Monday, November 3, 2008

Nov. 3: A Few Words About Our National Anthem

By Sylvia Gurinsky

As a Florida Marlins fan who was rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, I give a grudging congratulations to the Marlins' National League Eastern Division rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.

I would like to warmly applaud singer John Oates, of Hall and Oates, for being the only singer during the Fall Classic who delivered a National Anthem that was worthy of the title.

Yes, I am picky about how the "Star-Spangled Banner" is sung. It is difficult, but singer after singer moves around notes, messes up the words, and generally makes it painful to listen to time after time. My favorite vocal versions have come from opera singers, including the late Robert Merrill, who sang it so many times at Yankee Stadium, and Marilyn Horne.

If sports franchises, etc., can't find anyone to sing it properly, just play a recording, let the organist perform, or let the fans/audience sing a cappella. That's the best way.

I tried to find a good recording, but couldn't. So here's the next best thing: Kate Smith singing "God Bless America," from the 1943 movie version of Irving Berlin's "This Is the Army." The sequence includes a then-future U.S. president named Ronald Reagan:

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