Over the past few years America’s National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, has been under attack for a variety of reasons, reasons I won’t get into here because that’s not what this piece is about. You see, a long time ago in what now seems galaxies and light years away, the performance of the anthem on a national stage was a huge moment in our society. It brought families together. It brought neighbors together. It brought communities together. Whether at the Super Bowl, a World Series game or a July 4th celebration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, people would huddle around a pre-HD tv and stand at attention as an iconic singer would belt out a song every American knew verbatim. With the advent of technology in respect to tv and how we watch stuff those days appear to be long gone. Nowadays if there’s a great rendition of the anthem performed many catch wind of it on social media then watch it hours, days or even weeks after its occurred, often from the comfort of their own bed or hammock out back, or at their cubicle at work, or even on the toilet during their morning constitution.
As Valentine’s day 2019 is upon us I want to recognize the 36th anniversary (albeit a day late) of one of the best renditions of our National Anthem. In my opinion, which is one shared by many, along with Whitney Houston’s dramatic rendition at Super Bowl XXV during the Gulf War, Marvin Gaye’s uniquely soulful version at the 1983 NBA All-Star game at the old Great Western Forum is one of the best ever. Only Marvin Gaye could make the Star Spangled Banner, a song almost 200 years old at that time and written as a poem to instill patriotism and pride in our nation, a song that you could move intimately too and even get romantic with in the same way you would to a Luther Vandross track or even Whitney’s own “I Will Always Love You”.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day, in honor of our country and in honor of the late, great Marvin Gaye have a listen to this great moment in sports, music & U.S. history. Its something that will get you feeling romantic, patriotic and even a bit erotic.