whitney houston star spangled banner

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On this day in music history: January 27, 1991 - Whitney Houston performs “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, FL. Prior to the start of the game featuring the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants, the pop and R&B superstar sings the National Anthem before a crowd of more than 73,000 fans, with a television viewing audience of over 115 million people in the US and 750 million worldwide. With the US involved in the Persian Gulf War at the time, the country is in an especially patriotic mood. Houston is backed by the The Florida Orchestra conducted by Maestro Jahja Ling, delivering a flawless and highly emotional performance of the song. Fan reaction to Whitney’s rendition is overwhelmingly positive, and is seen repeatedly in the weeks following the Super Bowl. So much so, that Houston’s label Arista Records releases her version as a single on February 12, 1991, with the singer donating her royalties from sales of the recording to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund and to the Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, Inc. At the time of its release, “The Star Spangled Banner” becomes the fastest selling single in the history of Arista Records, moving more than 750,000 copies in its first eight days of release. The single peaks at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 20, 1991, selling more than million copies in the US alone, and is certified Platinum by the RIAA. It is the first time in over thirty years that an artist has had a major chart hit with the National Anthem. Whitney Houston’s performance goes down in history as one of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl and television history. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Houston’s version is re-released, re-charting and hitting a new chart peak of #6 on the Hot 100 and #30 on the R&B singles charts on October 27, 2001.

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Whitney Houston - “Star Spangled Banner”