(Left) Ezra Shaw / Staff / Getty Images/(Right) NFL / YouTube
The first country artist to ever sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl did so in 1974. Do you remember that performance? If you don’t, then you’re in luck.
Over the course of history, seven country artists have been given the honor of singing the National Anthem before the Big Game. Relive all of those performances by looking through our list below.
A little over a year after snagging the award for CMA Male Vocalist of the year, Charley Pride became the first-ever solo artist, as well as the first country artist, to ever perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Accompanied by the Del Rio High School JROTC Color Guard, Pride also sang “America the Beautiful” prior to the game.
The 1974 Super Bowl wasn’t the last time that Pride would be invited to perform the National Anthem for a major sporting event. Some of his most notable performances were at the 1980 and 2010 World Series games.
Garth Brooks literally changed the course of history when he became the second country artist to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. According to reports, Brooks walked out shortly before he was set to perform. The reason why? He supposedly wanted to debut his video for his song “We Shall Be Free” during the broadcast, but his request was denied.
Allegedly, Brooks left the stadium with only 45 minutes left until kickoff. Eventually, the game was delayed to show Brooks’ video and he ended up performing the National Anthem as planned.
Due to all of this, the Super Bowl changed the way it did the National Anthem. From 1993 on, all National Anthem performances have been pre-recorded.
Faith Hill was still riding on the success of her number one single “Breathe” when she was invited to perform the National Anthem for the Super Bowl in 2000. Her rendition of the National Anthem has appeared on many “bests” lists pertaining to the Super Bowl in the years since.
But Hill’s connection to football doesn’t end there. In 2007, she became the voice of the NFL on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Until 2013, Hill sang the theme song for Sunday Night Football in a series of commercials and promotional clips. Hill returned to the Super Bowl in 2009, where she sang “America the Beautiful” before the game.
Only one country group has ever performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. That group is the The Chicks, who performed during the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego, California.
The Chicks’ rendition of the National Anthem has also found its way on to many Super Bowl “bests” lists, including one written by The New York Daily News‘ Jim Farber. He ranked the Chicks’ performance at the third spot on his list, praising them for their “fine three-part harmonies.”
Carrie Underwood is one of the most recent country artists to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. She received great praise for doing her performance a cappella, which helped her version land on many “bests” lists, including Farber’s.
Underwood replaced Hill as the new voice of Sunday Night Football in 2013. She has performed the theme ever since, which has gone through a few makeovers.
Luke Bryan got the chance to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in 2017. He announced the news on social media and also spoke about it with various media outlets. In an interview with People, he shared his reaction to being asking to perform. “I said, ‘Hell yes, I’ll do it!’ ” he said.
Like Underwood, Bryan opted to perform the National Anthem a cappella. It was a decision he earned high praise for.
Eric Church joined forces with R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan to perform a duet version of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in 2021. Each artist initially took turns singing solo while Church backed them up on his electric guitar.
They eventually started singing together, and continued to do so throughout the rest of the song. You can watch their performance below.
These seven artists have set quite the precedent for those who will follow them. Whose performance was your favorite?