In ‘Over their Heads’: The Fray anger listeners with reworked National Anthem

For those watching the broadcast of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship Monday night, there were many questions hanging in the air before tip-off.

First and foremost was would former UMass coach John Calipari finally win it all with his young squad from Kentucky? What about Kansas? Could Bill Self’s team win it all again like back in 2008? And most pressing of all would Naismith College Player of the Year Anthony Davis finally catch that fuzzy caterpillar that had been crawling across his forehead all season?

However, before any of these questions could be answered another even greater query popped up in their place – what the hell was the Fray doing to the National Anthem?

While popularly known for the hits “How to Save a Life” and “Over My Head (Cable Car),” the alternative rockers from Denver decided to trot out a rearranged version of the patriotic song before the big game and in doing so quickly made themselves pariahs of the Internet.

Watch video of the Fray performing its take on the National Anthem here:


Featuring finger-picked acoustic guitar and a monotonous drum beat, the performance is still miles ahead of Roseanne Barr’s infamous 1990 rendition. Yet, angry viewers wasted little time in criticizing the interpretation.

“The Denver rock band tried to rework the 198-year-old song into a modern hipster version and failed in every respect,” said Yahoo Sports. “Finger-picking mood guitar, emo vocals and a guy doing his best impersonation of a Civil War drummer boy make not for a fine anthem.”

But hey, at least the singer knew all the words. And you have to admire the group’s courage for trying something different instead of bringing out a belter to add vocal flourishes on every conceivable note. Maybe next time the band will leave the marching drum at home and stick to what it’s good at – piano driven pop. That would still be better than Carl Lewis.

For more information on the Fray please visit

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