Thirty years ago at Super Bowl 25 in Tampa, Whitney Houston wowed America with a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, accompanied by the Florida Orchestra.
To honor the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing in Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, and as a nod to Houston and the anniversary of the performance, the Florida Orchestra has recorded a tribute video of the 1991 version of the anthem. It’s posted on YouTube and is accessible through the Florida Orchestra’s blog on their website at floridaorchestra.org.
It was recorded at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts/Mahaffey Theater. Music Director Michael Francis conducts the orchestra in playing the anthem, which was arranged by John Clayton. The anthem was sung by local artist Diane Andrieux.
In the video, as part of his introduction, Francis cheers, “Go Bucs!” The masked, socially distanced musicians play while Andrieux belts the anthem out, distanced on a balcony. When the song is over, everyone on stage raise their arms and say, “Go Bucs!”
According to the Florida Orchestra’s blog post, about a dozen current orchestra musicians played in the 1991 performance.
“It was a great moment. It will always be a great moment,” violinist Linda Hall said in the post. “We were the first orchestra to ever perform at the Super Bowl. It has become the gold standard by which all other performances are measured, and that’s something to really be proud of.”
In 1991, the United States had just entered the Persian Gulf War. The video of Houston’s performance shows a highly patriotic event, with a nod to the soldiers from the announcer, fans clutching American flags and a F-16 flyover by the 56th Tactical Training Wing of MacDill Air Force Base.
Houston lip synched the pre-recorded performance.
Houston’s rendition was later released as a single that went platinum and made to the Top 10 of the Billboard charts. It’s often regarded as the best version of the national anthem.
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