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YOUR WEEKLY WHITNEY: Super Bowl Star Spangled Banner (2447 hits)

On January 27, 1991–10 days into the Persian Gulf War—Whitney Houston took the field at Tampa Stadium during Super Bowl XXV and performed "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER” before 73,813 fans, 115 million viewers in the United States and a worldwide television audience of 750 million.


"If you were there, you could feel the intensity. You know, we were in the Gulf War at the time. It was an intense time for a country. A lot of our daughters and sons were overseas fighting. I could see, in the stadium, I could see the fear, the hope, the intensity, the prayers going up, you know, and I just felt like this is the moment. And it was hope, we needed hope, you know, to bring our babies home and that's what it was about for me, that what I felt when I sang that song, and the overwhelming love coming out of the stands was incredible."

—Whitney Houston talking about how she felt at the moment when she belted out the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV.


The patriotic feeling of Houston's stirring cover resonated strongly with the public. Due to overwhelming response to her rendition, Arista Records announced that it was released as a single and video of her performance, and all profits would be donated to a charity connected with the war effort.


Afterward Houston said that "I went back up in the sky booth and watched the game. It wasn't until a day or two later that I realized the whole country was in an uproar."


According to Clive Davis, Arista Records' decision to release the record came after three days of being flooded with phone calls from all over the country from people asking to buy copies of the single. Hundreds of radio stations around the country aired the song from tapes they had recorded from the TV broadcast. Eventually, the CDs, audio cassettes of the performance were released on February 12, and its video singles on February 17, 1991 in the United States by Arista Records, respectively.


And the proceeds―$531,650, a combined contribution from the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, Inc., Arista and Bertelsmann Music Group Distribution which donated all their royalties and profits from the sale of those―went to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund, which provided aid to U.S. military personnel, their families and war victims in the region.


Whitney Houston's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" is considered one of the best performances ever for the national anthem in music history and the benchmark for singers.

Hubert Mizell of St. Petersburg Times lauded her to the skies, saying "Whitney Houston brought down the house as the lady with the super pipes sang the Super Bowl's most meaningful national anthem ever."

Liz Smith from Newsday called the performance "a magnificent rendition. Her powerhouse version turned that often impossible-to-sing tune into a hit."


After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Arista Records re-released Houston's "The Star Spangled Banner". She once again donated her share of the royalties, as did Arista Records, towards the firefighters and victims of the terrorist attacks. This time the single peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100, and was certified platinum by the RIAA.


This made Houston the first musical act to take the national anthem Top 10 in the US, and have it certified platinum.


In 2001, the song reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, which was Houston's last Top 10 entry on the chart until I Will Always Love You re-entered the chart and peaked at #3 following Houston's death on February 11, 2012.
Posted By: Richard Kigel
Saturday, May 26th 2012 at 10:11PM
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Rich
This was a classic moment for the "Hometown Girls" career for sure!
Thanks again!
Sunday, May 27th 2012 at 2:03PM
Lots of singers and musicians have significantly altered National Anthem performances only to have fans displeased with the performance...but when Whitney Houston stepped on the stage and performed the national anthem, it was OFF THE CHAIN!!!!

Whitney's version of the song brought much needed attention to racism and injustice everywhere.

Long live our Nippy!!!


Sunday, May 27th 2012 at 4:29PM
Siebra Muhammad
Right.

What could be more commonplace than a singer doing the Star Spangled Banner at a ball game.

The simple fact that Whitney touched people so deeply they were clamoring for it--I don't ever remember anything like it before or since.

It was an amazing moment--her Super Bowl--and she rose to the occasion. She was MVP for sure!!!


Sunday, May 27th 2012 at 6:10PM
Richard Kigel
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