Watch 10 of the Best (and Worst) National Anthems by Celebrities

posted by Andrew Magnotta -

When it comes to the National Anthem, everyone's a critic.

And as much as we like to see rockers getting a shot to perform the "Star-Spangled Banner" before a major event, it's probably more miss than hit. An unconventional anthem—like one played on electric instruments or with too much freelancing—is often...uncomfortable.

But some artists end up pulling it off anyway. 

Jimi Hendrix's fuzzed out Stratocaster rendition of the anthem at Woodstock was legendary, not because he played it perfectly—he was trying to tune his guitar the whole time—but because it reflected the revolutionary spirit of that time period and of the Woodstock event.

Playing the anthem on a musical instrument is a bit more fraught when it's in front of an audience at a sporting event, though. Nobody shows up to see the anthem, and most people don't know who's performing it until they show up.

Everyone knows how "The Star-Spangled Banner" is supposed to sound—some people like to sing along to it. The general rule is that if you give the people what they know, they can't complain.

So as much as we love to see bass players getting some shine, Flea's anthem at a Los Angeles Lakers game a few years ago—an homage to Hendrix—would have been more enjoyable with less...experimentation. 

At the same time, Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett triumphed when they performed the anthem before a San Jose Sharks game. Though the song was performed on electric guitars, the guitarists stayed true to the original piece of music.

So when Steven Tyler Aerosmithed up the anthem before the Indie 500 a few years ago, it was a bit too out there. 

When Meat Loaf sang the anthem like the classically trained, operatic powerhouse that he is, no one felt better about America. Same thing for Whitney Houston's legendary anthem.

Then some performers just screw it up. When Creed frontman Scott Stapp sang a version of the anthem before a NASCAR race in which he was flat on every. single. note. That didn't work. And what the hell was The Fray doing before that NCAA men's basketball tournament game? Yes, one of the guys messed up the guitar part, but would anyone have liked it if it was played perfectly? Probably no.

Check out Loudwire's list of the 10 best and worst National Anthem performances above!

Let us know what you think of the picks!


Thumbnail Photo: Screenshot / YouTube / Loudwire