Greatest national anthem performance? 30 years since Whitney Houston stunned the Super Bowl

The Big Game

TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 27: Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem before a game with the New York Giants taking on the Buffalo Bills prior to Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. The Giants won 20-19. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — 2021 marks 30 years since one of the most powerful and profound performances of the national anthem: Whitney Houston at Super Bowl 25 in Tampa, Florida.

At the time, Houston was just 27 years old.

According to Ricky Minor, Houston’s former musical director, Houston recorded her performance in advance of the game and only needed one take.

The crazy part? Minor says the NFL attempted to change the performance due to some tempo changes Houston made to the song. The league feared the American public wouldn’t respond well to anything different while the country was embroiled in the Persian Gulf War.

Houston and her team refused.

The rest is history…

Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will perform the anthem this weekend. Sullivan, an R&B star, said she’s excited to join forces with the country singer to give fans a memorable rendition of the song at Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Houston was one of Sullivan’s idols. Sullivan said she’s a big fan of Houston’s version, and she recently learned that Houston was a fan of hers.

Months ago Missy Elliott tweeted that she played a song Sullivan sang at age 15 for Houston, and the icon was so impressed she asked to see Sullivan’s birth certificate.

“I had just heard that story that Missy told on (Twitter) through (Twitter) because she did not tell me that! I was just as shocked to hear it as everybody else was,” Sullivan said, laughing. “I actually went out to dinner with Kim Burrell, who’s a gospel singer and one of my musical inspirations, and she was telling me about Whitney. She was like, ‘Oh, I can get her on the phone right now.’ She got her on the phone, and I spoke to Whitney, and I literally lost it.”

“I did one of the BET (special) shows and I had sang and Whitney was in the front seat and she stood up when I sang. She was like the only person standing up. I was blown away, in my feelings, everything, at the fact that she even knew me and stood up and was giving me love in that way,” Sullivan continued. “I feel like I never really got my moment with her. Obviously, a lot of people feel that way about someone like her. I feel like I was so close. I never really got my moment. I wish I did. I really do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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