Singers Screw Up National Anthem: What Line Of ‘The Star Spangled Banner' Do Singers Mess Up Most?

By Philip Ross on May 28, 2013 3:55 PM EDT

singers screw up national anthem
Grammy award winner Christina Aguilera fumbled the national anthem at the 2011 Super Bowl. She’s just one of many performers to mess up “The Star Spangled Banner.” (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

Singers screw up the national anthem all the time. Remember when Christina Aguilera ad-libbed the words a bit during the 2011 Super Bowl halftime show (instead of, "O'er the ramparts we watched/were so gallantly streaming?" Aguilera sang, "What so proudly we watched, at the twilight's last reaming?").

But Francis Scott Key, who wrote the poem in 1814, would be rolling over in his grave if he heard Alexis Normand's rendition of his treasured lyrics at this month's Canadian Hockey League's Memorial Cup.

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Even though the U.S. national anthem is only 80 words long, singers always seem to find road blocks in the song to trip over. But on some level, who can blame them? There are a few tough words in there that have certainly fallen out of the English vernacular (when was the last time you asked someone to meet you at the "rampart?" Or described someone as "gallant?"). And singers often perform in front of very, very large crowds -- it's understandable that they might be nervous.

Thanks to Deadspin, we now know which parts of "The Star Spangled Banner" singers stumble over the most. They culled all the best national anthem screw ups and charted the lines singers messed up most often.

So what's the most butchered line of "The Star Spangled Banner?"

It's the line smack-dab in the middle of the anthem: "O'er the ramparts we watched/Were so gallantly streaming?" From Deadspin:

If you made it to "And the rockets' red glare" you were in great shape, and if you got as far as "That our flag was still there" you were in the clear ... The danger zone seems to be a pair of lines in the middle.

As the writer points out, it's always harder to remember the middle part of a sequence. Studies show that people remember the beginnings and ends of a series more readily than they do the middle parts.

Just for reference's sake, here are the lyrics to the U.S. national anthem as they should be sung:

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 thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Need to see one more national anthem crash and burn? Watch this guy on YouTube really slaughter it.

Read more from iScience Times:

Singer Sues McDonalds: Did Shard Of Glass In Sandwich Ruin Jacqueline Simpson's Voice?

Sex Toys For Singers? Why Vocal Coach Has Singers Use Vibrators

VIDEO: If You Give Gibbons Some Helium, They'll Probably Trill Like Professional Opera Singers

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