May 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; James Hetfield, of the band Metallica, performs the National Anthem before the game between the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Guitar-Only National Anthems - Yea or Nay?


If you saw legendary  guitarist Slash perform the National Anthem at Staples Centre ahead of Game 3 between the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks, you would have witnessed a possible emerging (although not entirely new) trend.

In the past, the emotional lyrical renditions of National Anthems have been used to whip home crowds into a frenzy.  You have the old reliable Kate Smith performance of America the Beautiful that gets pulled out before every important home game the Philadelphia Flyers play.  Quebec legend Ginette Reno has introduced herself to a brand new audience with her arrival on the scene before Montreal Canadiens home games this season.

The anthem is perhaps becoming a tired spectacle, with singers doing more to pump up their own image rather than focus on the anthem itself.  From Rene Rancourt’s over the top fist pumps in Boston to John Amirante’s bad jackets, even worse toupee, and recent limp towel waving, anthem singers are becoming a caricature.  They seem to be loved by the home fans and reviled by opposing fans, depending on the antics they choose to instill in their performance.

Recently, the guitar has become a popular trend as an alternative to the lyrical interpretation.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Kirk Hammet and James Hetfield of Metallica rocked the Star Spangled Banner on Metallica night before a San Francisco Giants baseball game:

Then last night Slash performed the anthem at Staples.

So, although it is not really a new thing, it seems to be trending more towards a musical based rendition, at least some of the time. While the rousing vocal interpretations will always be around, what are your thoughts on the guitar-only versions?


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Tags: Ginette Reno Metallica National Anthems Rene Rancourt Slash

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