Star Spangled Banner

Whitney Houston

About Star Spangled Banner

"The Star Spangled Banner" is a charity single recorded by American singer Whitney Houston to raise funds for soldiers and families of those involved in the Persian Gulf War. Written by Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The musical arrangement for Whitney Houston's rendition was by conductor John Clayton. The recording was produced by music coordinator Rickey Minor, along with Houston herself. The recording was included in the 2014 CD/DVD release, Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances and the US edition of the 2000 release, Whitney: The Greatest Hits. Traditionally performed at sports games in the US, "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed by Houston at the original Tampa Stadium for Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Houston donated her portion of the proceeds. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Arista Records re-released Houston's "The Star Spangled Banner". She once again donated her share of the royalties, as did Arista Records, towards the firefighters and victims of the terrorist attacks. This time the single peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100, and was certified platinum by the RIAA. This made Houston the first musical act to take the national anthem Top 10 in the US, and have it certified platinum. The 2001 re-release of the single was Houston's last Top Ten hit on the US Hot 100 during her lifetime. 

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

Whitney Houston

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston was one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps. more »

14 fans

Written by: David L Brunner, Francis Scott Key

10 facts about this song

Historical Perspective
Whitney Houston's rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" happened during Super Bowl XXV in 1991. This performance is considered iconic and one of the best renditions of the U.S.A's national anthem.
Song Release
Despite it being a performance of the national anthem, due to popular demand, it was released as a commercial single.
Chart Success
The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Whitney Houston the only person to turn the national anthem into a pop hit of sorts.
In 2001, following the 9/11 terror attacks, the single was re-released, once again earning a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually going Platinum.
Beneficiary Payout
The royalties and profits generated by the song were generously donated by Whitney Houston to the American Red Cross and first responders.
Record Label
The song was officially released under the Arista Records label, which was Houston's record label throughout her career.
Historical Context
Houston's performance took place during the time of the Persian Gulf War. This added an emotional layer to her renditions, making it even more special and poignant.
Grammy Hall of Fame
In 2021, almost a decade after Houston's death, her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Inspiring Future Artists
This rendition of the anthem is often cited as the benchmark for future performances, with many artists aspiring to achieve this level of emotionality and popularity.
Production Quality
Despite a common myth that Houston lip-synced to a pre-recorded track during her Super Bowl performance, the NFL clarified that a ‘backing track’ was used to bolster the live performance, a common practice in such events.

Discuss the Star Spangled Banner Lyrics with the community:

  • Ken MacLeod
    Ken MacLeod
    These lines are about the country's darker side, I think, which likely explains why no one ever hears them sung aloud:

    "No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave" 
    LikeReply 13 years ago
    • jamesp.65036
      , I see those lines as a dig at the British Navy by Key, not a reference to American slavery (I oppose slavery of any kind, especially that which was done in our American past). The British had many mercenaries in their ranks (the "hierlings"). They also weren't bashful about impressing folks into service against their will (the "slaves"). 
      LikeReply11 months ago
  • Lydia Villas
    Lydia Villas
    "Oh say can you see,By the dawns early light?" Thats the part io can sing the best ;-;
    LikeReply4 years ago
  • Kathy Arciszewski
    Kathy Arciszewski
    "Oh thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war's desolation"

    These words are from our Star Spangled Banner, fourth verse, my favorite. As we reflect on the war of the Greatest Generation we have no idea what they witnessed. Death, pain, blood and they kept moving. Unbelievable. 
    LikeReply 14 years ago


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"Star Spangled Banner Lyrics." STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023. <>.

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