Today is of course Independence Day in the good old USA, and what better way to celebrate that fact than remind ourselves of five absolutely grim renditions of the Americans' national anthem 'The Star Spangled Banner'? The answer is, of course, there is no such better thing. At its best the anthem is a soaring ode to the land of the free, whose gusto picks up all along with it. However, rather than soaring, some of the below, ahem, performers, were found flapping and then eventually swan diving badly as they horrified audiences with their unique takes.
Christina Aguilera, 2011 SUPER BOWL
Come on now Christina, you're a multi-million selling pop artist whose each and every song has been written for you. The very least she ever needed to do was learn the words. Well, she evidently opted not to for this performance. Instead of singing "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," she warbled "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last reaming." Unforgivable.
Michael Bolton, 2003 ALCS
Bolton was another who for whatever reason reckoned that he was above learning the lyrics ahead of performing at this Major League Baseball event. If the fact he had crib notes written down on his hand wasn't embarrassing enough though, his oscillating throat and wavering voice meant that this rabble rousing anthem packed all the punch of a down on his luck gnat.
Steven Tyler, 2012 NFL PLAY-OFF GAME
This year's proud entry into the canon of awful anthem renditions, Aerosmith man Tyler didn't forget the lyrics to the anthem, indeed the fault might have been that of the organisers, who reckoned that the ageing rockers raspy tones would hold up to the high notes of the song. They didn't, of course, and Tyler sounded his usual punctured self, his high notes little more than soundless croaks. Poor.
R Kelly, 2005 JERMAINE TAYLOR vs. BERNARD HOPKINS BOXING MATCH
Want to know how to make a man who gets punched in the head for a living cry? Get R Kelly down to sing the national anthem. Robert might fancy himself as the King Of Smooth, but this smooth version of the 'Star-Spangled Banner' had both Taylor and Hopkins - as well as Oscar De La Hoya - looking thoroughly glum. A dead response to Kelly's response for the audience to clap their hands along to the beat sealed the deal - this was one of the worst renditions of all time.
CARL LEWIS 1993, AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Ok, ok, so surely Lewis should be excused. The guy is a track and field legend, but not a singer. However if you know you've not got what it takes you shouldn't be putting your pipes forward, and Lewis had tried to make it as a pop star at the height of his fame in the 1980s. Nothing went right, from Lewis' voice disappearing into thin air, to him apologising and saying "I'll make it up to you", only to completely butcher the final few bars. Sorry Carl, track hero or not, this was an unbelievably shocking performance.