"The Star Spangled Banner" is a difficult song. It has been criticized in this magazine for its aesthetic and symbolic deficiencies and its Jacksonian sentiment. As former TNR editor Michael Kinsley recently put it, the song is "notoriously unsingable" because it spans two octaves and most people can only sing one--so the results tend to be polarized: good performances, like the Jimi Hendrix one below, become iconic, while bad performances become infamous.
Click through this video slideshow to see some of the best and worst performances of the national anthem.
(Here, Jimi Hendrix performs the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969.)