For the love of all that is holy …

I understand that the National Anthem is a difficult song to sing.

Tune being lifted from a British drinking song — To Anacreon in Heaven, point of fact — probably means that it wouldn’t hurt to be slightly liquored up before attempting to sing it.

However, it is the National Anthem — a symbol of this great land — and as such, is not a song one should “Put some stink on”.

Sing the bloody thing properly and with reverence, or don’t sing it at all.

If you want to add some flourishes, or vocal pole dancing, find another song to embellish. There are plenty out there.

Thank you.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.


Edit:  I am lovingly informed that the correct term is “Put some stank on it”.  My bad.


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32 thoughts on “For the love of all that is holy …”

  1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who gets peeved when people do that crap.

    WOHOO!!! I am not alone!

  2. I think your term works.
    You know, I believe there is a recording of some girl in vinyl and a man in a dress doing a far more respectable version with some lovely and talented backup singers as well…

  3. With some of the tremolo warbling these days, you don't know whether to applaud or call 911.

  4. Thank you! You put it better than I would have. Mucking about with songs not written by the singer is a pet peeve of mine and the national anthem should be more or less sacrosanct.

  5. wait. the tune comes from a drinking song??

    I can't believe I'm just learning this now.

  6. I'm getting 'really' tired of these 'celebrities' hosing it up for their own gratification…

  7. You get what you pay for. The NFL paid for that type of singing, and that's what they got. Complaining about the performer is a waste.

  8. And now I've got the urge to learn To Anacreon in Heaven by heart so that next time I'm in the presence of the american national anthem being sung, I sing it with "original lyrics". 😉

    No, I'm not american.

  9. When I was in college, the professor who directed our semiprofessional choir wrote an a cappella arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner." We were, after all, an a cappella choir. That arrangement, I loved. I would sing my part (in some places, we had 8 distinct voice parts) even when we as a choir weren't singing it. But it was the same tune, the same tempo, the same everything. And the professor holds a doctorate in music and so he knows what he's doing.

    The Gaither Vocal Band does a wonderful a cappella version, as well. If you're going to sing it as a small group, and without accompaniment, this is the way it should be done. But that's me. (Here:

    However, I don't know that Alicia Keys could sing a straight-line melody. Some people simply can't. Matthew Ward is one of them, and his voice is so distinctive as a result that I can pick his voice out of any song he's done studio BGVs on.

    But if you can't sing it so the plebes watching can follow the melody, let someone else do it. Please.

  10. Hear, hear! Recently, I auditioned to sing the anthem at my community college graduation. I am classically trained, with a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance. I sang it straight, as it should be. They chose some American Idol wannabe who absolutely butchered the tune! WTF?? I can't stand to listen to the SSB being treated like a Top 40, autotune, melody-less piece of inanity! (end rant)

  11. The correct response, from those attendng such a "Look at me" performance, is to boo and catcall, loudly.

    Cf. the crotch-grabbing butchery of Roseanne Barr's one and only public attempt.

    She STILL gets $#!^ for that little buttnugget of a performance, years later.

  12. Hey, I'm just glad they got the right song. I have, on more than one occasion heard "America the Beautiful" fired off with great gusto and all appropriate fanfare by people who should know better.

    That being said, I do agree with you whole heartedly brother.

  13. if they don't understand that the song is really nothing more than a new nation turning to a powerful foreign invader and saying. "is this the best you got? bring it!" they shouldn't even be singing the tune. I'd love for someone with actual talent to stand up there and give a brief explanation of the events in the song and then belt it out with the reverence and defiance which in my not at all humble opinion what it's all about.

  14. +1 on people getting the wrong song. Years ago at the beginning of an air show, a drunken red-neck walked up and kicked my chair (his hat held over his heart) and gave me crap for not standing during the national anthem… The song that was playing at that moment was Proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood.

    To head off a fight (dude was ready to throw down about it) I apologized and told him I was a Canadian eehhh (worst steriotypical Canadian accent ever, I'm from Kentucky). At that he shrugged and stumbled away.

    Personally, I think the guy deserved a beating, but the people sitting around us, many with small children, didn't deserve to have their afternoon soiled by such an exhibit. So I thought it was better to avoid, rather than press the issue.


  15. Thank you. That's one of my pet peeves that I bellow about ad nauseum. It seems especially sickening at NASCAR events where everyone seems to be auditioning. Why can't they just honor the military by allowing a military brass band play at all events?

  16. Thank you. That's one of my pet peeves that I bellow about ad nauseum. It seems especially sickening at NASCAR events where everyone seems to be auditioning. Why can't they just honor the military by allowing a military brass band play at all events?

  17. Well said as always. The only thing worse is the number of people who liked that rendition.

  18. The Groton Subase theater used to play a beautiful rendition by a male voice choir before the movie, but a few years back they changes to playing a version by a military band with a Navy montage which looks straight out of a recruiting ad, complete with making sure that they show enough minorities and women. 8(

  19. I can sing the anthem correctly … but yea, it's a difficult tune.

    You need to be able to cover a huge range without going falsetto.

  20. Mr. Dog, sir, grace notes are not necessarily disrespectful. I would refer you to the 1500 year old tradition of Jewish Cantorial music.

    That said, the only word in our national anthem I add a grace note to (singular, not a flight of them) is "wave". Think you can live with that? 🙂

  21. Well spoken Brother Dog, very well spoken. Nothing burns me more than one of our celebutards singing our National Anthem sounding like a Siamese Cat in heat.

  22. Late making a comment on this and all, but I agree. If you're singing the national anthem and want to show off, sing the second verse too.

  23. Kestrel, there's a huge difference between an occasional grace note, and the vocal noodling far too many contemporary singers feel they must indulge.

    Sung straight and with passion, this is a truly powerful anthem. Many such examples abound on YouTube, such as Meat Loaf, Jack Black, Josh Grogan, Huey Lewis & The News, and Reba McEntire. The best is probably the Cactus Cuties, though. See

    The wannabe warblers, however, just ruin the song. They should be properly chastised for such public embarrassment.

  24. MAJ – The problem with print is that you can't convey tone. I had my tongue so far in my cheek it required surgical excision.

    I agree completely. Sporting event versions make me wince and cringe and stick my fingers in my ears. When it's sung straight and well, it can be magnificent, and not only are vocal curlicues and flourishes unnecessary, they're actively offensive.

  25. Funny how I stumbled across this as my wife has the TV on waiting for the NASCAR Truck Race to start.

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