There was no need to worry about that Reba McEntire could spoil or bring unnecessary flourishes to “The Star-Spangled Banner” when he performed the National anthem before the Super Bowl On Sunday afternoon. Unlike anyone else who had done so before the Bowl or any other major NFL game in recent memory, she brought to the occasion her experience from a half-century of singing the anthem.
The year 2024 marks a special anniversary for the country superstar and her association with the song: she is often said to have been “discovered” 50 years ago when she sang it at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo in her home state of Oklahoma. when I was only 19 years old.
McEntire’s latest performance of the anthem was more fully orchestrated than other recent versions, or even her own past readings, with a pre-recorded trumpet section sending the song toward a grand climax. McEntire mixed glamor with a big country belt buckle as she sang the nation’s theme song, with interstitial shots including pyrotechnics over Allegiant Stadium and a shot of the flag flying at the new Las Vegas Sphere.
The recording of the National Anthem was produced by Adam Blackstone, who co-organized with Nick Lombardelli. Players included Travis Toy on pedal steel, Clay Sears on acoustic and electric guitars, Lombardelli on keyboards, Blackstone doing programming and bass, and a trumpet section consisting of Lombardelli, Matt Gallagher, Joe Anderson, Ron Kerber, Chris Farr and Mark Allen.
Going into the game, McEntire talked about his preparation at a press conference, and it seemed like he didn’t have much reason to worry about the high-profile gig. “I prepare by being prepared,” she said. “I’ve been singing the national anthem in the shower, when we get in the car… Rex (Linn), my boyfriend, is a big football fan. He will say, ‘Sing it one more time.’ I’ll say, ‘I think I know the words pretty well right now, so I’m fine.'”
“It means I get to sing a very special song for all the Americans around the world who have really worked so hard for our freedom and to give us peace…. It’s not about me. I am a representation of this song and it is an honor for me to be able to sing it. It’s a good one. “I’ve been doing it for 50 years and I’m so proud to be able to sing it.”
It is the fourth consecutive year that the anthem has been performed at the Bowl in whole or in part by a major figure in country music. Chris Stapleton performed it in 2023, preceded by Mickey Guyton in 2022. In 2021, country star Eric Church sang it as a duet with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan. The last time a Bowl performance of “The Star Sequin Banner” No involving a country singer was in 2020, when Demi Lovato had the honors.
Although this was the first time he sang it at the Super Bowl, McEntire previously sang the anthem at a World Series baseball game, in Cleveland in 1997.
If you want to see how McEntire handled the anthem a quarter-century ago, here’s his reading of the song at an NFL game between Dallas and Miami on November 25, 1999:
McEntire may continue to enjoy a high television profile, long after the Super Bowl. NBC has given a pilot order for an untitled multi-camera comedy with the singer as protagonist and executive producer. The pilot, from Universal Studio Group’s Universal TV division, reunites her with the team behind her last two comedies, The WB’s “Reba” and ABC’s “Malibu Country.” McEntire will play a woman who “inherits her father’s restaurant and she’s not too excited to discover that she has a new business partner in the half-sister she never knew she had.”