Well, it’s Leo season again the most wonderful time of the year…for Leos, anyway. During Leo season so many greats can be celebrated – everyone from Barack Obama to Tony/Oscar winner Viola Davis, WNBA star Sylar Diggins, Halle Berry and the newly minted Duchess of Sussex , the former Meghan Markle, are all born under the sign. But out of all the sign’s most popular celebs, Whitney Houston stands tall. She may have left this realm to sing for a greater authority but her legacy and memory are still very much alive. Every year, a major artist sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl. And every year, people heartily applaud and then start reminiscing about Whitney Houston—frankly, because no one will ever top her performance of the national anthem before Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
Houston was 27. She had yet to record what would become the biggest hit of her life, but still, the singer of mega-hits such as “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “Greatest Love of All” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” had made three platinum-selling albums and won two Grammys.
She and the orchestra had prerecorded the track, as so many singers called upon to perform the song you cannot screw up in front of millions have done because the noise in the actual stadium makes it fairly impossible to hear cues.
NFL execs heard it, thought it was too slow and asked for a redo—but there wasn’t time. And the rest is history.
Whitney Houston went out there on Jan. 27, 1991, and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” albeit into a dead microphone as the recorded track played, and the crowd was awestruck by what they heard coming out of the speakers. Houston’s bluesy, soul-packed version became a top 20 single and was all over the radio, iTunes still being a decade away.
There would be controversy when an engineer admitted that the song was pre-recorded, as there would be 21 years later when a Beyoncé relied on a backup track for President Obama’s second inauguration.
But the overall effect Houston’s rendition of the centuries-old song had on the country, when the world was on edge, was far more enduring than any does-it-matter-when-she-sang-it debate.
Now, On her 55th birthday, here are five times Whitney proved in diva-dom, she stood supreme.