Steven Tyler joins the club of national anthem bunglers [video]
"American Idol" judge and sometime Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has survived drugs, alcohol and falls from the stage, but singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" may have been too much for him.
The singer performed the national anthem before a Patriots-Ravens NFL playoff game in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday and by several accounts shredded it to pieces. (Other fans maintain Tyler was just doing his stylized interpretation of the song). Besides his usual screeching, Tyler gave approximations of the lyrics, singing "as bomb bursting in air" instead of the preferred "the bombs bursting in air."
While the performance was met with cheers from the stands, the TV audience had a much different reaction. Fox News host Greg Gutfeld tweeted, "I went outside to put a raccoon out of its misery -- then I realized my neighbor was watching Steven Tyler sing the Star-Spangled Banner."
Actor Michael McKean, who knows a thing or two about bad singing from his Spinal Tap days, wrote, "'Nailed it!' -- Steven Tyler, only."
But Tyler did have his defenders, including "Parks and Recreation" actor and the man who played Drew Peterson, Rob Lowe, with his kinda-sorta supportive tweet, "#StevenTyler!!!!"
Tyler's national anthem foul-up isn't the first time an unwitting celebrity has strayed into the unforgiving jaws of the Francis Scott Key-John Stafford Smith tune. It's long been described as a notoriously difficult anthem to sing, with many singers preferring the more easy-going "America the Beautiful." But if we went with an easy song, then there would be no way to separate the merely good singers from the great singers and if there's anything an "Idol" judge should appreciate, it's a challenge.
A little over a year ago, Christina Aguilera also ran into trouble with the song, despite having plenty of experience singing it at sporting events. However, her biggest audience ever, for Super Bowl XLV, saw her lose her place in the lyrics, creating her own variations such as, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last reaming." She later released a statement explaining that she'd gotten so caught up in the performance that she'd gotten lost.
Of course, none of these performance fiascos holds a candle to famed opera singer Enrico Pallazzo's disastrous performance before an Angels game in the late 1980s. (OK, it's just "The Naked Gun," but it's still a good clip).
Something tells us Steven Tyler isn't beating himself up too badly this morning.
--Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Steven Tyler belts out "The Star-Spangled Banner." Winslow Townson / AP