressive...
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby moose42 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:32 pm

I can't stand it when some idiot sings it like this...


Oooohoohohoo sayyayaaayaya caaaaaaaaan yououooooouououou seeeeeeee byeeeeeeeeee the daaaaawwwnnnnns....

Makes me want to throttle them.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby ButchS1066 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:34 pm

mekender wrote:i dunno, im kinda partial to the Hendrix version sometimes... probably because i watched a friend of mine spend six months learning how to play it on the guitar... even then it still took him a lot of drugs to master it...


I like Hendrix' take on it, minus the solo bits.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Ben Rumson » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:28 pm

moose42 wrote:I can't stand it when some idiot sings it like this...


Oooohoohohoo sayyayaaayaya caaaaaaaaan yououooooouououou seeeeeeee byeeeeeeeeee the daaaaawwwnnnnns....

Makes me want to throttle them.


That would be too much vibrato. Some of the singers look and sound like they're trying to choke down a gold fish when they perform.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Denis » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:09 pm

Ben Rumson wrote:Some of the singers look and sound like they're trying to choke down a gold fish when they perform.


There's the problem, right there - the fish should go in the ear...

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Rich » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:26 pm

Jose' can you see? :lol:
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby AndytheAxe » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:46 am

Having volunteered at Ft. McHenry, I'm used to hearing it done well a couple times a day, so when I hear it jazzed too much or done badly it drives me crazy. The fort runs the version sung by the naval academy choir about every 20 mins.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby esa5444 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:59 am

Bandito wrote:But I much prefer "America the Beautiful," and believe that there have been some efforts in the past to make that the official national anthem.


Yes, and a large part of those efforts arise from the belief that we shouldn't have a song written during a war about a war. Granted, the song itself is tangentially related to representing America in terms of its lyrics, but I sure as hell object to changing it on the basis of it being "warmongering" and "violent". The War of 1812 and what happened at Fort McHenry are an important part of American history, and hardly a shameful part of it either.

As far as I am concerned, the Star Spangled Banner is as much a part of America as the flag, the Constitution, George Washington, and so on. It should not be changed, ever. As for the singing, I thinking the singing part is optional. It sounds just fine with our without singing, and given that lately our pop stars have taken to singing it, it usually songs better without it.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Aegis » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:10 am

Bob K wrote:...(preceded by "God Bless America" ... in my opinion, the worst patriotic song ever written)...


May I ask why your opinion is so?
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby g-man » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:01 pm

I got tapped to do the Anthem here for our upcoming MI Hall of Fame induction, after the female LT who did the last couple PCS'd. I'm really glad she did, since her version sounded quite a bit like those "see how bad these auditioners sucked" episodes at the beginning of every American Idol season. I was subjected to it for a retirement ceremony, and stood at 'clenched fist' attention for the whole thing, trying to keep from showing visible facial twitches.

I'm with Blackeagle on this one, it's not about you as a soloist in those situations. I'm not the best soloist, but I know I'm a damn sight better than most of the hacks who volunteer and 'think' or 'have been told' they can sing. Problem with the average Joe telling someone they can sing is the average Joe doesn't have a clue what 'good' singing actually is.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby MarkD » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:00 pm

This is one of my pet peeves. Our National Anthem is NOT a voice drill, it's not a pop song, it's not a vehicle for you to show how long you can hold a note, it's an ANTHEM and ought to be sung as written or not at all. Personally, my favorite was Robert Merrill, who used to sing it at Yankee Stadium. Considering that I'm a life-long Mets fan, that's saying something.

From about 4th grade thru 6th we sang the "Star Spangled Banner" every morning after the Pedge of Alliegence, younger grades sang "America" after same. I suspect that both the Anthem and the Pledge have gone the way of the dinosaur in public schools these days.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Lokidude » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:27 pm

My big pet peeve is when people treat it like a funeral dirge. In the words of my old band director (and a retired Air Force SGT), "We won the war."

Treat it with respect and reverence, sure, but also a very healthy dose of pride.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby HTRN » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:48 pm

MarkD wrote:I'm a life-long Mets fan


BURN HIM! HE'S A WITCH!
(at least you're not a [shudder]Sox fan[/shudder]) :mrgreen:


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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Bob K » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:03 am

HTRN,

Red Sox or White Sox?

I grew up on the South side. Got into some trouble with truant officers in '59, going to games.

Now I live a half-block from Wrigley Field, and my wife, well, can you say, "Dyed in the wool?"
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Dedicated_Dad » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:13 am

When sung in public, as for example to open some ceremony or event, it should be sung as written in terms of both notes and time.

OTOH, Hendrix' interpretation was none of the above - it was his interpretation of the song. Had he done this in a context such as the above, I'd fight to be first in line to flog him, but as it stands, I actually LIKE what he did...

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby cu74 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:27 am

Lokidude wrote:My big pet peeve is when people treat it like a funeral dirge. In the words of my old band director (and a retired Air Force SGT), "We won the war."

Treat it with respect and reverence, sure, but also a very healthy dose of pride.


I agree that it should be sung "briskly". It has been, (had been? I haven't been in a few years) a tradition at the Clemson University baseball games for the anthem to be sung by some "local talent" just before the game. Often I thought the poor child trying to sing it before a night game wouldn't finish until after her bedtime. :lol:

(Clemson also has the tradition of the crowd saying the Pledge of Allegiance as well as singing the National Anthem before home football games. They also have a prayer - you don't know before the game whether you will hear a Rabbi, a Catholic priest, or some other Protestant minister... 8-) )
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Bandito » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:21 am

esa5444 wrote:
Bandito wrote:But I much prefer "America the Beautiful," and believe that there have been some efforts in the past to make that the official national anthem.


Yes, and a large part of those efforts arise from the belief that we shouldn't have a song written during a war about a war. Granted, the song itself is tangentially related to representing America in terms of its lyrics, but I sure as hell object to changing it on the basis of it being "warmongering" and "violent". The War of 1812 and what happened at Fort McHenry are an important part of American history, and hardly a shameful part of it either.

As far as I am concerned, the Star Spangled Banner is as much a part of America as the flag, the Constitution, George Washington, and so on. It should not be changed, ever. As for the singing, I thinking the singing part is optional. It sounds just fine with our without singing, and given that lately our pop stars have taken to singing it, it usually songs better without it.


I think that the popularity of "America the Beautiful" vs the Star Spangled Banner has more to do with the fact that the former is a much better tune, while the latter is pretty lame (musically, that is). A lot of people just liked "America" better, even before any anti-military, political correctness raised its head.

Anything along the lines of a national anthem should be musically inspiring, or else have such deep seated roots in a country that nothing else could even be thought of being its anthem.

Given that the Star Spangled Banner wasn't adopted as the de jure national anthem until 1931, I don't think of it as being an inseparable part of America and our history. If tradition was the standard, then Hail Columbia should have be been kept on.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby MarkD » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:19 pm

HTRN wrote:
MarkD wrote:I'm a life-long Mets fan


BURN HIM! HE'S A WITCH!
(at least you're not a [shudder]Sox fan[/shudder]) :mrgreen:


HTRN


I've been known to root for the Red Sox when they're playing the Yankees...... :o

Been a Mets fan since I was in first grade, riding home on the school bus chanting "Let's Go Mets!" during the '69 World Series. Too old to change, and too stubborn to change even if I were younger.

To bring the thread back on topic, I offer Mr Merrill singing our National Anthem:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JlzkXROA10

If anyone doesn't think that's the way it OUGHT to be sung, I don't want to talk to you.

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby blackeagle603 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:11 pm

Why is the Star Spangled Banner appropriate as our National Anthem?

Just for sake of review read the whole thing and then tell me if you don't "get it."

fwiw, I say it envokes the Spirit of '76. The Spirit of the Revolution. We're not just living in a beautiful land. We living in a land where the tree of liberty has been watered with the blood of patriots.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby chrisb » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:21 pm

Aaron Neville is the worst ever!

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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby MiddleAgedKen » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:00 pm

I recall this being posted on the old board, but since blackeagle saw fit to post all four stanzas (and a good job too), I figure it bears relinking here:

All Four Stanzas.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby blackeagle603 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:47 pm

Thanks for the link Ken.

dang... dusty in here. something in my eye.
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Re: Singing "The Star Spangle Banner"

Postby Netpackrat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:18 am

rightisright wrote:The absolute worst was when that c*&+ Roseanne Barr butchered it back in 1990.


I remember that pretty well, because it was one of only a couple times when I can remember my father (army vet) changing the channel out of disgust. I don't think it would be possible to do a more disrespectful performance. In that one moment, I learned everything I ever needed to know about her.
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