Sunday, November 1, 2009

World Series 1968 - Jose Feliciano Sings the Star Spangled Banner

Jose Feliciano sings the Star Spangled Banner.  Listen and enjoy.

"The year was 1968. Martin Luther King had been assassinated earlier that spring. Robert Kennedy was murdered less than two months later. Our country was at war in Vietnam, as well as here, because of that conflict in Asia. Our nation was divided by race, by class, by gender and even by age. The older generation did not have faith in their children and the younger generation didn't trust anyone over 30 . Their attitudes reflected that in their dress, their politics and in their music.

Enter Jose Feliciano. The young, blind musician from Puerto Rico was having great success in Latin America with the Bolero and currently, a major hit on the American scene with "Light My Fire." He had been invited to sing the National Anthem at the fifth game of the World Series, for the Tigers against the St. Louis Cardinals, in Detroit, by veteran play-by-play announcer, Ernie Harwell.

Before nearly 54,000 fans in the seats, and countless millions more tuned in to televisions and radios around the country, a nervous Jose walked out to left field with his guide dog, Trudy, and his guitar.

He wanted to sing an anthem of gratitude to a country that had given him a chance; who had allowed a blind kid with a dream reach far above his limitations, far beyond the expected to a place few at his young age, had achieved. He wanted to sing an anthem of praise to a country that had given a better life to him and his family.

Veterans, reportedly, threw their shoes at the television as he sang. Others questioned his right to stay in the United States, suggesting he should be deported (to where, exactly, had never been mentioned as those from Puerto Rico are, of course, American citizens)! Still others just attributed it to the times and felt sad for the state of our country.

The controversy was to shadow Feliciano and his music for many years."

Courtesy of www.JoseFeliciano.Com

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