Remembering Houston’s classic take on anthem

Whitney Houston racked up dozens of awards and sold more than 170 million combined album, singles and videos worldwide during her celebrated career, but the singer — who died Saturday in Los Angeles at the age of 48 — also left her mark on the NFL.

We’re referring, of course, to her unforgettable rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to Super Bowl XXV between the Giants and Bills. Set against the backdrop of the Persian Gulf War, Houston’s soaring take on the national anthem is now the standard for which all other renditions are judged.

The recording was released as a single in 1991 and reached the Top 20 on the U.S. Hot 100 Billboard. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the song was re-released with all proceeds going to charity.

Houston’s career and personal life spiraled in recent years, but the lasting impact of her Super Bowl performance was on display last Sunday after Kelly Clarkson offered her own goosebump-worthy take of the national anthem prior to Super Bowl XLVI. Clarkson’s performance was roundly praised, though it was universally agreed Houston’s rendition remains unchallenged.

Not a bad legacy to leave.

— Dan Hanzus

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