Jose, Can You See?


Reader James Blakey sends in a fascinating story about Jose Feliciano and the 1968 World Series. Up until now, I had thought the sentiment expressed in Fargo—"With Jose Feliciano you got no complaints"—was beyond dispute. Not so at Game 5 of the Tigers/Cardinals matchup, where the sightless crooner introduced America to the concept of a "non-traditional" rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Listen to Jose's version of the national anthem and you may well think only a maniac could find it offensive; back in ol' '68, boos, catcalls, hate mail and a starting pitcher who blamed Feliciano for his shaky start all argued to the contrary.

The article, which also includes a good rendition of the game itself, makes clear that we have become more comfortable with snazzy, jazzy, or spazzy versions of the national anthem in the 35 years since. But the central paradox of "The Star-Spangled Banner"—that everybody seems to think it's one of the ungainliest melodies ever written but still fumes at any hint of desecration—remains with us, though in an attenuated form.