How do you like your National Anthem?

Do you like it better sung or just instrumental? Do you prefer when famous people sing it or unknowns? Sing-along or solo? Straight or changed into a country, jazz or hip hop version? Sung with simple notes or elaborate trills runs and Mariah Carey-like warbles?
Do you have any favorite renditions? I love Jimi Hendrix’ take, but not at a ball game.

Note - I don’t want to get into whether the Anthem is appropriate at sporting events.

and I was prompted to ask this after seeing David Cook (new “American Idol”) sing Star Spangled Banner at NBA game the other night. My God did he look nervous - as I would have been. I wouldn’t have hit the notes as he did tho. Not a great performance, but at least no warbling.

I like it straight up, not so much of the fancy-pants melisma. Either that or with the official last four words, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

ETA - I also like it when everybody sings along. I’ve been to a lot of football games in fancy boxes, and the people up in there? Half of them don’t even stand up.

Here are my opinions of the two anthems to which I have a claim. For the purposes of dignity, and historical accuracy, I will exclude ‘Dixie’.

American - best sung by a single person who doesn’t try to get all fancy, maybe somebody from the local high school. Can’t abide the warbles that infest the word “FreeEEEeeeeeEEEEEEeee”
I must also admit that it’s not my favorite song.

Canadian - best sung by a mob at a hockey game, or a crowd in a kitchen at a Canada day party. My favorite part is when all the anglophones stumble through the french verses, come hell or high water, in some sort of magic-inclusive-my-Canada-includes-Quebec-bullheaded gesture of unity and the partial triumph of bilingualism.

‘Love’ would be too strong a word, but I sing the Australian one all the time, so I’ve grown to like it. The version that we mostly do has some great harmonies and a lovely tenor part, so that makes it enjoyable.

It’s not the world’s best by any means, but I’ve heard worse.

If you want to hear the official choral version of the Australian anthem recorded by my choir, go here and scroll down to the ‘audio track - choir’ file.

It’s a dirge that expresses pro-monarchist sentiments that I don’t share. I wouldn’t change it though as it has a certain gravitas to it.

Mine is best just before a rugby match !

My favorite is the Israeli Nat’l anthem- Hatikvah

It’s just beautiful.

Well, I’m Welsh, so obviously our anthem is amazing. Have you heard it? It’s like Gorecki’s 3rd - it makes people cry. I like it sung by a male voice choir while the players cry/sing, at the correct tempo (away fixtures always play too fast) with no camera shots of pissed crowd members failing to remember the words. The anthem is everything at a sports event - the outcome is decided by the singing of the anthem 99/100 - where Wales are concerned (and having seen Argentina’s anthem at rugby matches - I’d say for them too).
I’m sorry if the OP meant USA only - they didn’t specify that.


Everybody knows the last line isPlay ball!

Personally I like it performed by Radiohead

Not what you were talking about?

Ok, fine, either acapella or as performed by Jimi Hendrix.

The American one is so hard to sing well, and I’ve heard it mangled so many times by supposedly professional vocalists, that I wish they’d just do an instrumental and get on with the game/race/whatever.

Not to hijack, but do they play the national anthem prior to the start of each day’s round of a golf tournament? I don’t recall ever hearing it.

Either instrumental or with one singer (or choir) who will sing it the way it’s written. Don’t “make it your own”, don’t use it as a “performance”, and for cryin’ out loud, get the tempo up from dirge level. I think the audience should sing along.

I wanted non-US as well as US replies, so thanks guys.

Ours is a dirge that expresses religious sentiments that I (and a good chunk of the fairly secular country) don’t share. But I fear that in the absence of an enthusiastically embraced national song aside from the anthem (think what “Waltzing Matilda” is for the Aussies), that any replacement anthem will be just as bad, just in different ways. :slight_smile:

To the OP: instrumental… as then we don’t get the whole “God defend” lyrics… though I happen to like (from one of the less sung stanzas:
May our mountains ever be,
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea

Actually, Mr Shine, it’s truer to say that “our *usual *anthem is a religious dirge…”, as NZ is unusual in having two official national anthems. Our other anthem is your pro-monarchist dirge. :smiley:

PS: the NZ Ministry of Culture and Heritage web site has several versions of sound clips of the anthem – the more modern 1979 musical arrangement. A bit “Eurovision song contest” for my tastes in an anthem… and still overly religious… but considerably less dirge-like.

Personally, I don’t care how famous the singer is, so long as they’re reasonably competent (note that this means more than just “have a good voice”, since the Star-Spangled Banner is very demanding on the vocal range). And singing it in your own particular accent or the like is just fine, but stick to a standard arrangement: Don’t try to turn it into something it’s not.

I rather enjoyed singing it when I lived in New Zealand. It was the recessional every Sunday morning at mass.

I think they all leave a lot ot be desired, perhaps because official national anthems are MOR between better songs taken up by opposing political postions (“This Land is Your Land” VS “America the Beautiful” for the US; “Land of Hope and Glory” VS “Jerusalem” for the UK).

But even countries that have little or no internal opposition such as Syria or Iran have boring national anthems, too. The only country whose national anthem gets praise is France, although even as nice a song as the “Marsailles” is bound to be eventually surpassed by something better

In some ways it seems to me a better hymn than an anthem, and I can see it making a decent and fitting recessional.

(I’m personally agnostic and not anti-religious, but I feel a little uncomfortable with the song’s strong and overt appeals to divinity).