It happened before an NBA
game, and to be fair, Carl Lewis (a US
hero of the tainted 1984 Olympics
, and one of the greatest athlete
s of the 20th Century
) actually had
a successful pop
-singing career - with hits in Japan
. He can, more or less, sing
, though I imagine he didn't get too many solos in the church choir
This one long-forgotten night, Carl made it onto SportsCenter. For all the wrong reasons.
There are two common errors when singing the Star-Spangled Banner a capella in front of a crowd of 20,000 people:starting on too high a note - you are, after all, starting with the lowest notes in the song.forgetting the lyrics - a sin, since you only have to sing the first verse (The Star-Spangled Banner is actually ten minutes long) and you've heard it since birth.
He broke both rules, and it was captured on video tape - after all, an American "hero" was singing the anthem, a Big Event. He went down in flames, stopping at least twice to get his bearings. "Rockets red glare" was mangled by pauses, restarts, gasps, and spontaneous redirections of the melody; falsetto was, it seemed, not an option.
Legend has it: the tape aired that night on SportsCenter, and Charlie Steiner could barely go on with the show afterward, being convulsed in giggles.
Sampled, it's always just one button-push away from The Fabulous Sports Babe on her radio show.
Now that ESPN is promoing its Lewis profile, honoring him as the #12 athlete of the century, I'm giggling. Will they show the tape?
There's an MP3! BigHoliday points out the magic URL http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ds72051/spangled.mp3. The star-mangled spanner!