Canadian musical genius David Foster has been commissioned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pen a special arrangement of the U.S. National Anthem for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 and he will play a piano accompaniment for singers Seal and Kelly Clarkson.
You can bet that it will be a dignified arrangement. It has been horrifying, in recent years, to watch and to listen to any number of "singers" massacre that incredible song, whether at Indy, at any NASCAR race or, more recently, the Super Bowl.
Blame it on Jose Feliciano, who "interpreted" it first, way back in 1968 before a Detroit Tigers World Series game. He was booed and heckled for turning the anthem into a blues. Of course, since then, just about every singer invited to "Honour America" has used it to show off.
Shame, I say, and I don’t expect anything like that on Sunday.
There is a video on YouTube in which Foster talks about the 500 and the anthem. It’s revealing for yet again perpetuating the myth that Billy Foster, a cousin of David’s, was "the first Canadian to qualify and race in the Indy 500, in 1966."
I’m not blaming David Foster. This misinformation is still out there. The program for the first Molson Indy Vancouver in 1990 had a cover article praising Billy (of Victoria, by the way) for being the first. And Billy Foster was inducted, in 1993, into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame as the "first Canadian" in the 500.
He wasn’t. In fact, he was the sixth. And he became the sixth in the 1965 500, not the one in ‘66. (For the record, Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe will become the 19th Canadian, when he takes the green flag Sunday. If you want the full list, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
But be that as it may, ain’t it delightful that a venerable American institution, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, has turned to a Canadian to make certain that their national anthem is done right?
And now, if either Alex Taglian, Paul Tracy or ‘Hinch" can win the thing, it will be one perfect day.