The Star Mangled Banner
April 25, 2005

Over the years we've heard some pretty bad renditions of our national anthem. Admittedly, it's not the easiest song to sing. The notes are all over the place and if I recall correctly, it spans into two octaves. This however, doesn't excuse Roseanne Barr for her mockery some years back. Nothing rivals Ms. Barr, but now it looks like there's a new kid on the block. Caroline Marcil, a Canadian, positively butchered our anthem at a recent US-Canada exhibition game USA Today reports:

NEW YORK (AP) - By the dawn's early light, Caroline Marcil finally finished on national TV what she started at a hockey game - a flawless rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Montreal singer was to perform the national anthems of two countries before the United States' 5-4 exhibition victory over Canada on Friday in Quebec City.

Despite two tries, she forgot the words to the U.S. anthem and then left to get the lyrics. When she returned to the rink, she slipped on the carpet covering the ice and plopped on her back before a Quebec Coliseum crowd of 7,166.

After lying motionless for a few seconds, the 24-year-old Canadian left on her own and the game began without either anthem sung.

I'd leave too if I made that much of a fool out of myself. It takes a lot of something to pick up your pride (and self) off the ground and leave with some dignity. To her credit, she was singing a foreign anthem along with her own. How many Americans know another country's anthem? Come to think of it, how many Americans know our country's national anthem? Come on people. We all saw the American Idol auditions.

Still, Marcil should've done her homework. Lesson learned. (I hope)

Incidentally, I think I know three: America, Canada (Oh Canada) and France (La Marseillaise). Now the singing part, well, that's another story.

Posted by Ambra at April 25, 2005 9:10 PM in Culture
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I know three as well - the US', Canada's, and Great Britain's (which is the ideal national anthem: very short, simple tune, memorable, stirring).

Isn't this why they always display the words during sporting events?

To keep me lazy and ignorant, that is.

I remember Whitney forgot the Anthem once but we know what going on with her. What's this chick's excuse ?

National Anthem Singing- a sore spot with this humble scribbler. Usually done either very well or horrifically. Among The Best- Donna Summer's at the recent All-Star Game in Boston. Historically known- Marvin Gaye's during the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, leaving most of the ladies at the L.A. Forum- now home for megachurch- in swooning delight. Carl Lewis' attempt at Madison Square Garden among the most horrible. Not to mention Rosanne Barr's screeching and crotch-grabbing at 1990 Baseball All-Star Game. If you can't do it well, or straight, leave it to someone else. Harrumph.

I'd rather hear "America the Beautiful" than the anthem ... above the fruited plain ... gets me every time. Anyone else remember Maurice Cheeks (NBA coach of ? last year) helping a young girl out who had happened to forget the words? That was beautiful.

For us older folks, there's still the memory of Robert Goulet (as the


PS And speaking of singing, did someone say they watched American Idol? Uh-huh, yeah. Closet AI fans, come out and enjoy Paula's dancing, Randy's dawg pound, and Simon's uh ... uh ... charm.

that's supposed to be after (as the
... under 30's go "Hunh?") botching the anthem. [I used the "less than" sign and it thought I wanted some weird HTML code.]

It was the Portland Trailblazers, and it was almost exactly two years ago (and a day) - you can find it at this site.


[Do I get more Nyk points for three comments in a row or do you take them away?]

Don't we take the national anthem thing just a bit too seriously?

*prepares for flying tomatoes*

[Do I get more Nyk points for three comments in a row or do you take them away?]

I take them away....just kidding.

And for the record, I just saw the auditions.

National Anthem Singing- a sore spot with this humble scribbler. Usually done either very well or horrifically.

I'm with you Gerry. If you can't do it right, don't do it at all.

I was always partial to "Columbia, the gem of the Oceans."

Ambra giveth, and Ambra taketh away. But I'm glad you're back giving out the free ice cream.

I started out like you with American Idol. I was just going to watch the auditions, and that would be it. Then one Tuesday evening, I just happened to be sitting around, reading a paper or something, and there was nothing else on TV. Really, nothing else ... and they sucked me back in. Curses! (It was that Mikhala - I thought she was The Nanny.)

That poor girl! I felt so bad for her that I only laughed briefly.

I'd like to second the Donna Summer motion - one of the best renditions I have ever heard. Did I mention that I had a BIG crush on Donna when I was growing up? (Still do...)

The Anthem is neither a soul song nor a country song - do it right!

There are only a few things that really bother me in this world. One is disrepect for America's institutions such as the National anthem and pledge of allegiance. At baseball games, I am always irked by men who don't show respect and remove their caps.

As to the girl who couldn't memorize a 1-minute song, I just shake my head.

Ambra, we know the same anthems. Well, at least I know most of "O Canada," anyway.

Every time I think of "La Marseillaise" I think of the scene from Casablanca where everyone in Rick's sings the song (except the Nazis, of course). It's so powerful.

Kristen, don't tell anyone, but I actually like La Marseillaise better than the star spangled banner. It's beautiful.

France has better shopping than we do too. ;-)

I agree with you Jasmin!!!

Music is supposed to be art, right? Artists are allowed to express themselves, right? Francis Scott Key wrote a difficult song that doesn't inspire this unpatriotic soul in the least. It isn't easy to do well and the words reek of desperation (know your history). Now, fast forward to 1983 and Marvin Gaye's version of it, and I get a different sense of what Mr. Key was trying to convey. Still doesn't stir the slumbering patriot in me, but it is more accessible. Shoot, I enjoy Jimi Hendrix' Woodstock rendition (he also did a cool "God Save The Queen"). I have heard Aretha sing it in her inimitable fashion before a boxing match, banging away on a Fender Rhodes. Whitney's (traditional) rendition at the Super Bowl was CLASSIC. James Taylor played and sung it beautifully during the most recent World Series. So the song can be sung/performed with beauty. It can be performed in any style. It just isn't a psalm, hymn or spiritual song, so it really holds no importance for me.

Ha ha ha ha ha! I just remembered when good ol' Willie Nelson BUTCHERED the words to it during the Democratic National Convention in 1980. THAT was funny, because it was unintentional, not disrepectful. Rosanne was trying to be funny, as she explained, but it didn't work. I wonder how many of you know the 2nd and 3rd verses of your national anthem? (I do. Blah.)

I just can't get upset about the Star Strangled Banner. I think Bono (U2) called it that once. Call me unpatriotic, but it is JUST A SONG. Now if is was 'Tis So Sweet...

The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key


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!


*Wow...I didn't know the 3rd verse...there are FOUR verses...you learn something everyday!*

Since we're talking about good Anthem performances I offer again ... Whitney Huston. Oddly has done one of the worst and one of the Best performances of the National Anthem that have ever IMHO that has ever been sung.

I know the first part of the Russian anthem 'cause Nikolai Volkoff would sing it every time he got to the ring! ;)

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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