Don’t worry. I’m not going to diss the national song of the United States.
Here’s what I object to. When was the last time you tried to sing this song? At several points, your voice will break unless you’re a trained singer. I started singing at age ten; few of you know that about me, but it’s true. My parents pushed me into choir-singing in a series of Presbyterian churches where I started to learn vocal art and some other things….ANYWAY: Because of or despite them, I moved toward conclusions about music. One thing I abhor is when a singer proves to be unable to execute. I know, mind, the difficulties involved. That is no easy song to sing. I’ve tried it myself, and so have you. And we must look at each other and agree that there are some notes we can’t hit unless we play a bit with octaves. That’s all we’ve got.
Gorgeous renditions abound, of course. I’ll just list two examples:
1) Al Jarreau at a baseball game some years ago.
2) Phil Lesh and Bob Weir at Sonoma for a NASCAR race.
The Jarreau version was especially memorable because of his phenomenal range. He had no worries about hitting the tough notes; in fact, he doubled down as only the bravest of the brave could do, and nailed it. And as to Lesh/Weir, they were simply protesting in a way that seemed under the radar but was anything but. They sang it in a minor key. I loved it.
Here’s my alternative: Nominate “America The Beautiful” instead.
1) Ordinary people can sing it; and
2) No more “rockets and bombs.”
I’d love to nominate “Born In The USA,” though. Just sayin.’