18-time All-Star NBA stalwart Kobe Bryant has retired from basketball at the age of 37, after twenty years in the professional game. To introduce his last match with the LA Lakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea was picked to perform a bass solo of the US National Anthem. Yep – the one with lyrics written in 1814 by the Washington lawyer, amateur poet and famed anti-abolitionist, Francis Scott Key, and a melody by British composer John Stafford Smith under the name ‘The Anacreontic Song’.
Interestingly, that ‘Anacreontic Song’ was written for a London society from the mid-18th century that was dedicated to the poetry of Classical Greek poet Anacreon, and drinking loads of wine. Now the melody is normally used to preface vocal smatterings of ‘God Bless America’. But in this case, the tune wasn’t met with either of those responses – instead there was just a lot of confusion. Why is Flea playing bass by himself? Why is he doing all this noodly noodling? Why is no one singing the words? Is Kobe enjoying it? What’s this for, again?
Check out Flea’s performance here – it’s well worth taking a closer look at – along with the generally perplexed reaction from people across the USA, who were absolutely not fans.