Tuesday, September 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

National anthem performed well, badly

Natl Anthem

By
From page A2 | January 27, 2014 |

Seattle native Ann Wilson of the rock band Heart sang the national anthem at the NFC Championship game between the 49ers and the Seahawks and drew mixed reactions. I love Heart and especially Ann’s brazen voice, but have to admit she went a lil’ sour when she sang “the land of the free.”

It was as if she decided to go somewhere vocally and halfway there, she realized it was a wrong turn and took a hasty detour. Still, overall, I liked the rock ’n’ roll attitude she infused into Francis Scott Key’s tune.

At least she got the words right.

I was at an Oakland Raiders game years ago and singer/actress Lainie Kazan was about to sing it and I noticed she was holding (gasp!) lyric cheat sheets! Then she compounded that faux pas by screwing up the words anyway. Raider Nation booed her lustily.

Of course, the worst-ever rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” has to be Roseanne Barr’s 1990 screech-fest before a San Diego Padres game.

The best, cited by many, was the late Whitney Houston’s superb version sang before Super Bowl XXV in 1991. It was delivered sweetly, powerfully and yet with appropriate understatement, using the exquisite and now tragically silenced instrument Houston possessed.

My favorite rendition was performed by U.S. Army veteran James Marshall Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969. The dynamic, feedback-drenched instrumental version he coaxed out of his Stratocaster just, well, strikes a chord with this old-school rocker.

As a first-grader at Camp Allen Elementary School in Norfolk, Va., I was taught the words and melody of the song. What was not taught to me was what the heck the song was about.

In September 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry” during the War of 1812. It actually has four stanzas, but the familiar first one is all most Americans know. In brief, the first stanza is about seeing the American flag fly over the ramparts, or protective walls, of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore.

One of the more interesting lines is in the third verse that mentions slavery: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.” That almost sounds like an early Black Sabbath lyric.

Anyway, the poem that Key wrote was ironically set to the tune of a popular British drinking song and, by an act of Congress in 1931, became the official national anthem of the United States.

I know there are some who do not like when singers “jazz it up,” but to me that’s fine as long as it is not overdone. I don’t like different arrangements, though. I prefer singers just sing the traditional freakin’ tune and swing a beer stein back and forth if they must.

What’s more important to me is not the singer, but how those present behave when it is sung.

A few months ago, I was working at the Armijo High School snack bar during a football game and when the national anthem was sung before the varsity contest, I was irritated by a gaggle of moronic, giggling teenage girls who desperately needed to do a Google search for the word “respect.”

I was taught that when the national anthem is sang or played, you stand, remove any headgear, face the flag and place your right hand over your heart. If you are a member of the armed forces – active duty or retired – you give a military salute at the first note and hold it until the last.

The only time I didn’t stand during the national anthem was when the TV used to sign off at midnight and play it. I must confess, I thought it was kinda silly to stand at the Travis Air Force Base Theater as a kid while it was played before watching “The Pink Panther.”

Now, though, I enjoy sometimes catching the national anthem blasting over Travis’s loudspeakers, nicknamed “The Giant Voice,” every day at 16:30 (4:30 p.m.). It is an instrumental version and has no bum notes, no forgotten words, and it sweetly, and in a rather surreal way, seems to come from the sky.

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at kelvinsbrother@sbcglobal.net.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • P.J.January 27, 2014 - 10:00 am

    I like the "Giant Voice" at Travis! Notice how cars stop, and people who are walking also stop and salute. I too loved Whitney Houston's beautiful rendition of our national anthem. How to honor our nation's tradition's should be taught in kindergarten. I once helped out at a school in Texas. The very first voice of the morning said; "please stand for our national anthem, followed by the pledge". I saw little children, put down their back packs, and place their hand over their heart. RESPECT! even if they were running late! ....like me!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Labor Day sees more Solano freeway crashes

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

VP Biden says workers deserve ‘fair share’

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
San Francisco to be 1st to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GOP challenger tries novel tactics against Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Texas’ Perry says disparaging tweet unauthorized

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US eating habits improve a bit – except among poor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
No gray area: Beliefs shape views of Brown killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Poland’s PM: Ukraine’s war must be stopped now

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Inquiries begin into nude celebrity photo leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
‘Guardians’ tops Labor Day, summer box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Kirk rallies to win the Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rockies top Giants after losing end of suspended game

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dunn homers in 1st at-bat as A’s top Mariners

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Right guard Boone passes physical, rejoins 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders name rookie Derek Carr as starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armed with new deal, Chiefs’ Smith looks forward

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Column: Stewart’s Chase status doesn’t matter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders ink CB Dowling, 9 others to practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Serena Williams, Djokovic roll to US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Houston Astros fire manager Bo Porter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Austerity debate flares as Europe recovery fades

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7