Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 Flashback: NASCAR's Star Mangled Banner


Update: We are starting our look back at the 2010 season with one of the most popular topics. Click here for a listen to the Bret Michaels and friends version of our national anthem at the Sprint Cup Series finale in Homestead, FL. This was just one of the many interesting versions of this song heard along the NASCAR trail in 2010. We invite your comments on this topic as NASCAR and the various tracks make plans for next season.

This column was originally published August 17, 2010:

One Twitter user referred to the Saving Abel rendition of the National Anthem at Michigan International Speedway as "The Star Mangled Banner."

Click here to see what folks are still talking about and what got the MIS phone lines lit up for hours.

Here are some other comments from around the media world:

Even by the woeful standards of NASCAR national anthems, the rendition before the MIS race, by members of the band Saving Abel, was wretched. (Monte Dutton, Gaston Gazette)

The band Saving Abel performed on Saturday night and apparently didn't save much for Sunday's national anthem. Several folks commented it was the worst rendition of the anthem at the track in years. (George Sipple, Detroit Free Press)

NASCAR and track promoters have sold out what should be the privilege of presenting the American national anthem to whatever singer has a new CD to promote, without regard for any sense of patriotism or talent. (Carol Einarsson, Race Journal Online)

While recent anger may be directed at Saving Abel, one only has to click here to remember the disaster at Loudon, NH when the remnants of the 1970's rock group Foghat delivered the anthem.

A favorite of many TDP readers is Jesse McCartney, a former Dream Street boy band member, who did the honors last October in Fontana, CA. Click here to see McCartney forget the words on a very public stage.

It may well be the individual tracks that provide the singers, but the impression is very different for fans watching on TV and even at the track. NASCAR and the associated TV partners, especially FOX, have tied themselves to patriotic and military themes since the new TV contract began in 2007.

At a time when the military is actively engaged in dangerous missions, the presentation of this song is the centerpiece of a pre-race show that has real meaning for fans and TV viewers. We pray, sing, flyover, start engines and race in America.

NASCAR has been more responsive to ongoing issues this season then ever before. Town Hall meetings have addressed financial, technical and competition topics. It's time to NASCAR to step-in and make sure the anthem is presented by a properly dressed singer capable of fitting into the pre-race show of a major professional sport.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

62 comments:

GuardWifeL said...

When it sometimes feels that Nascar is a final bastion of God and Country in a large public arena, it's beyond horrifying to witness something so incredibly awful and disappointing. These people need to audition or something!! Disgusting (and, btw, I like the band!)

OSBORNK said...

Saving Abel did the worst job with the National Anthem I have ever heard at a sporting event (including Rosanne Barr). What made it worse for me was a performance I had just enjoyed by a family band (redheadexpress.com)in a live taping of a Song of the Mountain performance(PBS). It was the first time I have seen a band open their performance with the National Anthem and it was the best I have heard.

Vince said...

Who ever that was that sang the Star Spangled Banner, I never heard of him, needs to crawl back under the rock he came from. MIS and NASCAR should be ashamed and embarrassed.

Sign me a pissed off USAF veteran.

Jacob S. said...

I've been a NASCAR fan for 12 years now and have noticed that in that time, the bad anthem has gone from occasional to pandemic. I've enjoyed exactly three anthems this year. The trumpet player at Phoenix, the marching band at Martinsville, and whoever sang it at the Coke 600. Maybe NASCAR should hire strictly instrumentalists and send a message to singers. "If you can't do it right and can't do it in tune, you can't do it here."

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I am certain that what I would view as properly dressed and what my teenage grandson would view as properly dressed would be somewhat different. It seems to me that all that is really needed is for Mike Helton to call the 5 track owners and make it clear to them that they should not embarass the sport.

Adam Wood said...

Bristol Motor Speedway reports Southern Pop Singer Jessie James will sing the anthem for the Nationwide race. The press release cites her new album. Nothing learned here.

The cup race brings some relief: The Children of NASCAR.

Link: http://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/news/speedway_news_releases/577357.html

I am going to be introducing some friends to NASCAR this weekend-let's hope Bristol & ESPN get it right, from anthem to the finish line. Otherwise I might not have any friends.

tiamatsrevenge said...

I had missed it on Sunday and found the video over on Busbee's blog on Yahoo ...

Oddly enough ... It was the same guy on Sat and Sun ... He wasn't horrible on Saturday for the Nwide race ... Only thing I can think of is the guy that was kneeling down trying to sync the singer with the flyover might've been out of sync himself ...

Sunday's rendition was bad ... but, it's NOT the worst that I've ever heard ...

I've heard bad renditions out of Jessie James (but some male members of the NASCAR world seem to love her ... uhhh, her "assets") ... I also think Robin Meade did not do a very good job at Sears Point in June ... Not to mention the "American Idol" ad nauseum screw-ups ...

And for those who say it should be members of the military ... I've heard bad renditions from them too ... including several US Navy seamen ... and the 82nd Airborne Chorus had a couple of members be a bit too high up the charts at the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year ...

I've also heard bad instrumental renditions ... like the guy who was trying to channel Jimi Hendrix at the Truck race this year ...

It's a hard song to sing ... and even the best singers have bad days ...

But, someone at the track really needs to make sure that the singers are in full possession of their faculties BEFORE they hit the stage ...

Anonymous said...

I would say that the Michigan rendition of the National Anthem accurately reflects the state of this country, the state of NASCAR and it is what we all deserved to hear.

Ann_Ominous said...

If the network really does not have anything to do with picking them, then how come FOX trotts out the Idol contestants? They have been some of the worst!

BWBarefoot said...

That album was slow and painful to watch! The only other anthem that took that long to complete was Marvin Gaye's rendition at the 1981 NBA All-Star Game. Even that was entertaining due to the arrangement. The Saving Abel version was just booooring.

Brett728 said...

I actually emailed the track, probably not my best writing but below is what I wrote :
To Whom it May Concern,

Having worked all weekend, I am finally getting to watch the race from this past weekend. I don't know if someone owed someone a favor, or what. Isn't there a rehearsal where the performer..(I hesitate to say singer) practices the anthem? Wasn't there some sort of red flag raised? I guess not, as that..uhh.. duo..made it on the air. Maybe you knew it was sooo bad that you fired off the fireworks and told the A-10 "Warthogs" to speed it up, to drown out that "performance". It was awful!!! I am sorry for my contact with you to not be of a more positive nature as I love your track and the racing that comes from it. I just feel I had to let you know what it sounded like from this side of the television. Please tell me that I am not the only one to contact you on this matter?

Thank you for reading...time to unmute my TV and enjoy the rest of the race.

:)

I received a response from Mr. Roger Curtis who, while I greatly appreciate his response (he used my name in the reply, though it could have been a form letter) he pretty much refused to badmouth the band. I can post the reply if anyone would like?

Jonathan said...

who cares I didnt turn on my tv or come to the track to hear a tune..
I came to see racing! Seems like we always try to find something bad about Nascar and write about it, how about how great the racing was at Michigan

Anyways its No big deal to me as long as the racing is good im good! Big day ahead of us cant wait should be some great racing from Bristol today!

Anonymous said...

NASCAR tracks have had some truly bad singers but this last one won the prize for being outright horrible. I felt the whole thing was disrespectful to fans, especially those who serve in the military. It cheapened the flyover. This needs to be fixed!

Anonymous said...

I just do not get the feeling that Brian France really cares about the National Anthem. MC

Jojaye said...

That "rendition" of our National Anthem was by far & away the WORST I have ever endured. And not only did it sound awful the "singers" looked like they had just rolled in from a 2 week drunk.
@MIS twitter account blew up over it, and they were "bumping it up". So it wasn't just e who was more than offended.

It was worse than Roseanne

MIS it was disgusting
& you should be ashamed.

Mom of Navy vet

Jojaye said...

I just read the comments & I would think some one would have a word with Ms James & make sure she knows the words, and the proper attitude. If not see if Beyonce is available, she did an excellent job at the Superbowl ( I think thats where she sang it - perfectly I might add)

Mom of Navy Vet

Anonymous said...

Here is a response from MIS track president Roger Curtis addressing a complaint on the Anthem:

Thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry we disappointed you and did not meet your expectations with the National Anthem.



Jared Weeks, the lead singer for the band, Saving Abel, has previously performed the Anthem at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event and received rave reviews. He and the band had performed a free concert for our fans the night before and prior to that, had played two consecutive nights. In hindsight, his voice was shot and he was not up to his normal standards. He, perhaps, should have bowed out, but the reality is that he was so very excited to sing the Anthem that he felt like he could muster the strength.



As bad as I feel that we disappointed you, I have to say that I am just as disappointed that you imply MIS and Jared are somehow unpatriotic or don’t love our country. Mistakes happen. That does not mean that they were intentional. In fact, if you research Saving Abel (Google Saving Abel Iraq Tour), you will find that their new CD was written after they toured Iraq and Afghanistan, visiting with US troops. The CD is a tribute to the soldiers.



I will also point out, that MIS became the third largest city in the State of Michigan yesterday with over 100,000 guests who had a wonderful and a safe experience and enjoyed a great race. There are so very many moving parts and pieces that can go wrong during an event of this magnitude, many of which could be far more serious than a young man who loves his country, to have missed your, and perhaps his own, expectation of the Anthem.



I have never claimed that MIS is perfect and I will reiterate that even though we bust our tails everyday to try and be so for our fans, we never will be. So please accept our apology, but with that said, I think that this incident needs to be put into perspective.



Thanks,



Roger Curtis

President

Michigan International Speedway

Anonymous said...

Roger Curtis may be selling it, but I am not buying it.

He seems rather defensive in his reply. These guys still don't get it.

Blue Duecer said...

To me, the best National Anthem is the one that focuses on the song not the performer. It should be short (1 min 30 sec) and succinct. Nascar should just have trumpets/horns or a recorded acoustic version to honor America and our troops and leave the performers out of it.

River said...

Worst was Rosanne (will forever be as it was INTENTIONALLY disrespectful) but this is a close second. As for the dress code, well, times change. I don't like it but I don't let it bother me. It's what they look like in daily life (sad huh?). As for the singing, yeah it was awful. I don't buy all of what the Pres is saying and he really should not be so defensive, it's his job as Pres to take the high road. He veered off the road a bit too far for me. Not sure what if anything Nascar can do about it, or the networks. If the guy partied too much the night before and was still trashed, how do the track/Nascar/TV control that? Or if he did tear up his voice playing two nights before? Not sure how to answer that. Not defending, I hated it too, and it's an important part of the race day and deserved a heck of a lot of attention and focus. Perhaps hiring someone that is not singing 2 nights before in a rock band screaming all night would be a good start. anyone remember the anthem by Montgomery Gentry a few years back? The main singer had some kind of health issue as I recall, but it was awful and he never should have gone on. I believe afterward he said so himself.

Bryan said...

Ed Hinton had a beautiful article on ESPN a few months ago about this very issue. I tried to look it up in his archives, but couldn't find it. He was basically echoing the comments on here, and saying essentially that our national anthem should be sang with pride and passion, not with drawn out "ohhhh-whoa--hhhhh saaaaayyyyyy cannnnn you sseeeeeeeeeee" type of nonsense. I personally find it offensive when an "artist" (if you can call them that these days, the machines usually do the work anyway) forgets the words or sings it nonchalantly or like he/she would on a record. Same thing when they have guitar players playing it-yeah it may SOUND cool-but this is the few minutes before every sporting event when everyone in the building should take time to honor those who have fallen and have been wounded, and those who continue to protect you and me. Leave the pre-race concerts to the moneymakers, give the anthem to that local 15 year old high school girl who takes it seriously.

glenc1 said...

In the intersest of fairness, I think we have to accept what Curtis said in terms of intention (and I also remember the Montgomery Gentry issue as well.) In fact, it occured to me as I was listening to Saving Abel. It's not disrespectful to just have a bad singing day, but you have to know your limits. I'm sure it's a great honor and they don't wish to back out, but perhaps track presidents should do more to be *sure* they're up to it.

Personally, I think the people on this blog are much pickier about it than I am.) It's such a hard song. Edwin McCain has done it many times over the years and quite well. Darius Rucker did it well. Bo Bice has also done good renditions (as he did at Watkins Glen.) (And I think a number of the Idols have done very good jobs over the years.) I also don't mind hearing some of the more unusual ones, like the horn players, for example. The Superbowl incident with Carrie Underwood in rehearsal & Carrie live shows you that even a good singer can have an off day.

But there are many times when you hear a person sing it and you *know* they never had even close to the range they needed to sing that song; they're just there to promote themselves, and that's what's wrong. They may not be bad singers, but that song requires a range beyond most of us. we hear 'Nashville (or LA or whatever) recording artist' and we groan. I think we'd all be better off if the track owners made sure they heard the anthem being sung by this person before they pick them. Generally, the best jobs are done by locals who sing it on a regular basis; we all have them at the local ball parks & stadiums. Let the guest singer try America the Beautiful and get a *real* anthem singer.

They should be able to use teleprompters too--it's not that they don't *know* the words, it's that they get nervous and lose their place. I've heard people who did it regularly say they always have the words in front of them. Also, the armed services person is sometimes there to make you 'stretch' it out or shorten it up--Edwin McCain mentioned this on a Speed show. Just sayin'...I think it's harder than most of us imagine it is, yet we've heard so many bad ones this year, you have to question their choices.

GinaV24 said...

There have been some pretty terrible renditions of our country's anthem over the past few years. Whenever I hear them introduce blah blah blah "recording artist", I cringe, because I have NO expectation that it will be performed in a respectful way at all.

I'm always much happier when it is going to be one of the military branches do it. They do it right and everyone at the track and at home can appreciate the reason that anthem is being sung.

It isn't an easy song to sing -- all of us know that, so I believe there should be some sort of a vetting process on this -- some people/bands simply aren't capable of singing the anthem and so they shouldn't be offered the opportunity to disgrace it.

Nemechek26 said...

NA$CAR has finally reached a new low, along with MIS. How many people realize that if you bought a ticket to a local theme park you could also get a ticket to the race for free. If the tracks can't find a singer with talent then maybe they could use a piped in musical verison of the nation anthem. Please I beg the tracks to use people with talent. I will accept it is one of the hardest things to sing, but I so beg that the "singers" stop making the national anthem "YOURS" cause it isn't!!!! I would love to see Saving Abel come on TV and beg for our forgiveness. Will never see that cause, they gave their time for us serfs (serfs are lower class people). The only way that it could have been better, besides someone else, would be if the A-10's would have shown us their true striking power against the enemy. Cause on Sunday at MIS, Saving Abel did more damage to our national anthem then any terrorist attack could do.

GinaV24 said...

Jonathan, I'm really sorry to hear you say that you don't care how well the anthem is performed. It may not be the reason you went to the race or turned on the TV, but what it represents is important to me as an American and I don't think that asking for a decent performance of our National Anthem is asking too much.

The Mad Man said...

I don't know how much good it would do but you might also want to contact ISC, which owns the track, in addition to the track itself. Do the same thing when one of the SMI tracks has a singer that does a disservice to the National Anthem.

Having spent over 10 years playing the National Anthem as a musician and over 20 years of military service on top of it, it really raises my ire to have our National Anthem butchered by these hacks who can't carry a tune in a bucket.

Lisa Hogan said...

Since it honestly pains me to hear the anthem mangled, I have my finger on the mute button at that time.

I enjoy the flyover in silence the majority of the time.

StickWithTheBiff said...

Nemechek26--that last comment of yours is ridiculous, especially now that we've seen MIS' explanation. Even if it's a somewhat lame excuse, a rock band singing badly can hardly be put in a category of murderers. I could go on but I'd better not...

sue said...

I kinda understand what Michigan was trying to do. Not going country as is usual but having current singers. But this was horrible. Not since John Michael Montgomery sang or worbled the anthem in a drunk state in 2005 was it this bad. But at least Montgomery had an excuse.

Garry said...

Two words for NASCAR and the tracks:
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ

Vicky D said...

I also found Michigan's anthem terrible so I had my finger on the remote right away. I never heard of the Saving Abel band and missed the NW race, so had no idea what to expect. Also, someone mentioned several great anthems at races, they should also add Clarke Louis I think it is at Pocono he always dazzles the crowd. How hard can it be to get someone who knows the words and can sing on key? If they can't, then just have a military band do it.

Kathy16 said...

one word for Garry--availability.

You can't serious think he's available to do every NASCAR race? Not to mention, I'd get bored hearing the same version every week. I'd rather find the good locals (not that I'd mind hearing Daniel occasionally either). But good singers/musicians are out there. I once heard a kid's father (a fireman) do it at a sporting event. Incredible voice from a guy no one's ever heard of. Imagine that.

jone1981 said...

Saving Abel was a embarrassing for sure. But this is a chronic NASCAR problem. I am amazed at a sport that dumps so much into its sappy religious, patriotic ritual at the beginning manages to get so many mediocre folks. It's worse in Nationwide than cup. Hard to believe no one has complained about this before - guess they were just trying to be polite until you could no longer over look it.

Richard in N.C. said...

I did not see Sunday's performance of the Anthem until this morning and wordsmith Monte Dutton has it right - wretched.

One of my pet peeves is the limited view TV gives of the flyover. I would much rather watch the planes myself than watch JPM and Chip G staring up at the flyover than TV won't let me watch except for a very brief glimpse.

Anonymous said...

How the tracks decide who mangles the National Anthem will always be a mystery to me. And they do mangle it and most of the time "try" to "make it their own" which only shows they are in it for the tv exposure rather than because they truly believe in America and what that song represents. The fella in Pocono always does a great job as does all the Nascar kids when they sing it. Like a lot others I just mute when they start trying to sing a song they have no interest in therefore rendering them unable to sing it. I will not call them performers or singers or artists. In my opinion, they definitely are not. As the cameras pan around the teams and military in attendance you can see by expressions that they are fighting back laughs, tears and even revulsion at the offensive mangling of such a tradition in America.

@ Jonathan: One day you might wish you had freedom and abiltiy to hear that great song anytime you wish. And yes, people do complain about Nascar, but this is not the same type of complaint.

GA Red

Anonymous said...

For about 10 years now we have been muting these pre race bits of fluff and find we can watch the start of the race in a better frame of mind. We find some of the preachers can be unnerving also and as we've said before if we hear even one more boogity we will probably barf.The mute button can be a real savior.

51 yr. fan said...

I'm guessing that one who doesn't
care how our Anthem is presented has never worn the uniform of our
country and never attended a military funeral.

Chadderbox said...

How hard can it be to schedule a person to sing the Anthem properly?

By properly, I mean in key and with some enthusiasm!

C'mon Nascar!

Getting someone to do an enthusiastic version of the Anthem on Sundays should be the easy part and they screw it up!

Darcie said...

Mr. Curtis' response made me angrier than if he hadn't responded at all. But I think the real answer here is the fact that Saving Abel gave a free concert--- that's probably the ONLY reason we were subjected to his travesty. They were able to get a freebie, so why the heck not let this pathetic excuse for a singer stick around for the Anthem? As for Curtis' excuse that the guy's voice was tired, thats just BS. I'm a trained classical singer and unless you sing like a screaming idiot, your voice can handle singing night after night. How the heck can Broadway performers do 8 performances a week without tiring their voices, like Curtis implies.

But I guess that guys like Curtis bring on rockers in the hopes of attracting the head banging 20-somethings. For some reason, this seems to be the goal of all speedway promoters. Have you all heard what Texas Motor Speedway is doing to bring in the young guys? They have hired the "Great American Sweethearts", fashioned after the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to attract the, and I'm quoting here, "flat-bill-wearing, Red Bull drinking crowd" who "like cars and pretty women". They said they need to get away from the hardcore Nascar fan who's a little older. Now I ask you, have any of you attended any sporting event just because you see scantily clad cheerleaders? And bringing in talentless rockers to sing the Anthem isn't going to bring in this kind of fan, either.

Palmetto said...

I've said it before, but prior to the Sept. 11th attacks, the prayer and anthem were broadcast as part of the pre-race coverage (if at all), not as part of the race broadcast. The networks could return to that without bothering this viewer.

Also, drivers used to get in the car BEFORE the prayer and anthem. Post-Sept. 11th, someone at NASCAR decide it looked better to have them outside the car for these activities. This introduced a delay while drivers climb in and get strapped, wired, hosed and helmetted. The networks immediately recognized the opportunity to run a few more ads, and fans mourned the death of the old joke, "What are the last four words of the national anthem?"

NASCAR is the only sport that broadcasts the anthem. Some may view that as patriotic; record companies view it as a national stage for their 'talent'. Viewers get treated to 'interpretations' by artists who wouldn't know a racing slick from an oil slick from Grace Slick. You can bet the performance is going to crash like Buckshot Jones when the introduction includes the phrase, 'national recording artist'.

I can't comment on Saving Abel; my wife muted them after, "Oh, say can -".

Jonathan said...

Gina I understand where your coming from and yes it should sound a lot better than it did on Sunday. But no ones perfect and your always going to have those who wanna make it there own version! Theres 36 Sprint Cup races add all the Nationwide and Truck races and you have to find a lot of people to sing. I just dont see why were making such a big deal on this, what about Chicagoland when one of the Blackhawks sang it... Most loved it I thought that it was over the top. Everyone has a different personality and they wanna show there own when they sing so its not that big of a deal to me! heck this guy put on a show for the fans the days before the race let him do his thing for the Banner its all good w me! This isnt American Idol its Nascar :)

My point is I dont expect the song to be perfect all the time and I've come to accept that w Nascar

Kathy16 said...

Darcie--you should know that rock stars frequently do scream like idiots. It's not uncommon for people to get laryngitis from that...if you're classically trained you should be aware that they are *not*.

Anonymous said...

Curtis's response seems to have made the issue even worse.

He seems in denial and even a bit arrogant at that. When will these track presidents, ISC / SMI and NASCAR Public Relations get it?

Ken-Michigan said...

I was in the stands for the MIS National Anthem.

It made me wonder....
With two of the nation's finest college marching bands only an hour from MIS, Univ. of Mich & Michigan State, why have they never been featured for the National Anthem ??

Just give me a marching band for the anthem.

oh ya, you may even gain a few new fans from students who would never go to the track otherwise.

Anonymous said...

When the Bahre's owned Loudon, they use to have Denise Doucette sing the anthem every year. She was local, but she could sing and do the song justice. Now that the ownership has changed, they bring in "stars" to murder it. Sometimes a big name does not mean a better singer. I fail to understand why "stars" feel that they have the right to add their style to the anthem, it's pathetic.

Vince said...

There is no "your version" of the national anthem. There is only the original version, the way it was meant to be sung and played. This isn't American Idol. Is that so damn hard to understand? This is a hot button with me and it really pisses me off.

I live in Michigan and go to numerious events where both the Star Spangled Banner and Canadian national anthem is played. I have yet to hear anybody butcher the Canadian anthem, but the number of dumb a**es that have butchered our national anthem is just amazing.

Sing it right, the way it was meant to be sung or don't sing it at all.

Bobby said...

A few years ago, a college professor of music at a women's college in the area (she has since moved to a bigger coed university on the coast) performed at Darlington in the race we know for having The Finish (Craven over Kurt Busch by .002). One critic asked what demographic NASCAR was wanting with "an opera singer in a zebra-striped suit". She did the proper job, which is what you would expect from a distinguished classically trained singer.

A few years later, my voice teacher (who at the time was teaching private students such as myself on the side) was employed by the same women's college (she is now a professor at a Darlington area college). We attended a performance of Sondheim's A Little Night Music together on an informal date. When she talked about "Dr. Ann's appearance on national television" (referring to the Darlington race in question) I had to comment, "Have you ever?" That professor's performance is still on the top level in my book.

Having seen distinguished singers in Haydn's Die Schopfung, and having sung in productions of Haydn's Die Jaherzeiten (with my voice teacher), Händel's Messiah (at friends' churches; our church's karaoke productions are as bad as some of these performers at race tracks), and Beethoven's Mass in C Major, learning from the best over the years has reminded me every mistake we made in choral practice or in a lesson results in the teacher drilling us on proper technique at every turn.

Groups such as Saving Abel and other pop/rock stars made me cringe. I turned away from the television and walked away after seeing the performance. I have noticed bad technique in the years since my first voice lesson by so many pop stars it makes me cringe.

It seems today's pop/rock singers have no talent and instead focus on things other than the message of the song for appeal. This continuous poor performances where a voice professor would fail the singers has to stop. Steven Tyler at the IRL race in 2001 was the worst of all-time but Saving Abel and other rock bands are on the same level of stupidity.

Kathy16 said...

Bobby--it's not realistic to expect a bunch of guys who get together & decide to play rock music are going to even know what vocal 'technique' is. That's not what rock & roll is about, nor should it be. And you have no way of knowing if vocal training was ever available to them. BTW, singing is supposed to be fun, so if you object to karaoke, you really are a snob, sorry.

No, they shouldn't be picking these bands to sing the anthem. But I wouldn't care about their 'technique' if they were performing something else. Personally, I dislike most choral music and opera, and when it's played on the classical station I regularly listen to, I can't turn the station fast enough. So I personally don't care as much for the operatic style, and I'd rather hear LeAnn Rimes or Beyonce or something. Personal choice. BTW--even Jewel struggled with it, and she IS classically trained. Anyone can have a bad day.

Personally, I think Francis Scott Key & the writer of the drinking song tune would be quite surprised at the obsession some people have over this thing. The mistake was ever picking that impossible tune in the first place, and now we're stuck with it. BTW, Vince--there are vocal versions and instrumental versions, you can't expect them to sound the same, provided they stick to the proper tune.

Marylee from Richmond said...

I am SO glad I missed this one. Have heard some awful ones. Like best the simple, straightforward ones. Richmond often has a military rendition, and the heart-felt earnestness of the kids at Bristol is ALWAYS a winner. It is OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM - treat it as such, please.

Anonymous said...

I actually have a great deal of sympathy for some (not all) of the anthem singers: It must be a genuine challenge to sing live with that echo-delays they get. The words they sing often hit the grandstands a few seconds after they are sung because of the expansive sound systems used at these giant facilities, and I am actually surprised that more singers don't choke. I mean, even the NFL usually pre-records the anthem audio so the singer isn't caught off guard by the sound reverb.

I also have some sympathy for the racing promoters. How do you take a guy like Bret Michaels - who has sold tens of millions of records as a rock star and performed countless live concerts - to audition? How are you supposed to know that he can't actually sing?

I am more upset at the mis-timed flyovers than the bad anthems themselves. How hard is it to keep the jets off the stadium until the final line has been sung?

Bobby said...

I don't see a problem at gridiron matches when Tina Stallard, Jacob Will, or my dear friend I've mentioned who teaches in Darlington sings the National Anthem at Jim Hunter's alma mater during football games when fireworks are shot or the flyover occurs.

Seriously why can't we have people such my friend or classically trained singers do it? Have we lost respect for classically trained singers who sing opera, sacred song, choral oratorios, or art song?

After receiving an invitation to be part of a hastily organised choir for the Governor's Carolighting Sunday I'm feeling the pressure for the last off-week of the season (since the Banquet is the official end of season event).

If Dr. Ann Benson can do it right, and opera company singers hit the bullseye, rock stars seem to have a different attitude.

Come on, bring on the Mississippi Squirrel, The Brittnee, or even a piano-and-vocal work by the Rattrays, or even the wife's sister and do the Hudson Sisters Piano Duet! They will gong the rock singers we've had this season! Reminds me of a fanfic I wrote over a decade ago where Dr. Laura, Kathy Troccoli, and Jaws were on the Gong Show, and they gonged every pop/rock performer that performed on the show!

Kathy16 -- The musician with the music is John Stafford Smith.

Anonymous said...

If you notice, some of the bigger debacles in regards to the Anthem were at ISC tracks.

Vicky D said...

I think all of us has our "favorite" bad anthem singer but one of the worse was a couple of years ago in Texas when they had the "Local Singing Sensation"! (Remembrer her JD?) Boy was she bad and it's gone downhill from there. Maybe the tracks or Nascar needs to get a committee together to choose the singers or bands. Someone mentioned the sax player he was great and bands I find the best too. But maybe they'll keep on pushing bad performers down our throat and Nascar will tell us we'll like it!!!

sue said...

Don't the track promoters get a copy of the rendition done a cappella by the performer prior to booking??? If not they should.

There just seems to be simple solutions to so many of Nascar's problems.

GinaV24 said...

Ugh, it is hard to believe that the tracks can't do a better job of auditioning the people who they choose to sing the National Anthem. Instead unless it is the military who perform the anthem, we get American Idol wannabe's, the TV celebrity of the month (such as the Housewife person)or singers who don't remember the words or can't carry a tune in a bucket.

NASCAR touts itself as family friendly and all-American and then allows a mockery to continue to be made when performing the anthem.

I'd rather that they just use a recording and let the crowd sing.

Anonymous said...

This needs to be a priority topic of discussion between NASCAR & Track Operators prior to the 2011 season.

diane said...

Why do people sing the anthem like its a dirge? If you have a little pace to the song it sounds much better.

Anonymous said...

Bobby...you ask 'Have we lost respect for classically trained singers who sing opera, sacred song, choral oratorios, or art song?' You know, not everyone has had the educational advantage you apparently have had of being classically trained, and yet they are still excellent singers. A guy can be singing in a bar one day and on the top of the charts the next. In my mind, 'regular' people performing the anthem is part of what America is all about. I personally am not crazy about operatic style singing. I agree that many rock singers are not giving it the respect it deserves, but I definitely don't want to hear Clark Luis every week, especially when we have had (rarely enough...) good country & pop singers who do it just fine (some of whom have already been mentioned.) Just not enough of them. I think the ISC must have some deal with record companies to push these 'new recording artists' who are not anthem worthy. It's a tough song, and the circumstances (as anon 11:01 pointed out) make it harder than doing it in your high school gym. What concerns me is how NASCAR involves itself in everything, yet seems to have no ability to pressure the track presidents to choose artists who don't offend the fans. It is clearly something important to them, so it should be important to the tracks.

Jonathan said...

Yeah there were some bad ones but boy were there some good ones! I liked the last one at homestead w the trumpits

Anonymous said...

I had said earlier that fixing nascar would be easy. It aggravates me to read some writers (the same ones that will leave a race to go somewhere else while the race is still being run) wonder why ratings/attendances are down and what to do to fix it. The national anthem should be sung with respect and sung properly. It does not have to sung perfectly, but you can tell when a person is singing it with respect and heart. This is just one of the many easy decisions nascar could make to improve ratings/attendances. I mean, really nascar, how hard was that? MC

MissTheOldDays said...

I'd rather do without all of the pre-race fluff. Period.

I liked it when the newspaper's tv listings said the race was on at 1 pm and when you tuned in the engines would've already been fired and the cars would be warming up. As the cars rolled off pit lane and began their pace laps the announcers had about 8-10 minutes to discuss the track's characteristics, who was fast in practice, the top 5 in points, maybe what happened the race before, and then the starting lineup. All other news was mentioned during the race.

I'll save my opinions of what the coverage of the race was like for another discussion as my point is I can't stand these half hour plus pre-race shows. And then when I tune in at what is supposed to be race time, I still have endure another 20-30 minutes of garbage.

First: I don't need a half dozen overpaid mouths to hype the sport for me. Look, I'm already tuned in, okay? If I didn't care about NASCAR, I wouldn't be here. And today I have umpteen sources to feed me info on the sport leading up to broadcast time, I don't need input from these yo-yos. Get rid of them. Without their salaries, maybe then the network could afford to skip a few commercial breaks.

Second: I don't want to wait through some clergyman's prayers for participants in the sport who willingly put themselves in danger for love of money, glory, and fame. If you have to pray, save it for the less fortunate and those who put themselves in danger for our safety.

Third: Let's go back to treating only those in attendance to the anthem. I know what country I live in and how great it is, I don't need to invite into my living room every week the latest Pop star and their near treasonous rendition. How about just giving a local high school marching band a treat and have them perform it and then enjoy the race from a prime location all expenses paid? Screw advancing some singer fresh out of, or should be in, rehab.

In other words, watch replays of old '80s races on ESPN Classic to see how it should be done.

Karl Barth said...

When it comes to 'Star Mangled Banner', David Hasselhoff is #1 on that list. Although to be honest most of the people that sing the anthem don't really do a great job.