10 Rocking National Anthem Performances
You’ve heard this song performed many times, many different ways over the years but there’s just something about hearing the U.S. National Anthem performed on the 4th of July that really brings out the patriotism in most Americans.
As we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S., you’ll no doubt hear the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ performed at least once somewhere today. But there’s no reason that the version you hear shouldn’t rock. We’ve researched and come up with some of the most rocking versions of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ performed by acts like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett and Zakk Wylde among others. Enjoy our list and stick around at the end for a bonus clip of ‘America the Beautiful,’ another patriotic favorite, from an America-loving rocker.
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler
Though Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler did take some criticism for his less than stellar rendition of the National Anthem at the 2012 AFC Championship game, he has performed the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ admirably on a number of occasions. Check out this bluesy rendition of the Anthem, complete with some opening harmonica awesomeness, that Tyler performed at the 2001 Indianapolis 500.
Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna
You definitely need to hit some high notes when performing the National Anthem, and Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna showed that he was definitely up to the task earlier this year. Belladonna received an invite to perform before a Chicago Bulls game, and his bandmate Scott Ian captured this performance. As seen in the clip, Ian gave it a horns up with a two-word critique — “Nailed it!”
Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde
Black Label Society frontman and longtime Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde is a proud American, and as such he’s performed the National Anthem at many sporting events and concerts over the years. In this performance, Wylde dedicates the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ to the soldiers defending our country and calls the American classic one of the greatest songs ever written. And by the way, this version totally shreds.
Creed’s Scott Stapp
Back in 2005, Creed frontman Scott Stapp earned a spot on many National Anthem fail lists with his performance at the NASCAR Ford 400 Championship Race. But the vocalist got a chance to redeem himself and did a more respectable job in 2010 while performing ahead of a Florida Marlins baseball game. He may not have gone for the high notes, but his soulful delivery definitely earned high marks from the home crowd.
If you’re a guitarist and you want to play the National Anthem, it all starts here — Jimi Hendrix‘s iconic rendition that he delivered at Woodstock. This amazing 1969 distortion-infused performance really opened things up for artists to put their own stamp on the classic and to this day this version remains the standard by which all other guitar-based renditions are judged.
Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett
Can you believe that in all their years Metallica had never performed the National Anthem? Yet back in May, the band got their chance during “Metallica Day” at their hometown San Francisco Giants game. Even though frontman James Hetfield was part of the rendition, he and fellow guitarist Kirk Hammett chose to “metal out” an instrumental version rather than have Hetfield attempt to sing.
Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready has been invited to rock the National Anthem on multiple occasions, including playing in front of the hometown Seattle Mariners crowd. This clip, however, finds McCready playing his rocked out version in a much smaller venue — Seattle’s Showbox — during a 2012 appearance.
You want patriotism? You’ve got it in the form of guitar great Slash, who’s decked out in a top hat you’re not used to seeing. Instead of the trademark black top hat, he opted for a red, white and blue American flag version while rocking a scorching rendition of the National Anthem elevated high above the crowd below. We’ll definitely pledge allegiance to this version.
Three Days Grace’s Adam Gontier
Yes, vocalists sing in front of crowds for a living, but performing the National Anthem in front of a nationally televised audience is a different beast altogether. In this 2012 clip, Three Days Grace‘s then frontman Adam Gontier provided a little behind-the-scenes background before his performance at a New England Patriots game. You get to see all that goes into the experience — the pre-performance nerves, dealing with the stadium’s echo and still hitting all the notes despite the obvious distractions. If you wish to skip right to the performance without all of the background footage, forward to 4:30 in the clip.
Tool’s Adam Jones
There’s been a very close relationship between rock music and wrestling over the years and the WWE definitely pulled off a coup scoring Tool guitar great Adam Jones to perform the National Anthem ahead of 2011’s Summer Slam. This star-spangled rendition rocks the house and is capped off with some massive explosions just to get the action off on the right foot.
Bonus: Kid Rock’s ‘America the Beautiful’
Since 9/11, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ isn’t the only patriotic song receiving love at sporting events. ‘America the Beautiful’ is also often performed at a number of venues. Keeping in the patriotic spirit, check out this bonus rendition of the heartfelt ‘America the Beautiful’ as performed by Kid Rock during the 2005 NBA Finals featuring his hometown Detroit Pistons.
We hope you enjoyed this post, and Noisecreep wishes everyone out there a happy 4th of July. Tell us your favorite rendition of the National Anthem in the comments section below.