Ken Levine has written the definitive list of what you should and shouldn't do when you're asked to sing the National Anthem at a baseball game (he's seen enough to know, since he hosts a sports-talk show on KABC from Dodger Stadium every night).
Among his suggestions for your performance of the "Star Spangled Banner":
- It is not a Mariah Carey overwrought teen power ballad complete with runs and riffs and "yeahs" inserted in the middle. Whitney did it. You will never top it. Don’t try.
- The National Anthem is not a song that needs a "hook." Or your own "personal signature."
- It is not a sultry torch song. Do not use it to impress the chicks. The Star Spangled Banner is not catnip for horny women.
- Yo! The National Anthem is also not a hip-hop jam. Do not sample "Happy Together" in the middle of it. Do not shout out "Clap your hands, y’all!" when you’re near the end.
- It is not meant to be whistled, beat boxed, played on spoons, washboards, ukuleles, kazoos, or sung in Klingon.
- The Rat Pack is dead. So should be all versions of the Star Spangled Banner that swing. Francis Scott Key did not envision finger popping and nowhere is the word "kookoo" in the lyrics.