This Is Undoubtedly The Worst National Anthem Performance Of All Time

National anthem performance

No, this is not an article about Fergie’s National Anthem….

Instead, it is a 1 minute and 30 second video from 2011 that I think is safe to call the worst “Star Spangled Banner” performance of all time.

How had I not seen this before?

Gage Charles, a seemingly pleasant man with a decent singing voice, was chosen to perform the National Anthem at a horse track. I’m sure that he wishes he would’ve never accepted the offer to sing after how it went.

We’ve all seen National Anthem videos where the singer forgets the words and they stop or walk off in embarrassment. This man butchers more than half of the song, but give him credit for his “stick-to-it-iveness,” because he just eats the embarrassment and powers through.

I went ahead and transcribed how Gage Charles sang the song, and we’ll break it down together, piece by piece:

“Oh, Say, Can You See

By the Dawn’s Early Light

What so Proudly We Hail’d

At the Twilight’s Last Gleaming?”

On the right track to start! Gage is killing it and his voice sounds great. This first part is verbatim how the song goes, but remember, I didn’t write about this rendition of the National Anthem because it was good.

We continue:

“Whose broad stripes and bright stars

were so gallantly there?

As the rockets were there

and the twilight’s last gleaming?”

Yikes…the train is off the tracks here for Gage. He came out of the gate with the right lyrics, but got incredibly lost from then on. “Gallantly” came in a couple of lines too early, as did the “rockets part.” Then he doubled down on the “twilight’s last gleaming.”

Confidence is completely shaken at this point, and as Gage literally shakes his head in disappointment knowing he’s forgotten the lyrics, he powers on:

“And the rocket’s gl-red glare

were so gallantly there.

The stripes were all there

and the rockets were there.”

Oh no…

Mr. Charles almost hit the eject button on the color red, getting to the word “glare” a touch early. He brings back the “gallantly” crutch that he has for some reason, then simply states that “the stripes” and “the rockets” were… there.

Yes, they definitely were… there.

Give him some credit here. He isn’t exactly wrong saying that the stripes were all there and the rockets were there, but if we’re going by the correct lyrics of the song, he couldn’t be farther from right.

Let’s see how he sticks the landing:

“Oh say does that Star Bangled

Banner Yet Glaze?

O’er the Land of the Free

And the Home of the Brave?”

Banner yet glaze? Sure this country loves some donuts, but Gage… it is “Banner Yet Wave!”

There is a term in baseball called “in the soup,” which is a phrase said when a pitcher is doing a terrible job, has given up a lot of runs, and the bases might even be loaded.

Gage Charles is in the soup with this National Anthem performance.

I cackled when he dismounts from the song and his face is full of so much regret and disappointment. He knew he messed up (many times), but he kept pushing through in hopes that he would find the right words.

He never did.

As he is finished singing, the screen shows him again shaking his head in disappointment, knowing that he just blew it. The video then transitions into a very dated graphic for horse racing.

I know you have probably read through this article and said “there is no way he got the lyrics THAT wrong.” I promise I transcribed it to the best of my ability, and I have video evidence that this (unfortunately for Gage) happened.

Please enjoy the video below:

Sheesh, Gage is lucky that Twitter wasn’t as prevalent as it is now, because he would’ve been completely eviscerated by internet trolls.

God Bless Gage Charles… I hope he is doing okay now 12 years later, but he could very well still be dealing with trauma from this event.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock