Throughout the years, country music’s greatests have stood at the 50-yard line of the Super Bowl game to deliver the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Legends such as Charley Pride, Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood have all sung the National Anthem before the annual Super Bowl. However, country superstar Garth Brooks almost walked off the field at the most prominent sports game in 1993.
In 1993, Brooks was slated to perform the anthem for Super Bowl 27 before the Buffalo Bills, and the Dallas Cowboys faced off at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.
Before performing, Brooks requested NBC play the music video, “We Shall Be Free.” Brooks wrote the song response to the LA Riots after the Rodney King verdict. The video features celebrity cameos, footage of riots, the KKK, wars, flag burnings, and other vivid imagery. NBC declared the video too controversial and told Brooks they wouldn’t air the footage. Since the game draws in millions of viewers worldwide, Brooks was determined to get the video played.
NBC Prepares Bon Jovi to Take Garth Brooks’ Place
In response, Brooks left the stadium and refused to perform. Brooks didn’t pre-record any vocals, so producers rushed to find a replacement. Producers spotted Jon Bon Jovi in the crowd, so they had him standby as they urged Brooks to sing.
NBC was planning to move forward with Bon Jovi, but the NFL decided to do something unprecedented. The network delayed kickoff to make time for Brooks’ ‘We Shall Be Free” video.
This unusual act prompted Brooks to return to the field, and he and sang the National Anthem as scheduled.
Brooks’ out of the ordinary walk-out made history in more ways than one. The NFL made it a requirement for the National Anthem singers to pre-record their performances in case of future walk-outs.