Country music singer Chris Stapleton sang the national anthem at Super Bowl 57, standing alone on the field accompanied by only his electric guitar moments before the Kansas City Chiefs kickoff to the Philadelphia Eagles to start the game.
Chris Stapleton sang “The Star Spangled Banner” slowly and as a plaintive ballad, picking it up to rock only briefly as he delivered the final lines “banner yet wave” and “land of the free!”
He was dressed in a smooth black denim and sunglasses, with neatly combed hair instead of his signature feathered cowboy hat.
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Chris Stapleton’s singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LVII is the third consecutive year in which a country artist has sung all or part of the pre-game song, following Mickey Guyton in 2022 and Eric Church doing it as a duet with R&B star Jazmine Sullivan the previous year.
The other two musical performances before kickoff provided a real study in contrasts. Babyface was less showy than Stapleton, if also less rugged, also accompanying himself on guitar — albeit a flag-emblazoned acoustic one, with a full, pre-recorded backing track — as he sang the least belt-y version of “America the Beautiful” in memory, going for a quiet-storm approach to patriotism.
Sheryl Lee Ralph made the best use of her voice in her highly demonstrative take on “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which even had her marching in place at times as she belted what has come to be known as the Black national anthem.
While Stapleton and Babyface wore black for the occasion, Ralph was the most elegantly and colorfully decked outperformer in recent Super Bowl history, with a red train behind her on the white platform.