Who performed 'The Star-Spangled Banner' best: Whitney Houston or Jimi Hendrix? | The Tylt
Whitney Houston and Jimi Hendrix's renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" are two of the most jaw-dropping national anthem performances of all time— both brilliant, yet completely different in their execution.
But whose was better: Houston's or Hendrix's?
Jimi Hendrix's 1969 cover of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock came to symbolize the entire 1960's counterculture. His blistering rendition still blows minds to this day.
Fast forward 22 years later, a 27-year-old Whitney Houston sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Houston (A.K.A. The Voice) was at the peak of her vocal power back then. Both mighty and exquisite, her rendition became a Top 10 radio hit. And it's widely considered to be the gold standard.
Whitney's critics—and yes, she does have some—complained that her version was pre-recorded. But the song's arranger argued that lip-syncing was necessary because of the size of the arena. Amazingly, Houston recorded the notoriously challenging melody in one single take. She was "calmly joyful" as she performed in front of 70,000 people, wrote journalist Danyel Smith, and "people were weeping in the stands, weeping in their homes:"
Most singers want out of that song. Most reach awkwardly for one note or another, or miss it altogether. It's not just that the song is a difficult one. It's difficult in front of people who want to feel the pride in the storybook words....Whitney's version made it all absolute, for a moment.
Hendrix's national anthem took guitar heroism to a whole new level. It was a "jarring, uplifting, haunting, energizing anthem" that evoked the sounds of war. For a Black guitarist and former US army paratrooper to perform such an unorthodox and even antiwar version of America's theme song, it was subversive indeed. Bob Dylan reportedly called it "a cry of despair and love."
Whew, tough decision, but whose version ruled more: #WhitneysAnthem Or #JimisAnthem?
Who performed 'The Star-Spangled Banner' best: Whitney Houston or Jimi Hendrix?
We should just play Whitney Houston's performance of star spangled banner every time— Kevin Williams (@Phat_Mack) June 20, 2016
Listen to Kate Smith sing God Bless America on UTube. Chills. Whitney Houston sing Star Spangled Banner. Chills of pride down spine.— Bob L. (@Patriot715) June 17, 2016