Gladys Knight will take center stage to sing the national anthem before Super Bowl LIII kicks off this Sunday from Atlanta. With hundreds of millions of viewers watching, performing it comes with plenty of pressure — ask the likes of Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and others who failed to deliver their best performances.
However, Knight — with the added bonus of performing in her hometown of Atlanta — is a 76-year-old legend of the game. “The Empress of Soul” will be looking to join many other greats who have nailed their rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a massive Super Bowl audience.
From Gladys Knight’s anthem to who will score first to Maroon 5 to the Super Bowl MVP, get everything you need to make the right picks for Sunday in our Ultimate Super Bowl Props guide.
In anticipation of Knight’s performance at the Super Bowl, which you can stream right here on CBSSports.com, let’s take a look back at the 10 best Super Bowl anthem performances of all time.
10. Luther Vandross
Vandross had anthem duties for the 1997 Super Bowl in New Orleans and he delivered the velvety, soulful performance that you’d expect. He’s just about the only guy who can make “The Star-Spangled Banner” sound like a love song and get away with it.
Nearly a decade before she got halftime honors, Beyonce opened the 2004 Super Bowl in her hometown of Houston. (She was offered the halftime show but elected to sing the anthem.) She made her city proud with this rendition.
8. Natalie Cole
Cole took a chance with this ambitious and unique gospel-infused rendition of the anthem — and it wasn’t perfect — but she finished huge and left the Georgia Dome with chills in 1994.
7. Dixie Chicks
It’s not every day you get to hear a three-part harmonization for the anthem. This performance isn’t as big and bold as many of the others on the list, but they didn’t need to overdo it with how incredible they sounded together. They managed to be deliver an iconic performance without showing off.
6. Kelly Clarkson
Clarkson played it pretty much right down the middle with her anthem in 2012 but her amazing voice carries her into the top 10 here. Just an effortless and near-flawless performance of what most people think the anthem is supposed to sound like.
5. Faith Hill
Hill went with a relatively simple backing for her performance at the Georgia Dome in 2000, letting her incredible voice soak up the spotlight. It was a powerhouse performance with an incredibly strong finish. She’s certainly someone who knows how to get us pumped up for football.
4. Lady Gaga
While many associate Gaga with her over-the-top outfits and pop hits, she toned it down for her national anthem performance while still putting her elite pipes on display. If people didn’t know she could belt out a tune like this, she used sports’ biggest stage to put them on notice.
3. Joint Forces
In 2005, the NFL decided to forego a big-name musician for the anthem duties. Instead, they went with a joint effort from the choirs of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets. It was simple and it was beautiful.
2. Jennifer Hudson
Hudson took the stage in 2009 turned in an absolutely stunning performance from start to finish. Her powerful voice nailed every note and brought a goosebumps-inducing finish. It was undoubtedly one of the best anthems to ever be heard at the Super Bowl.
1. Whitney Houston
As far as national anthem performances go, few can top this one by Whitney from the Super Bowl in 1991. She was so incredibly talented that it barely looked like she was even trying and still managed to deliver an awe-inspiring performance. And that’s why she’s Whitney.
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