Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

This Is What Happens When You Accuse Steven Tyler Of Butchering The National Anthem

Our post Sunday asking whether Steven Tyler's pre-AFC championship performance of the national anthem was the worst ever drew a flood of reader feedback, both in the form of poll responses and in writing. Here's an update on the poll results, as well as a sampling of your reaction to Tyler's performance and our characterization of it.

As of 2:00 p.m. EST, here's how you responded to the question of "Which anthem performance was worst?" A total of 7,323 votes have thus far been recorded. (Go here to view each performance.)


1. Roseanne Barr, 1990 3,628 votes (49.5%)
2. Carl Lewis, 1993 2,036 votes (27.9%
3. Christina Aguilera, 2011 815 votes (11.1%)
4. Steven Tyler, 2012 724 votes (9.9%)
5. Michael Bolton, 2003 120 votes (1.6%)

Roseanne's crotch-grabbing display in San Diego is a clear winner, though the fact she couldn't even earn a majority suggests there's still room for debate on this issue. And debate you did, dear reader. Here are some of the responses we received via email and in the comments:

Terry Lee:

Oh good grief, it wasn't that bad. I think I only heard 2 words wrong, and then his little vocal range going high at the word brave (?) or maybe the end word in the prior sentence. That is pretty much how he sings.


Charles W. Wyckoff:

Dear Mr. Burke-

Steven Tyler sounded exactly what any normal person would expect Steven Tyler to sound like. Did you really expect him to suddenly sound like Harry Connick, Jr. (who, it seems germane to note, I've seen screw up the anthem)? He knew all the words, and it sounded like the national anthem to me. I've heard a thousand worse performances of the song where neither of those things was true.

Your past writing has always shown me above-average intelligence and fairness, so I'm somewhat puzzled by this sudden outpouring of dim-witted drool… I can only guess that you don't care for Steven Tyler, Aerosmith or that genre of music, but even that shouldn't generate the completely inaccurate reporting you crapped out in this case.


David Urban:

I did not think it would rank best by any standards but I thought Steve did a great job, it was damn cold here when he was singing. I for one heard all of it quite clearly and if someone thinks this rated the worst than they must be tone deaf


Roxanna Hambright:

I recently read your article about Steven Tyler singing the Star Spangle and here's the thing, They asked for Steven Tyler, they got Steven Tyler. I doubt that anyone really expected him to come out singing like a classical singer, if they wanted classical I think they would have found someone who sings that style of music. Steven Tyler's vocal style is no secret, did you expect him to sound like Josh Groban or something? Steven has never been one to compromise on who he is...for anyone! He did just fine, and pretty much what anyone should expect Steven Tyler to sound like singing the anthem. This article is horrible and just meant to get attention and clicks to read on-line.


Brian Downey:

Hey Tim. Learn a little bit about staying true to your art and who you are before you start bashing an artist for doing just that, rather than selling out to be more what you think it should sound like. They asked Steven Tyler to sing it. Steven Tyler sang the HELL out of that anthem. As only he could do in his authentic sound. Welcome to another reader deciding your columns aren't worth any more than attention getting headlines. I'm sure it happens often.

Up until recent, A fan of your articles

Sheba Watkins:

I heard about your article from a yahoo story that was linked to it. I don't know if you can still see reader comments there, but if so, you'll find that most readers disagree with your apparently biased assessment of Steven Tyler's performance. Look at your own site's poll—Tyler ranked second to last (by far) on your "worst" list. I'm not a huge Steven Tyler fan, especially the latest Idol version of him—but his anthem performance was fine. One of the things I like about him is that he's one of the few singers I've ever heard who can scream in key/on pitch. He's great at that. His performance was classic Steven Tyler. What else would you expect of him?



Soulful music is honest music. I just listened to Steven Tyler's singing of our National Anthem to see what all the ruckus is about. I'm a musician. Steven Tyler, to my ear, sang an honest, soulful, rendition. Respectfully, people need to loosen their panties. I can respect that Tyler's singing my not sound pretty, dignified, or even artful to any given listener's ear. Still, try and remember, there are no mistakes in art, only new ways to see and hear things.



I thought Tyler did an admirable job!


WTF are you talking about?!? It was Steven Tyler, not Josh Groban. He messed up the words once by my recollection, and he didn't feel the need to add 40-50 extra notes when 2 or 3 would do. It's a song that is really difficult to sing range wise, and he did it acapella and without the aid of auto-tune. I don't know what game you were watching, but it wasn't the one I saw.



Steven Tyler rocked!


Really - Hes a fucking aging rocker - Did you expect him to sound an opera tenor ? Tyler sang the song straight and with respect - ie no improv or jazz riffs on the anthem To the a wipe who wrote this article - I tell you what, wait till your 60 plus, grab a mic, stand in front tens of thousands of people , in the COLD with just a mic, and make it sound perfect Steven tyler - SOUNDS LIKE STEVEN TYLER - nothing more nothing less If you want to complain, go write a story about the guy who hired him.. and stop criticizing a guy for sounding the way he sounds



Hey Burke...are you stupid? Have you not ever heard a rock artist sing? Steven Tyler sounded like his rock star self. He sounded great. You on the other hand sound awful knocking a rock icon and getting in a dig about his age. Shame on you.



Steven Tyler did great. He is a rock and roll artist and that is the version of the star spangled banner that he did. Well done Steven!!



the fact that you even put this rendition on a list of worst all time makes you seem so foolish that i can't vote on your stupid poll. your judgement of Steven Tylers anthem are laughable. What a bunch of talentless fools to even post such a story!!



I don`t understand the sounded just like Steven.

Kat Calimeri:

I'd expect nothing less from Steven Tyler. He's a rocker with a raspy voice, I didnt expect a beautiful, flowing voice. He knew the lyrics and showed respect. Why ask a ROCKER like Steven Tyler to sing the Anthem and then cry like bitches. Nice job.



Wow! That! Is very very bad sounds coming out of his month! He needs vocal lessons! LOL! It SUCK! Compare to all others to the American Idot! More like American IDIOTS! IDOITS! I DON'T KNOW did I say that right! LOL! sound like an IDIOT! But! You know what! You have to consider his age too! He knows that he is not that young sprang chicken, and thinks that he is gonna stay young forever! But God has bless him! You gotta give him credit for trying for his age and getting up there to perform before a big crowd all over this world. And guess What! We all still love him because he is all star! You gotta love him. LOL



Who cares what you think, are the God of singers, do you pay my bills? This man has more talent in his little pinky than your whole staff has in their little resumes. I mean for heavens sake, it wasn't a singing competition! Find something real to report on or find another job. If you don't like it, don't watch!



Moron they asked for Steven Tyler and they got Steven Tyler. Have you never listened to Aerosmith before? As for someone who has paid good money to see them preform live several times you got 100% Steven Tyler. He rocked it in the same dream on style that he would have done in the 70's.



I actually thought he nailed it and Im not a big fan of his. He's not a young guy but he still hit the notes. He just did it with that raspy sound of his. You may call it screaming but then what do you call what he does in "Just Fly away from here". Its the reason he is a Rock star and you aren't. Id like to see a vote for what everyone thought.



Honestly, I thought he did a great job considering how he sings. I don't really even like the guy but compared to the many others who have forgot the words, grabbed their crouch, and other parts, he did a great job.



How many of you even know the words by heart? And how many of you hold those words in your heart? So I wouldn't talk!!! He did a great job, I loved it because he felt it!!! Remember God sees our beauty and our hearts. Man sees the outside and complains.


You've no doubt detected a common thread in these responses. "Steven Tyler sang like Steven Tyler, stop complaining." Well, then, Steven Tyler is a shitty singer. Are we not allowed to criticize those for whom being shitty is an essential part of their character? "Don't criticize Tim Tebow, he's just a shitty quarterback, that's how he plays! He's being true to himself!"

Steven Tyler is a judge of singing ability on a national television program—one I'm told is pretty popular. If his fans—and that program—think this performance qualifies as "good," well, that explains why no American Idol winner since Kelly Clarkson has been worth a damn. Sorry, that anthem sucked, and Steven Tyler sucks, too.

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