America’s National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is hard to sing for most Americans, which makes it not a good choice for National Anthem. Hardly anyone can hit the highs and lows right and those who can are too often compelled to butcher it with by showing off their range in the up and down points.
There is a solution though, and it doesnt involve scrapping the Spangled Banner for a different song: Just sing it differently. I have been in favor of this since kindergarden but in 2015 when Stephen Colbert opened up his new gig as host of the Late Show with exactly this type of re-tuning rendition, all my years of think-singing it differently in my head was confirmed.
In the cold-open to his first show, titled Play Ball, Colbert sings, via multi-location montage from various places and with various people, the Anthem in a way that is goofy for comedic affect, but has a real life implication of accommodating a non-singers vocal range. Throughout the song he is accompanied by singers with talent at singing the anthem in its traditional inflections and the 2 together harmonize wonderfully.
Colberts joke should be the nations reality…
Can you not imagine this being a for-real thing? Each individual in the crowd being able to choose the gifted-singer’s version or the common-mans version and either way – or both together – sounding just wonderful? This should be a thing. I think this should be a legitimate option introduced by official government decree that there are 2 acceptable ways to sing the anthem: the traditional way, and this altered inflection way.