January 26 ~† Oh, Say Can You See My Favorite Books

"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light..." ~ Francis Scott Key

Martie Seidel With three-part harmony, the popular country music sensations, the Dixie Chicks, sang the National Anthem at the 2003 Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.

"It's pretty traditional as far as anthems go," explained banjo "chick" Emily Robison. "It's not a countrified version or anything like that."

Given the over 800 million worldwide audience watching the broadcast, singing the anthem could be a career boost or bust, depending upon the performance.

It's not an easy song to sing, but it sure is patriotic. The first two Super Bowls had college bands play the tune. Anita Bryant was the first to sing the anthem in 1969. Charley Pride took the mike in 1974, Vicki Carr in 1977, and former-Charlie's Angel, Cheryl Ladd in 1980.

How many past performances do you remember?

In 2002, Mariah Carey pulled it off with her five-octave vocal range. "That was an amazing experience for me," Carey said. "It's a very powerful song to sing, first of all, and with the state of the world... it was right after 9/11, so it was very important to me."

Timing does matter. In 1991, with Operation Desert Storm in full force, Whitney Houstonís dramatic, over-the-top version became a mega-chart hit.

The Backstreet Boys did a great job in 2001 and so did Faith Hill in 2000. Others on the exclusive list include: Diana Ross (1982), Barry Manilow (1984), Neil Diamond (1987), Billy Joel (1989), Garth Brooks (1993), Vanessa Williams (1996), Jewel (1998), and Cher (1999).

"Times change. So does the NFL," said League spokesman Brian McCarthy. "You've got to remember that, at one point, the Super Bowl was just a game. Now it's an experience."

Celebrate PassionHold the high notes.