Super Bowl national anthem history: List of best, worst performers all time

The national anthem can be heard before all kinds of sporting events in the United States, but the Super Bowl stage brings a different level of scrutiny.

With thousands typically in the stadium and millions watching the game from home, performing the anthem can propel stars to new heights — or leave them wondering why they ever agreed to sing.

Here’s a glimpse at the history of national anthem at the Super Bowl, including the best and worst performances all time, plus a complete list of every singer from 1967 to 2021.

MORE: Super Bowl national anthem prop bets

Who is singing the national anthem at Super Bowl 55?

Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will perform the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. The two Grammy-nominated artists have never worked together before, but Sullivan told Entertainment Tonight last month she is “excited” to blend their R&B and country sounds together.

“I just hope that it brings unity and it shows that you can be from two different parts of life and come together, you know, for a good common cause, basically,” Sullivan said.

Best Super Bowl national anthems

Whitney Houston (1991)

Three decades later, Houston’s rendition is still the standard. Her version of the national anthem not only left the crowd in awe that day, but also peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It’s difficult to envision how any singer could top this anthem performance.

Beyonce (2004)

Before she took over halftime show duties in 2013, Beyonce belted out the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Houston native made her city proud with her simple, yet powerful delivery.

That high note on “land of the free”? Damn.

Jennifer Hudson (2009)

Hudson set the stage for one of the most entertaining Super Bowls in recent memory. Standing at the center of a small, circular platform, she sent shockwaves throughout the stadium with her golden pipes.

This may be the closest someone has come to touching Houston.

Demi Lovato (2020)

Lovato predicted in a 2010 tweet that she would one day sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Hey, good call!

She earned immediate rave reviews on social media following her performance.

Worst Super Bowl national anthems

Aretha Franklin, Aaron Neville and Dr. John (2006)

The lineup here looked terrific on paper. Unfortunately, it was a case of more not necessarily being better.

As seen above, the most memorable national anthem performances feature one singer with a simple setup. That rule should have applied with Franklin.

Christina Aguilera (2011)

No reasonable person would argue Aguilera has a weak voice. She sounded incredible at Super Bowl XLV.

However, she botched the lyrics about 40 seconds in and later had to issue a statement on the infamous flub.

“I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through,” Aguilera said.

Worst Super Bowl national anthem — for bettors

Gladys Knight (2019)

One of the most well-known Super Bowl prop bets involves the length of the national anthem. Typically the clock stops once the performer ends with “brave.” Yeah, about that…

Chaos ensued when Knight sang “brave” twice at Super Bowl LIII. Her first “brave” hit the under, but the second “brave” took her way over. Some sportsbooks paid both sides, while others stuck to the first “brave.”

Oh, and Knight’s rendition was pretty good!

List of Super Bowl national anthem history

Super Bowl Year Performer(s)
I 1967 The Pride of Arizona, Michigan Marching Band and UCLA choir
II 1968 Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band
III 1969 Lloyd Geisler of the Washington National Symphony Orchestra
IV 1970 Al Hirt
V 1971 Tommy Loy
VI 1972 U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale
VII 1973 Little Angels Children’s Choir of Chicago’s Holy Angels Church
VIII 1974 Charley Pride
IX 1975 Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band
X 1976 Tom Sullivan
XI 1977 None (Vikki Carr sang “America the Beautiful”)
XII 1978 Phyllis Kell of the University of Louisiana at Monroe
XIII 1979 The Colgate Thirteen
XIV 1980 Cheryl Ladd
XV 1981 Helen O’Connell
XVI 1982 Diana Ross
XVII 1983 Leslie Easterbrook
XVIII 1984 Barry Manilow
XIX 1985 San Francisco Boys Chorus, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Piedmont Children’s Chorus and San Francisco Children’s Chorus
XX 1986 Wynton Marsalis
XXI 1987 Neil Diamond
XXII 1988 Herb Alpert
XXIII 1989 Billy Joel
XXIV 1990 Aaron Neville
XXV 1991 Whitney Houston with the Florida Orchestra
XXVI 1992 Harry Connick, Jr.
XXVII 1993 Garth Brooks
XXVIII 1994 Natalie Cole
XXIX 1995 Kathie Lee Gifford
XXX 1996 Vanessa Williams
XXXI 1997 Luther Vandross
XXXII 1998 Jewel
XXXIII 1999 Cher
XXXIV 2000 Faith Hill
XXXV 2001 Backstreet Boys
XXXVI 2002 Mariah Carey
XXXVII 2003 Dixie Chicks
XXXVIII 2004 Beyonce
XXXIX 2005 U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the choirs from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy
XL 2006 Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin and Dr. John
XLI 2007 Billy Joel
XLII 2008 Jordin Sparks
XLIII 2009 Jennifer Hudson
XLIV 2010 Carrie Underwood
XLV 2011 Christina Aguilera
XLVI 2012 Kelly Clarkson
XLVII 2013 Alicia Keys
XLVIII 2014 Renee Fleming
XLIX 2015 Idina Menzel
50 2016 Lady Gaga
LI 2017 Luke Bryan
LII 2018 P!nk
LIII 2019 Gladys Knight
LIV 2020 Demi Lovato
LV 2021 Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church





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