And now, a little something from the folder marked "land of the free".
When it comes to celebrity renditions of the national anthem, examples of "what so proudly we hailed" seem a lot less common than examples of "the perilous fight." Just look at the backlash against Alicia Keys' version of the tune before the Super Bowl if you want a good example of bombs bursting in air.
But then the general public had its say... and there were plenty of naysayers to complain that Alicia Keys had somehow betrayed Francis Scott Key.
Suddenly Keys found herself joining a not-so-exclusive club of stars who've been excoriated for tackling The Anthem, whether they were similarly polarizing, a la Christina Aguilera and Beyonce, or universally alienating, a la Steven Tyler and Roseanne Barr.
Reader responses to Yahoo! Music's initial positive coverage of Keys' anthem were more dismissive, or angry, than laudatory. "Stop trying to make the national anthem 'your own'," said one of the most popular reactions on the site. "It's not yours. It's ours collectively. Sing it the way it's supposed to be sung." Later, the same user added, "I never meant to imply she wasn't a great musician or that she butchered the song in any way. I just feel the National Anthem is one song that should be performed the way it was written and artists shouldn't try and use it as an opportunity to top the iTunes charts the next morning."
Within five hours, that diss had 1,098 thumbs-ups on Yahoo!, and only 225 thumbs-down.
Here's two cents (six, adusted for inflation) from the loose change pocket of my frontal lobes.
This song has been the subject of debate for years, not only when Super Bowl comes around, but every time it gets sung at any event of any national prominence.
And in the course of the debate, along with the obvious they say/they say regarding the "license" that singers take with it, we usually hear the familiar rumblings that, both musically and lyrically, Mr. Scott Key's chart topper is much less the ideal choice for the national anthem than would be, say, "America The Beautiful."
Well, to paraphrase John Lennon's observation in "Glass Onion"....
...here's another clue for you all...
The chances that The Star Spangled Banner will ever be discontinued as the national anthem of the United States of America are less than the chances that the NRA will parade down Broadway in support of any restriction on any weapon at any time.
One thing about the ever changing American is that the ever changing American don't like change.
So much for that.
Meanwhile, as regards the twisted panties that seem to knot up everytime somebody on a stage with a microphone publicly sees by the dawn's early light, let's take another fun, albeit futile, stab at looking at it from a common sense POV.
"....I just feel the National Anthem is one song that should be performed the way it was written and artists shouldn't try and use it as an opportunity to top the iTunes charts the next morning...."
Dear Yahoo poster, would you please do two things?
One, tell us exactly the way that it was written so that we might honor that request.
Two, please explain the breaking newsworthy phenomenon of your remarkable longevity, given that you were obviously alive and around to see and hear how the anthem was written when Francis first penned it.
In, oh, around 1814.
That aside, though, we would all benefit from some clarification as to your other passionate plea for patriotic presentation...
"Stop trying to make the national anthem 'your own',"
"It's not yours. It's ours collectively. Sing it the way it's supposed to be sung."
Again, I refer you to the two earlier requests.
With this addendum that I'm pretty much sure is valid.
At least, it was the last time I read an eighth grade civics textbook.
Being an American means that we are free to be individuals.
And if that means we want to sing the national anthem in our personal style, then damn the critics and allegro for everyone.
The Borg does things "collectively".
Americans sing the Star Spangled Banner any old way they want.
That's the point of it.