Facing the music: WWE's rock stars and crooners

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July 24, 2012

The 1980s gave WWE fans two rock icons to enjoy. Who can forget Alice Cooper accompanying Jake “The Snake” Roberts for his match against The Honky Tonk Man at WrestleMania III (WATCH)? Or the maniacal Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath appearing with The British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2 (WATCH)? And if rhythm & blues was your forte, you can look no further than WrestleManias 2, III and IV, as Ray Charles, the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight sang their respective versions of "America the Beautiful." Plus, pioneer rappers Run DMC performed "The WrestleMania Rap" at WrestleMania V in Trump Plaza.

The 1990s saw musical diversity from a celebrity standpoint. Among the performers, contemporary music legend Robert Goulet sang the Canadian national anthem in his home and native land as part of WrestleMania VI in Toronto. The world of country music had representation at WrestleManias VII and VIII with Willie Nelson singing "America the Beautiful" in 1991, while Reba McEntire offered her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" in 1992. Also singing "America the Beautiful" were the original wild man of rock 'n' roll, Little Richard (WrestleMania X), and Boyz II Men (WrestleMania XV). Also at New York City's WrestleMania X, New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg crooned a different tune, as he was a special guest ring announcer. The following year, Salt-N-Pepa sang "Whatta Man" in homage of football great Lawrence Taylor competing in the main event against Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI. In 1998, rockers Mötley Crüe performed on both Sunday Night Heat and Monday Night Raw in honor of their former bodyguard, Test.

The new millennium continued to pique interest from various musical platforms. Performing "America the Beautiful" at WrestleMania were Ashanti (XIX), Michelle Williams (XXII), John Legend (XXIV), Nicole Scherzinger (XXV), Fantasia Barrino (XXVI) and Keri Hilson (XXVII). In a moment of great symmetry, Aretha Franklin reprised her 1987 performance 20 years later at WrestleMania XXIII.

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