10 of The Best National Anthem Performances of All Time

Explore 10 of the most unforgettable national anthem performances in sports history, from Jennifer Hudson’s soulful rendition in 2009 to Mariah Carey’s emotive delivery in 2002. These moments, rich in passion and talent, have left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide.

National anthems at sports events are more than just a mere formality. They set the tone for the game, unite the audience, and often leave an indelible mark on the collective memory. Over the years, there have been some stand-out performances that deserve a special mention. Here are ten of the most unforgettable:

1. Lady Gaga at Super Bowl 50 (2016)

Renowned for her theatrical flair, Lady Gaga took everyone’s breath away with her rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl 50. With her passionate delivery and charismatic stage presence, she added her unique touch, proving that the anthem could be both respectful and dramatic.

2. Whitney Houston & The Florida Orchestra at Super Bowl XXV (1991)

The late, great Whitney Houston gave a moving performance during Super Bowl XXV, amidst the backdrop of the Gulf War. With the Florida Orchestra backing her, Houston’s rendition became an emblem of hope, unity, and patriotism, later becoming one of the best-selling singles in music history.

3. Beyonce at Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)

Queen Bey graced Super Bowl XXXVIII with a pitch-perfect, heartfelt rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her controlled and yet emotional delivery showcased the depth of her vocal talent and drew admiration from millions worldwide.

4. Marvin Gaye at the NBA All-Star Game (1983)

The NBA All-Star Game witnessed a revolutionary take on the anthem by the Prince of Soul, Marvin Gaye. By turning the traditionally solemn song into a soulful, smooth jazz tune, Gaye not only showcased his impeccable vocal skills but also transformed the way we perceive the national anthem.

5. Billy Joel at the World Series (1989) & Super Bowl XLI (2007)

The legendary Billy Joel delivered not one, but two unforgettable performances. First, in 1989 during the World Series and then later, at Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Joel’s rich, warm voice, combined with his natural charisma, gave both renditions a sense of timelessness, resonating deeply with the audience.

6. Jennifer Hudson at Super Bowl XLIII (2009)

During Super Bowl XLIII, Jennifer Hudson gave us an anthem for the ages. Facing personal adversity, Hudson’s rendition was a raw embodiment of strength and resilience. Each note carried a weight that touched the hearts of millions, making it an unforgettable opener for the game.

7. Cher at Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)

Super Bowl XXXIII bore witness to the iconic Cher as she infused “The Star-Spangled Banner” with her unmistakable charm and vocal prowess. Balancing respect with her unique style, she delivered an anthem that was both traditional and unmistakably Cher.

8. The Chicks at Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)

The harmonious trio took center stage at Super Bowl XXXVII, turning the national anthem into a melodic symphony. Their rendition, with its country-infused harmonies, echoed sentiments of unity and patriotism, leaving an indelible mark on all present.

9. Kelly Clarkson at Super Bowl XLVI (2012)

Super Bowl XLVI was treated to a dose of Clarkson’s signature powerful vocals. Her rendition was both passionate and pristine, striking the right chord between reverence for the anthem and her individual flair. The result was a performance that both uplifted and inspired.

10. Mariah Carey at Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

At Super Bowl XXXVI, in a world healing from the scars of 9/11, Mariah Carey’s ethereal voice offered solace and hope. Known for her incredible range, Carey’s heartfelt performance served as a poignant reminder of the nation’s spirit and resilience.


The national anthem, when performed at sporting events, becomes more than just a ceremonial tradition; it’s a unifying moment that encapsulates the spirit of the occasion and the heart of a nation. The renditions listed in this article are a testament to this sentiment, where artistry meets passion and patriotism. 

These iconic performances not only set the tone for the ensuing competition but also etched themselves into the collective memory of spectators and viewers, transcending time and evoking emotions for years to come. They remind us that in the world of sports, sometimes the most profound moments happen even before the game begins.