When Atlanta hosts Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, it will have a hometown star taking center stage prior to the biggest game of the NFL season, which will feature the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams squaring off in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI 17 years ago.
As CBS and the NFL announced Thursday, seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem before kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, marking a Super Sunday homecoming for the Atlanta-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
With No. 1 hits in pop, Gospel, R&B and adult contemporary, Knight has been a music legend since her rise to stardom between the 1960s and 1980s, when she dropped classics like “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.” Recognized as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, she and The Pips entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Knight is also particularly celebrated in Atlanta, where, in 2015, she was honored with the renaming of Atlanta’s State Route 9 from Peachtree Street to 14th Street as Gladys Knight Highway.
Following in the footsteps of Cher, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel and countless other celebrity anthem guests, Knight says she is “proud” to represent the NFL in singing before Super Bowl LIII.
“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” she said. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”
In addition to Knight’s performance, performance and deaf activist Aarron Loggins will sign both the anthem and “America The Beautiful” on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).