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Super Bowl US National Anthem Singers: A History

While Idina scored her first top-10 pop hit this past year with "Let It Go," she's better known as a Tony-winning Broadway star, or as an actress, having appeared in Glee and movies like Enchanted.  Last year's Super Bowl anthem singer was opera legend Renee Fleming.  Prior to that, the US had six years of female pop divas taking the mic, including Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and four American Idol alums: Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Carrie Underwood.

The last time a male performer sang the anthem was in 2007, at Super Bowl 41, when Billy Joel did the honors.  By the way, Billy is one of only two artists ever to have done it twice.  In addition to Super Bowl 41, he also did the honors at Super Bowl 23 back in 1989.  The other artist who's done it twice is Aaron Neville, in 1990 and in 2006.

Most cite Whitney Houston's performance of the national anthem in 1991 as one of the best Super Bowl anthem performances ever.  Idina Menzel certainly agrees.  Whitney's performance made a big impact, not just because she sang so well, but because it came during the Gulf War.  Her rendition was so popular that it was released as a single, was included on her greatest hits album, and was re-released to capture the patriotic spirit after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For a historical perspective, here's a list of everyone who's ever performed or sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl:

 

1 -- Universities of Arizona & Michigan Bands (1967)

2 -- Grambling University Band (1968)

3 -- Anita Bryant (1969)

4 -- Al Hirt (trumpeter) (1970)

5 -- Tommy Loy (trumpeter) (1971)

6 -- U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale (1972)

7 -- Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) (1973)

8 -- Charley Pride (1974)

9 -- Grambling University Band (1975)

10 -- Tom Sullivan (1976)

11 -- Vicki Carr (sang "America the Beautiful") (1977)

12 -- Phyllis Kelly of NE Louisiana State University (1978)

13 -- The Colgate Thirteen (1979)

14 -- Cheryl Ladd (1980)

15 -- Helen O'Connell (1981)

16 -- Diana Ross (1982)

17 -- Leslie Easterbrook (1983)

18 -- Barry Manilow (1984)

19 -- Children's Choir of San Francisco (1985)

20 -- Wynton Marsalis (1986)

21 -- Neil Diamond (1987)

22 -- Herb Alpert (1988)

23 -- Billy Joel (1989)

24 -- Aaron Neville (1990)

25 -- Whitney Houston (1991)

26 -- Harry Connick Jr. (1992)

27 -- Garth Brooks (1993)

28 -- Natalie Cole (1994)

29 -- Kathie Lee Gifford (1995)

30 -- Vanessa Williams (1996)

31 -- Luther Vandross (1997)

32 -- Jewel (1998)

33 -- Cher (1999)

34 -- Faith Hill (2000)

35 -- Backstreet Boys; “America the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles (2001)

36 -- Mariah Carey (2002)

37 -- Dixie Chicks (2003)

38 -- Beyoncé Knowles (2004)

39 -- Combined Choirs of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets (2005)

40 -- Aaron Neville with Dr. John And Aretha Franklin (2006)

41 -- Billy Joel (2007)

42 -- Jordin Sparks (2008)

43 -- Jennifer Hudson (2009)

44 -- Carrie Underwood (2010)

45 -- Christina Aguilera (2011)

46 -- Kelly Clarkson (2012)

47 -- Alicia Keys (2013)

48 -- Renee Fleming (2014)

49 -- Idina Menzel (2015)

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