Choirs, ‘Idols’ and pop superstars: A history of Super Bowl national anthem singers

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This Sunday, country superstar Chris Stapleton will take the stage to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. He’s the third country star to do the honors in three years, following Eric Church, who sang it with Jazmine Sullivan in 2021, and Mickey Guyton, who sang it in 2022.

You may not know, though, that the first chart-topping solo star ever to sing the anthem was a country star, too: Charley Pride in 1974. Prior to that, the anthem was performed by marching bands, instrumentalists and choirs. The first major pop star to do it was Diana Ross in 1982. The first male pop star was Barry Manilow in 1984.

The first pop group to sing the anthem was the Backstreet Boys in 2001. The first country group to do it was the Dixie Chicks in 2003, who were also the first female group to do it. Since then, no other groups have been tapped for the honor. Only two stars have sung the anthem twice: Billy Joel, in 1989 and 2007, and Aaron Neville, in 1990 and 2006.

Many cite the late Whitney Houston‘s performance of the national anthem in 1991 at Super Bowl 25 as one of the best renditions ever. It made a big impact, not just because Whitney sang it so well, but also because it took place during the Gulf War. Her rendition was so popular it was released as a single, was included on her greatest hits album and was rereleased to capture the patriotic spirit after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Here’s a list of everyone who’s ever performed or sung the national anthem at the Super Bowl:

1 — Universities of Arizona & Michigan bands (1967)
2 — Grambling University Band (1968)
3 — Anita Bryant (1969)
4 — Al Hirt (trumpeter) (1970)
5 — Tommy Loy (trumpeter) (1971)
6 — U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale (1972)
7 — Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) (1973)
8 — Charley Pride (1974)
9 — Grambling University Band (1975)
10 — Tom Sullivan (1976)
11 — Vicki Carr (sang “America the Beautiful”) (1977)
12 — Phyllis Kelly of NE Louisiana State University (1978)
13 — The Colgate Thirteen (1979)
14 — Cheryl Ladd (1980)
15 — Helen O’Connell (1981)
16 — Diana Ross (1982)
17 — Leslie Easterbrook (1983)
18 — Barry Manilow (1984)
19 — Children’s Choir of San Francisco (1985)
20 — Wynton Marsalis (1986)
21 — Neil Diamond (1987)
22 — Herb Alpert (1988)
23 — Billy Joel (1989)
24 — Aaron Neville (1990)
25 — Whitney Houston (1991)
26 — Harry Connick Jr. (1992)
27 — Garth Brooks (1993)
28 — Natalie Cole (1994)
29 — Kathie Lee Gifford (1995)
30 — Vanessa Williams (1996)
31 — Luther Vandross (1997)
32 — Jewel (1998)
33 — Cher (1999)
34 — Faith Hill (2000)
35 — Backstreet Boys; “America the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles (2001)
36 — Mariah Carey (2002)
37 — Dixie Chicks (2003)
38 — Beyoncé Knowles (2004)
39 — Combined 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 U.S. Army Herald Trumpets (2005)
40 — Aaron Neville with Dr. John and Aretha Franklin (2006)
41 — Billy Joel (2007)
42 — Jordin Sparks (2008)
43 — Jennifer Hudson (2009)
44 — Carrie Underwood (2010)
45 — Christina Aguilera (2011)
46 — Kelly Clarkson (2012)
47 — Alicia Keys (2013)
48 — Renee Fleming (2014)
49 — Idina Menzel (2015)
50 — Lady Gaga (2016)
51 — Luke Bryan (2017)
52 — Pink (2018)
53 — Gladys Knight (2019)
54 — Demi Lovato (2020)
55 — Eric Church & Jazmine Sullivan (2021)
56 — Mickey Guyton (2022)
57 — Chris Stapleton (2023)

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