Best Super Bowl National Anthems of All Time, Ranked (VIDEO)

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This Sunday, February 12, the biggest night in American sports kicks off in Glendale, Arizona. Super Bowl LVII begins at 6:30 pm ET on Fox, and the broadcast has an exciting lineup of performers this year to accompany the football championship game.

Chris Stapleton is taking on the national anthem, and Rihanna will tackle the Super Bowl Halftime Show 2023. Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph is also part of the lineup. The Broadway alum will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” And in another special treat, Babyface will be performing “America the Beautiful” during the pre-show.

Some of the Super Bowl national anthems have become just as legendary as the best Super Bowl Halftime shows, and even some “America the Beautiful” renditions have stood the test of time. Stapleton’s raspy wail is sure to make for a memorable “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ahead of his appearance at the game (which will see the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles go head-to-head in Glendale, Arizona, we’re naming the 12 greatest Super Bowl national anthem performances of all time (which also feature some splendid sign language interpreters!).

Below, we rank our all-time favorites. The NFL has blocked certain videos from being shared, but the links will take you to Youtube where you can watch to your heart’s content.

Now, without further ado, our ranking of the best Super Bowl national anthems of all time:

12. Mickey Guyton, 2022

The most recent Super Bowl national anthem performance, you can see on country star Mickey Guyton‘s face that she was fulfilling a lifelong dream. She started out a cappella, and then was joined by a choir that bolstered her moving performance. Her gestures felt improvised but also inspired by Whitney Houston’s 1991 showing (below). It was all around a lovely new addition to this yearly event.

11. Billy Joel, 1989

Billy Joel has sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at two Super Bowls. His second performance in 2007 is typically listed on rankings like these, but his first in 1989 is our favorite. Both taking place in Miami, Joel’s a cappella version had the entire stadium singing along, making for a memorable moment of collective excitement.

10. Carrie Underwood, 2010

Carrie Underwood opted for an entirely a cappella performance, choosing to highlight her vocal strength with a simple arrangement of the song, and boy, did she! Most singers switch into their falsetto when hitting the “free” high note. Underwood belted it instead just to let everyone know what she can do. Noted!

9. Jazmine Sullivan & Eric Church, 2021

Country crooner Eric Church and R&B legend Jazmine Sullivan joined forces for the 2021 Super Bowl, and their combination of styles created a country blues rendition that allowed both singers to shine. Church held onto the melody while also playing guitar, and Sullivan rode the song with chilling vocal runs. The unexpected pairing resulted in an unexpectedly delightful interpretation. This performance also featured a scene-stealing performance in American Sign Language by deaf interpreter Warren “Wawa” Snipe. His energetic and gleeful performance made him a standout of the event.

8. Kelly Clarkson, 2012

Outside of Kelly Clarkson‘s expectedly powerhouse vocals, the drumline is what really makes this performance soar. Super Bowl national anthem performances tend to choose between grandiose orchestral accompaniments and a cappella renditions. Focusing on snare drums instead was a stimulating choice.

7. Jennifer Hudson, 2009

One thing about Jennifer Hudson is, she’s always going to choose to make something gospel. And thanks to her uniquely stellar voice, it always works — even when applied to this hundreds of years old tune.

6. The Chicks, 2003

The melodious harmonies of The Chicks’ (Natalie Maines and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer) rendition will send chills down the spine upon every single listen. And the strings accompaniment behind them only makes this performance ever more harmonious.

5. Cher, 1999

We have now entered the cinematic orchestrations portion of the list. The top five Super Bowl national anthem performances begins with Cher, who can always be relied on to deliver a glittering spectacle. There’s a magical quality to the score of Cher’s rendition, and her deep voice soars on the high notes. This version truly encapsulates the sound of the 1990s, and fittingly so, given it was performed in the final year of the decade/millennium. The group Speaking Hands delivered an equally memorable and animated performance alongside her.

4. Luther Vandross, 1997

Who knew the national anthem could be enjoyed in a smooth and silky reimagining? Luther Vandross did, that’s who. Vandross’s performance at the 1997 Super Bowl featured a color guard performance and an arrangement that sounds like a love song.

3. Lady Gaga, 2016

Lady Gaga performed the song in its original time signature, with just a piano accompaniment, and of course with her signature theatrical flare at the 50th Super Bowl. Her delivery was straight-forward and powerful, reminding viewers of her Sound of Music Oscars tribute the year prior. Every note is packed with a punch, and her movements always match the moment. It was a fierce and display of talent that still aimed respectful focus on the task at hand. The massive American flag in the background was surely a crowd-pleaser. Gaga was joined by Marlee Matlin in this performance, who gave a stirring ASL interpretation.

2. Beyoncé, 2004

The 22-year-old Beyoncé‘s interpretation knew the value of delivering this tune with pomp and circumstance in this arena. The horns as she sings “the brave!”produce full body chills. This rendition featured the best orchestration accompaniment behind the No. 1 spot, which goes to…

1. Whitney Houston, 1991

Simply the best. The orchestra is large and in charge, and Whitney Houston‘s vocals and body language are powerful and reverent. She added few but effectively placed and stylistic vocal choices, knowing that simple and big is the way to sing this.

Houston was actually performing with a pre-recorded track for this to account for the noise of the crowd and the flyover (as many others have). But she was still singing live with her microphone off. The legendary musician always made singing look easy. We all know she would’ve sounded exactly the same as the recording if her mic was live.

There’s also something about the tracksuit and headband that works so much better than the more glittering ensembles of the others on this list. No one has done it better.

Super Bowl LVII, Sunday, February 12, 6:30/5:30c, Fox