Battle of the Bands

#BOTB Star Spangled Banner Showdown ~ Spirit VS #MadisonRising

I thought it was only fitting for July 1st edition of BOTB to celebrate and honor our country’s hard fight against the Brits at Fort McHenry.



This version of the Star Spangled Banner is not to be considered in today’s showdown. I simply wanted to share it with you because of the swell of pride I felt listening to the story of the spirit of the American people and Francis Scott Key inspiration behind our national anthem.

I’m a traditionalist, especially when it comes to the national anthem. However, I decided to go against the natural order of things by picking two rock versions for this #BOTB Star Spangled Banner showdown ~ Spirit VS Madison Rising!


I vaguely remember Spirit a.k.a Spirit of ’76 from my teen years and this cover of Star Spangled Banner.


Madison Rising is a new-to-me group and their cover of Star Spangled Banner strays a bit from Francis Scott Key’s lyrics, but I liked it and wanted to share it with you.


Like I said before I normally like traditional covers of the Star Spangled Banner, but these rock versions are awesome. It’s gonna be difficult to decide who will get my vote. Which do you prefer a more traditional or rock version of this national treasure?

My battle showdown isn’t limited to only participants. It’s open to everyone across the net. There is no right or wrong way to vote, except those who do not vote.  So, what’s standing in your way? VOTE!!!

[wwm_survey id=”6950″]

Oh yeah, don’t forget to tell me in comments what you liked/disliked about today’s artists and which version moved you the most. I invite you to hop over to STMcC to learn how this all works and to visit more epic #BoTB performances. I’ll have the results next week this time, so I please come back to see if your pick gets named the winner. Until next time, have bandtastic day!



I born and raised in the Appalachian mountains of southern WV. I was a child bride when I married my high school sweetheart in 1979. We moved to Knoxville, TN to begin our life. Determined to prove nay-Sayers from our community wrong, I completed my education and went on to earn an A.S. in computer programming. From 1983-1987, I worked as a computer system’s manager. That’s a glorified title for someone who trouble shoots and maintains system back-ups. After the birth of our first child in 1988, I took early retirement. What have I been doing for the last 25+ years? I am proud to say, I am a SAHM and for most of those years I home-schooled our three children from K-12. Now, the nest is empty.


  • Guilie Castillo

    Of all national anthems I know, the Star-Spangled Banner is in my top three for chills and general uplifting value (the other two are the Dutch and the Mexican ones–I’m a Mexican living in Curaçao surrounded by Dutch 😉 ). It’s impossible for me to be objective about this song. Both versions are good, but the one that gave me goosebumps (look, look: they’re still there!) was Madison Rising’s. My vote is for them 🙂

    Great battle!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

  • Arlee Bird

    The Madison Rising version was used in a Battle many months ago so I was familiar with that one and it’s an excellent version.

    Spirit has been among my favorite groups since the early 70’s, but I’ve never heard their version of the Anthem. It’s nice and simple with that charm of much of the music of that era.

    I’m going to cast my vote for Spirit.

  • John Holton

    Of these two, I like Spirit’s better; it was less annoying. That said, I really didn’t like either. I think the song should be played by a marching band or by a stadium organist.

  • Far Away Eyes

    Truth be told, I’m not a fan of either version here. I guess I’m more of a traditionalist than I think. This song is so hard to sing, I really think that instrumental versions seem to do it more justice. I really like that trumpet version that Mr. McCarthy linked to.

    I guess I’m gonna vote for ‘Spirit’ as it’s closer to the original.

    Great BATTLE idea for this time of year, though.

  • Robin

    I love the version by Madison Rising. I used this song in my very first BoTB (oh so long ago), and it was my favorite. It’s still my favorite today. I like the changes really making it a toe-tapper.

  • greyzoned/angelsbark

    What a great idea, Cathy, to battle the Star Spangled Banner! Great thinking! Wow, both of your contenders do it proud so this was a tough decision for me but I’m going to go with Madison Rising. I just like their version a wee bit better than Spirit’s. It has more life to it.
    Enjoy your holiday weekend!
    Michele at Angels Bark

  • Stephen T. McCarthy

    Howdy, CATHY ~
    If I had managed to get here earlier, I could have been the one to break up your shutout, but Birgit beat me to it.

    I much preferred the SPIRIT version, which actually had a bit of “swing” to it.

    The traditional singing of the National Anthem is not really my cuppa Tequila. The best version I ever heard of it was done at Dodger stadium before a game started. It was by THE RAY CONNIFF SINGERS and it was absolutely terrific, with fantastic harmonies woven in and out. After that performance, I thought to myself: That was probably the only time I’ve ever truly enjoyed hearing this song performed as a genuine musical piece with vocals.

    This SPIRIT version might actually be my second favorite vocal rendition. But I sure wish someone had a tape player running that day in 1989 (I think) when The Ray Conniff Singers did it so wonderfully.

    For instrumental versions, I’d say my favorite is by this trumpet player named JESSE McGUIRE. See what you think of (Link:->) THIS VERSION.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  • dolorah

    I am so glad you posted that oration of the origin of the Anthem. It has inspired me to go out today and buy a flag to hang on my house through the fourth. Thank you. We all need reminders of what is the true meaning behind the 4th, and The Star Spangled Banner.

    AS for the contenders, I loved both versions. I do prefer a traditional version – a single voice ringing loud and clear with the message, no back up vocals or music. Just clear passion. I will enjoy any style if it is well done, however. One of my favorites is a electric guitar solo, can’t remember who did it, but it was so clear without all the riffs most guitarists add to show off. The guitar just sang the song. Was awesome. I also like it played with bag pipes.

    Anyway, both these versions were awesome, well done tributes. I think I liked Madison just a little better though, probably because of the traditionalist in me. Loved how he started traditional and went rock with the bombs section, but did not overdo the screaming – in vocals or guitar.

    Have a great weekend Cathy 🙂

  • Birgit

    I believe I am going against the tide as I vote for Spirit. They seem to be more in keeping with the way the song is to be performed. I think that answers your question whether I prefer traditional or more rock. Traditional for me. I like the style of the first contender

  • Debbie D.

    I thought both versions were interesting. Spirit had a bit if a Reggae vibe, but I enjoyed Madison Rising a bit more, especially the vocals. Happy Independence Day to you, Cathy. We’re celebrating Canada’s 148th birthday today. Cheers! 🙂

  • Shady Del Knight

    Good morning, dear Cathy, and happy BOTB day to you!

    This is an inspired band battle. What better way to usher in the 4th of July than with two rockin’ versions of our national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner”? A while back I featured the band Spirit on my blog and posted their hit “I Got a Line On You.” The band’s drummer, the much older (and balder) Ed Cassidy, passed away less than three years ago. I never heard of Madison Rising before, but they are my Pick To Click in this competition because their version is more listenable. I could imagine it being used as a jingle in TV commercials for Ford or Chevy trucks, couldn’t you? Please record my vote for Madison Rising and thank you very much, dear friend Cathy!

  • dcrelief

    Cathy – kudos for the effort on this one. Though I’m still a fan of the regular melody, I gave this my best shot at listening. I thought Spirit had some ‘off-key’ moments,’ and maybe that’s why the harmony suffered some. Madison seemed to run into the typical, ‘I can’t hit the high notes,’ so I’ll drop the end of the word to compensate. I did like their music score better than Spirit’s. I’m such an air guitar head, (smile). This is gonna get tricky, I think.

    Anyway, have a Happy Fourth this coming Saturday.

    My vote goes to Madison.

💕I love comments! Have a purrfect day & thanks for stopping by!💕