The best Super Bowl national anthem performances ever

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

February 2nd, 2021

Last week, we ranked the five worst national anthem performances in Super Bowl history. This week, we’ll stop attacking your eardrums, take a more positive tone, and examine the five best.

Let’s dive in and hit the high notes, shall we?

5. Choirs of the Armed Forces, 2005

I’m a sucker for pageantry, and that’s one of many reasons we’ll kick off this list with a collaborative effort.

Members of all five branches of the United States military came together to perform the anthem before Super Bowl XXXIX, between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, and the performance was punctuated with a flyover during the song’s final lyrics.

4. Luther Vandross, 1997

The man known as “the Velvet Voice” was silky smooth in his performance prior to Super Bowl XXXI, between the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots.

It was a big year for Vandross, as he also took home a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the song “Your Secret Love.”

3. Beyonce, 2004

Super Bowl XXXVIII was contested in Beyonce’s hometown of Houston, Texas, so she was a natural pick to take the stage.

She shined under the bright lights, and it began a long relationship between her and the big game. Beyonce has since gone on to headline multiple Super Bowl halftime shows.

2. Jennifer Hudson, 2009

Every bit of Super Bowl XLIII was memorable.

The Pittsburgh Steelers topped the Arizona Cardinals thanks to a tremendous touchdown catch from Santonio Holmes, Bruce Springsteen went all-out during the halftime show, and Jennifer Hudson nailed the national anthem.

The anthem performance, of course, was no surprise, as Hudson is a two-time Grammy winner and a world-class performer.

1. Whitney Houston, 1991

It's 30 years later, and not much in the way of any live performance tops this.

Whitney Houston marched onto the field prior to Super Bowl XXV, which was contested during the Gulf War.

Even lip-synced, her performance remains stirring, and the recording of her take on the anthem was released as a single twice, once after the game and again after the Sept. 11 attacks. Both times, Houston donated her proceeds to charity.