It’s Independence Day in the United States, and that means time with family and friends. I don’t have any financial tips from the Founding Fathers today. Instead, I have three fine performances of the U.S. national anthem.

First up, a traditional rendition from Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. (This group is virtually forgotten today, though popular enough in their day. Have I mentioned I have vast collection of music from before 1950? Yet another hobby.) This version is from 1942, and would have been used with the newsreels in movie theaters.

The truth is, I never much cared for “The Star Spangled Banner”. I always found it bombastic. I wished our national anthem was something more pleasant…“America the Beautiful”, perhaps.

Then I heard the Dixie Chicks sing the anthem before the Super Bowl in 2003. I had no idea the song could be so beautiful:

More recently, I’ve been fond of another version that features close harmonies. Here The Cactus Cuties, five girls ranging in age from 8 to 13, wow the crowd with their vocals:

Have a terrific (and safe) Independence Day, my friends. (And if you’re outside the United States, enjoy your weekend.) I’ll see you on Monday.