Super Bowl performances usually go one way or the other, timeless or something to forget about and move on. Whitney Houston created a timeless Super Bowl performance on January 27th, 1991 when the country needed a patriotic boost after just going to war only 10 days before. Whitney Houston’s Star Spangled Banner Super Bowl XXV 1991 performance became timeless to America and the world.
The Super Bowl battle was between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants and was an escape for America as they learned what Saudi Arabia & Kuwait was and watched images of bombs dropping. Whitney’s gospel background from singing in church was infused into her dramatic and flawless performance of power, ghusto but a very detailed delicate handling of one of America’s most important songs.
Whitney Houston didn’t approach the Star Spangled Banner like many other celebrities that try to sing this National Anthem. Most celebrity singers try to add their own spin on the anthem, changing the pace, rythm and inflections of voice and intensity throughout the song. Instead Whitney let her vocal talent careen through each note giving her natural gospel infused turns and projection to the entire stadium.
One real secret about one of the World’s greatest Super Bowl Star Spangled Banner performances done by Whitney Houston was that it was prerecorded. Many performers at the Super Bowl whether at the beginning of the game or during the halftime show get chided if they are lip syncing. Whitney Houston’s lip synching was flawless and not even noticeable. News publications leaked the truth with things in the St. Petersburg Times, in its February 2, 1991 article of the Florida Orchestra, wrote that “Both Houston and the orchestra recorded the music before the game.[...] Some people have speculated that Houston lip-synced the National Anthem at the game.”
The lip-sync controversy was fully explained eventually by Ms. Houston’s person publicist, Regins Brown. Wikipedia covers the entire controversy well by listing that Mr. Brown said, “Our understanding is Whitney sang live into a live microphone.” Brown added that the song was recorded in a studio several days before the Super Bowl, which has always been the National Football League (NFL) policy, stating “NFL policy is that when they have a performer singing the national anthem for live TV, they request the performer record what they call a protection copy, just in case the singer laryngitis, the day of the Super Bowl.” Dan Klores, a spokesman for Houston, explained “This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. she sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events.” According to Jet magazine, similarly, several music industry officials including Estrin emphasized that “this issue is not a case of Milli Vanilli, because the bottom line is―it was Ms. Houston’s voice and she was singing.”
The success of Whitney’s performance of the National Anthem was so great that it led her single hit of the Star Spangled Banner to become the best seller in her record label’s history. The US Billboard Hot 100 in 1991 had the Star Spangled Banner performed by Whitney at a peak position of #20. The 2001 US Billboard Hot 100 had it at #6 in the entire country. Not only did this light up the career of Whitney Houston but also her producer Ricky Minor who has now added American Idol to his list of fame.
Other Articles on Whitney:
- Whitney Houston Leaves Club With Blood Dripping Down Her Leg
- You can watch Whitney Houston’s last performance where she sings, “Jesus Loves Me” the night before her death.
- Whitney Houston’s Death Not a Criminal Investigation Says Lt. Mark Rosen
An interview on Inside Edition in 1991 with Whitney Houston right after her Star Spangled Banner performance. Whitney discusses her controversy in her career when she was 27 years old.