Skip to comments.AND DON'T FORGET THE WORDS (Star Spangled Banner)
Posted on 12/01/2011 6:01:18 AM PST by shortstop
Just sing the song. This is an open letter to anybody who has the honor of publicly performing the Star Spangled Banner.
Just sing the song.
Dont disrespect it, or your country, by turning a moment to honor the United States into an opportunity for you to show off.
Because when you sing this song, its not about you, its about the song.
Dont ever forget that.
And dont go along with the current trend of turning the National Anthem into a glitzy star vehicle for so-called artists trying to get publicity and sell records.
Because its become embarrassing. You tune in the Super Bowl or some other major sports event, even concerts honoring America, and you get some pop star with a bad case of look-at-me howling through whats supposed to be our national song.
And thats what it is.
Weird sort of yodeling modulations that have been popular for about a decade too long. Which is all cool if youre smacking your bitch up or glorifying Lady Marmalade. But if youre singing the song that speaks for this Republic and the men who have died to keep it free, youve crossed the line.
And you should keep it simple.
You should sing the notes that are on the paper and you shouldnt add any more of your own. There are plenty of vehicles of self-expression, but this doesnt happen to be one of them.
Because this isnt your song.
This is your countrys song.
And its not about the performer and his or her ability or style. Its about a ritual of the Republic.
People who hear this song stand to honor it. And the people who sing it should also pay it respect. They should treat it like the precious event it is. They should show it reverence and deference.
And they must realize that stylistic interpretations of the Star Spangled Banner are not art, they are desecration. They do not inspire the audience, they offend it.
And when we stand together to hear the National Anthem we do not want it to be the product of one heart or vision, we want it to be what it is the statement of us all. The shared love and devotion of one nation and one people.
So sing it the way its written.
And recognize it for what it is, a song different from all others. A song enshrined in law and tradition, and in the hearts of the American people.
And realize how jarring it is to those people when abstract and unrecognizable versions of the song are belted out on national television or at the beginning of sporting events.
Sadly, the Whitney Houston Super Bowl anthem of 20 years ago has inspired half a generation of less-talented vocalists to ever greater extremes. They have seen that performances lasting appeal not in her great ability, but in the arrangers minor deviation from the traditional melody.
So, unable to match her talent, they have sought to out-do her aberrations. And the result is that, now, public anthems are odd and ugly warblings up and down the scale, with audiences standing at attention forced to endure renditions that seem to spit in the face of the traditional anthem.
The more extreme the deviation from the tune of the Star Spangled Banner, the prouder and more self-satisfied the singer seems.
Which is part of the problem. Too many of the people called upon to sing our National Anthem seem to be wildly egocentric. Instead of seeing the invitation as a great and humbling honor, they see it as some chance to strut, to show how good they are, and how deserving of the worship of the crowd.
And they confuse the reception given the song with the reception of their version of the song.
When the Star Spangled Banner is presented, people stand. When it is completed, they cheer wildly.
Whether its performed by some huge star of by the local high school band.
People respond that way because they love the song and the Republic for which it stands.
But too many performers interpret ovations and applause as being for them and their tortured presentation of the anthem. People applaud the anthem not because of there performers, but in spite of them.
Just as modern art has abandoned true beauty in a quest for ugly abstraction, modern singers sometimes turn this simple and pure song into a disjointed and nightmarish parody of itself. Their lack of ability teams with their runaway ego to push them further and further into bad taste. Hendrix had his anthem and Houston had her anthem and, dammit, they insist on having theirs as well.
But its not theirs.
Its all of ours.
So it should be sung the way it plays in the American heart. Simple and sweet.
Just sing the song.
Seriously, this is a major pet peeve of mine. Whether at a professional baseball game or a high school game, I really get annoyed when our National Anthem is bastardized like it is about half the time it's sung in public.
whitney’s was lipped synced....
Maya Rudolph of SNL lampooned this practice in this classic skit:
Also, I tried playing an advanced version of The Stars and Stripes Forever on my troublesome digital piano. Someone from Malaysia e mailed me his transcription which he claims he transcribed from some Horowitz recording or sumping.
This is also one of my pet peeves.
The song isn’t easy to sing,but just sing it the way it was written and meant to be sung.
Anything else is merely showing ignorance.
The technical term is "over-souling."
I listened to Houston's version & hated it, & every other perversion of the song I've heard since. This writer articulated it perfectly.
Bravo to Bob!
I’m not sure if the people singing our national anthem are being paid to sign or not. I would create a “contract” with anyone who is asked to sign which states NO COMPENSATION would be paid if the song deviates from the original written version. Perhaps that might clean it up. Maybe we should all complain to the promoters of the events threating to boycot their sponsors if the song is “bastardized”.
Gees.. that should read Sing not sign. Having a terrible time today.
That’s an apt word.
We’re just encouraging them to sing it that way with our complete silence.