The highlight of the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics was the Sretensky Monastery Choir singing the Russian national anthem. Yes, it was pre-recorded but, still, it was a magnificent performance of a beautiful and majestic anthem.
Meanwhile, the United States is stuck with one of the worst national anthems in the world. The melody, taken from The Anacreonitic Song is god-awful and almost impossible to sing. The tune comes from an 18th-century ‘musical society’ that probably functioned as an excuse for a drinking club. Only a drunk could manage the one-and-a-half octave range of To Anacreon from Heaven. That’s why no one in the crowd sings The Star-Spangled Banner. They can’t.
Even for professional singers, The Star-Spangled Banner often has to be re-keyed to match the specific vocal range of the performer.
So, Americans are forced to stand and listen, wondering whether to put their hands over their hearts or their ears, while some auto-tuned pop diva tries to embellish a crappy tune with her own special ‘style.’