January 22nd, 2013
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Marine Band says Beyoncé 'did not actually sing' during inaugural, then backpedals

Washington (CNN) - Pop star Beyoncé opted to use a "pre-recording" of her rendition of the National Anthem during inaugural ceremonies in Washington Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine Band told CNN Tuesday.

U.S. Marine Band spokeswoman Kristen DuBois said early Tuesday that "we know why the decision was made," adding that the pop star "did not actually sing," but instead lip-synched her own voice.

Later in the day, however, the Marine Corps said in a statement that no one in their organization "is in a position to assess whether [Beyoncé's vocal performance] was live or pre-recorded."

The conflicting reports from the Marines have yet to be clarified by a statement from Beyoncé or her representatives, who have not responded to CNN's requests for comment.

Originally, DuBois said Beyoncé "pre-recorded" a version of the song the evening before Inauguration Day after rehearsing with the U.S. Marine Band.

In the later statement the Marine Corps said "there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event."

"Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances," the statement read.

DuBois said such pre-recordings are "not unusual," and that recording musical performances prior to inauguration ceremonies are a necessity in case something should go awry.

"We all know Beyoncé can sing and the Marine Band can play," DuBois said. "I've been with the band 14 years. It's not unusual."

"You can't have an inaugural without the National Anthem," she added.

American cellist Yo-Yo Ma was forced to use a pre-recording during President Obama's first Inaugural four years ago, due to frigid temperatures.

Many inauguration viewers may have also noticed Beyoncé pulled her ear piece out during her performance. But DuBois did not have an explanation as to why the pop star removed the ear piece.

The Times of London first reported the story.

A representative for Kelly Clarkson, who also performed at the ceremony, tells CNN Entertainment that Clarkson did indeed sing live. And a representative for James Taylor, another performer on Monday, confirms his vocals and acoustic guitar were live, as well.

Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (337 Responses)
  1. Future

    Lip sync ...why evn have her on stage... This whole presidency is based on lies. Over 4 years and people are worse off...and the countries debt will have lost tripled. Unfortunately over half the voters are ignornant and the black community turned a blind eye to his failures and voted race..

    January 22, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Dallas Guy

    Beyoncé is a great singer but I hate when people try to add too much flair to the national anthem, they should save that for their own music. On the other hand I loved Kelly Clarkson's "My Country Tis of Thee", it's not a very exciting song but she added just enough style to it to make it interesting without going overboard.

    January 22, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Beth

    She pulled out her earplug so that the audience would think she was singing live. She had no reason to have an earplug at all to lip sync.

    January 22, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Jason Viper

    I didn't hear the song, or watch any of the inagural. However, based on some comments, it sounds like she personalized it. I can't stand our National Anthem being embellished like that. The most beautiful versions I've ever heard, have been sung straight up. The anthem doesn't need anything added to it, it's so beautiful by itself.

    January 22, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. MrApplesauce

    She's lame.

    January 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. sloppyj30

    I just can't believe it! Outraged, I am, simply OUTRAGED!! Beyonce has hocked a big loogie and spat it in the faces of Americans everywhere! Only commies lip-synch. Sad, sad day to for the red, white and blue. **SOB**

    January 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Lilly

    WHO CARES!!! There is enough going on. This is a non news store. CNN get over it you don't do journalism any favors by covering this like it's some sort of conspiracy. Maybe no one is commenting because there is nothing to comment about. Move on.

    January 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. bankrupt1

    Maybe they all do. We've been lied to so much in life. Why trust anything we are told by corporations trying to make money off of us. They probably create a package (one has a voice, another has a look) because it sells, not because it's real.

    January 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. E. King

    As a 30 year retired US Army member, Beyonce's rendition of the National Anthem made me want to puke.
    She should stay with Hip-Hop where she can warble and show off how she can inflect tones, not with the National Anthem. The last one that did that butcher job was Whitney Houston.

    January 22, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. KWW

    She needed the autotune.

    January 22, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. sloppyj30

    Outraged, I am . . simply OUTRAGED!! Beyonce has hocked a giant loogie and spat it in the face of Americans everywhere. Sad, sad day for the USA. **SOB** WHY, GOD, WHY?!

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. supersam007

    Who cares ? I do !

    Chinese did it last Olympic but we are not the land of fake stuffs like China,are we ?

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. sweet

    booooooooooooooooooo..really people!

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. jim

    For those of you that have been bashing Beyonce, you've got to be kidding me. If you do not like someone, no matter what the reason, so be it but to just out right lie and spread your hate c'mon, really! I just listened to her rendition, whether lip sync'd or not, it sounded great, get a life people and move on.

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. LaShan

    Really????? This non-sense was news worthy? We have bigger issues to deal with and you are reporting on this? I thought CNN was better than this. Unbelievable!

    January 22, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Michael Lapp

    Lets get real... so what. Secondly, the cold and finally the wind. Was it a good rendition – yes. Period.

    January 22, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Filby

    This is so a non-news topic. If your reporters can't find anything better than this here, get ye on a plane and head to Syria and do some real reporting.

    As far as how it was performed...live or recorded it was her voice and I thought she was wonderful.

    As far as how she chose to sing it...it's called freedom of speech you dolt.

    January 22, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. spockmckoy

    just another in the 'dog and phony' show........

    January 22, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Christopher Rosacker

    For a broadcast company that earned its chops reporting on the first desert storm, that you even deemed this as worthy of coverage is evidence of how far this "news" company has fallen. A whole day covering a re-elected president's inauguration? Algeria had a hostage situation where Americans died. Focus on actual "news" please.

    January 22, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. mike johnson

    ... that is what you do if you do not have confidence in your abilities ... and come to think of it ... it is like this whole administration, appearance matter more than substance ... pathetic and not worthy of The United States of America.

    January 22, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. michael rindorf

    If it were Metallica that wouldn't happen....These pop stars can't function without singing over a studio recording....As I always say, they are as good as they are just because of studio folks touch up the singing...... Hell watch any of the Music Awards....

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Jim M

    well, Greg, in terms of there being only "one" way to sing the national anthem, the song itself is originally a drinking song for a British men's society, called "To Anacreon in Heaven". Francis Scott Key wrote a poem about the bombardment of Ft McHenry, not the Star spangled banner as we know it today, and the SSB wasnt our national anthem until the 1930's. Plus, there are many more "lyrics" to the anthem that are never sung–it would just be too long. so, before lashing out about something so stupid, do your research man. There have been many different versions. Not to mention: who really cares, dude?

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Bev

    Don't you have other important new items then this! I watch CNN all the time and you are getting away from news but getting into things that are not news worthy. I don't care to watch CNN about movie stars or singers....I watch ET to catch on them. Please just to new worthy stories. Thanks!

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Voted 2012

    SO WHAT WHO CARES, it depends on the person singing it anyway she probably chose to lip sync, she's a Diva!

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Diane Steahly

    It's all about the temperature I imagine. Instruments and I suppose voices as well might not do well in those cold temperatures. I thought the band and Beyonce did a nice job. I do prefer the standard vocal as written however instead of adding all those runs .

    January 22, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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