The 12 Best National Anthem Performances Since Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

When we think about musicians taking on the National Anthem, one name immediately comes to mind for most: Jimi Hendrix.

That’s right, the greatest guitar player ever to walk the Earth also performed the most inspirational (and copied) rendition of the Anthem on his guitar at Woodstock in 1969.

But what other musicians took on the job of performing the Anthem and knocked it out of the proverbial park? Without further ado, let’s dive into the Best 12 National Anthem performances since Hendrix.

1. Whitney Houston

Was there ever a better singer than Whitney Houston? The vocalist could belt out notes as strong, full, and big as any seemingly effortlessly. She brought these talents to the Anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991 and instantly became associated with the song.

2. Beyonce

Queen B has sung the National Anthem famously many times, including at the Super Bowl in 2004 and later at the Presidential inauguration of then-President Obama in 2013. Check out her rendition for the White House below in which she demonstrates she has more pipes than a New York City building.

3. The Chicks

The group previously known as The Dixie Chicks performed a rendition of the National Anthem for Super Bowl XXXVIII, bringing their stunning three-part harmonies to the song. It’s enough to melt your heart into a billion patriotic pieces. Check out their studio version below.

4. Lady Gaga

Like Beyonce, Lady Gaga has performed the anthem at several high-profile events, from the Presidential Inauguration for Joe Biden to the Super Bowl in years past. Check out Gaga’s rendition for Biden at the White House below, during which she demonstrates her flare for the big moment.

5. Jennifer Hudson

After the death of three of her close family members, Jennifer Hudson made her first public appearance singing the National Anthem for the 2008 Super Bowl. It was a stirring moment for the artist who had experienced unspeakable tragedy. Check her out below killing it in front of thousands and millions more on television.

6. The City of Boston

After the tragic Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the city was shaken. One of the areas of life that helped the city regain confidence was the world of sports. This was embodied during a Boston Bruins hockey game that year. Rene Rancourt, the team’s longtime singer, started the rendition. But the thousands in attendance took it over. It was quite a moment.

7. KISS

The famed face-painting band performed a rendition of the Anthem while on tour in 1992. The group then decided to put the instrumental version on their album, Alive III, which you can see below in all of its rocking prowess.

8. Cher

Cher performed the Anthem for the 1999 Super Bowl. Perhaps no one brought more vocal theatrics to the song when compared to the glamorous musician. Her version remains one of the most beloved in the history of the Big Game. Check it out below.

9. Marvin Gaye

The super-smooth and soulful singer performed his version at the NBA All-Star Game in 1983 and his version remains perhaps the most beloved rendition of all time. Gaye took his time, offering his epic pipes to the song in a way that many since have sought to mimic. What a star.

10. Diana Ross

Diana Ross was the first big-name pop star to sing the National Anthem and she did so at the Super Bowl in 1982. Before her, the National Football League sought to enlist marching bands or other performers. But with Ross knocking it out of the park, she set the standard for many to come after her.

11. Mariah Carey

In many ways, it’s Mariah’s world and we’re all just paying rent. The singer who can shatter glass with her immaculate voice provided an amazing rendition of the National Anthem at the 2002 Super Bowl. Check her out below and try to not let her melt your heart.

12. Luther Vandross

In 1997, Luther Vandross practically reinvented what it meant to sing the anthem, bringing incredible rhythm and singing prowess to the song. His offering is what many vocalists dream about. Yet, he achieved it in real life. Check out his version below. It’s an A+ to be sure.

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