Jose Feliciano Played The National Anthem At The 1968 World Series, And Nearly Wrecked His Career

By Jacob Shelton
Puerto Rican musician and singer Jose Feliciano performs live on stage in 1968. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

In 1968, Jose Feliciano was on top of the world. He had a #3 hit with his cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire," and he had the #2 album in the country, but on October 7 all of the goodwill he accrued with his flamenco-folk take on American pop music was nearly lost forever after a disastrous performance of the National Anthem before game five of the World Series in Detroit.

The disaster that we're talking about here wasn't Feliciano's rendition of the National Anthem, but the response to his soulful, folky take on the song that's played before every sporting event in America. At the time there were hippies in the streets protesting against the Vietnam War, the Haight was exploding with free love, and here comes this blind Puerto Rican singer who slows down what was apparently All-American sports fan's favorite song in 1968 and turns it into a folked out hippie groove.