Aretha Franklin dazzles Detroit with remarkable 4 minute, 35 second national anthem

Looking as regal as ever and singing America’s song like it’s rarely been sung, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin started the NFL’s Thanksgiving feast with a rousing, lengthy (possibly historically so) performance of the national anthem before the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions kicked off the league’s three-game holiday slate.

Franklin, dressed for a blizzard in a mink coat and puffed winter hat even with Ford Field being an indoor stadium, clocked in at a whopping 4 minutes, 35 seconds with her tremendous, powerful rendition which appropriately came in Motown. The 74-year-old, sounding like she did a half-century ago, played her first notes on a piano before launching into a soulful, interpretive performance of The Star-Spangled Banner that had multiple runs, vocal licks, vibratos, falsetto and everything else you used to hear during an episode of American Idol.

(USA TODAY Sports Images)
(USA TODAY Sports Images)

How long is 4:35? The average length of the last 10 Super Bowl national anthems has been 1:57. Only one song (of 24) on Franklin’s Greatest Hits album is longer. Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera – didn’t even hit two minutes at her Super Bowl performance and she held that last note like she was imitating Axl Rose. It’s hard to imagine there’s ever been a national anthem at an NFL game that’s gone longer.

That’s because nobody else has the chops, the poise, or the license to give such a long performance. Aretha? Aretha can do what she wants.