'The Star-Spangled Banner': A look back at some of the 'bombs bursting in air' before Steven Tyler's flub

Steven-Tyler

Image Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Since Steven Tyler performed a cat-scratch rendition of the national anthem at yesterday’s AFC Championship game, the performance has gone viral and been met with an Internet response about as hospitable as New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick’s “What’s that smell?” face. Which brings to our attention for the trillionth time that, Man, that song is tricky. Since Francis Scott Key penned the rousing lyrics in 1814, many have been felled by itsĀ one-and-a-half-octave range and flummoxing verbiage (“O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming”? That’s old-time speak!). For fairness, I’ve mainly stuck with actual singers (or people who clearly think they can sing, ahem, Carl Lewis). Below, some of the biggest “Star-Spangled” screwups. (We’ve included video. You’re welcome!)

Dishonorable Mention Roseanne Barr: July 26, 1990
Whoever booked the comedian to perform America’s most hallowed melody was on crack. It was a disaster waiting to happen, though Roseanne’s attempt at comedy (spitting and grabbing her crotch) was a particularly nice touch. And by “nice,” I mean “infuriating.”
Star-Spangled Mangle:
5/10 (Vocally, it’s a 10, but you really have to cut her some slack: She never claimed she could sing.)

NEXT: Creed might have taken us “Higher,” but Scott Stapp’s voice has its limits

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