SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Hard rocker Aaron Lewis, who has harshly criticised other stars for mangling the national anthem, apologised and declared his love for the United States after doing the same at baseball's World Series.
The frontman of the band Staind, selected to sing The Star-Spangled Banner as is customary before sporting events in the United States, mixed-up the second and fourth lines of the anthem at Sunday's fifth game of the World Series in San Francisco.
"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light / What so proudly we hailed were so gallantly streaming," Lewis sang.
The actual line is "what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming," with "gallantly streaming" coming later.
Soon afterward, Lewis profusely apologised in a message on his website, saying he was caught up in the "intensity" of the situation.
"All I can say is I'm sorry and ask for the Nation's forgiveness," he wrote.
"My nerves got the best of me and I am completely torn up about what happened. America is the greatest country in the world," he said.
Ironically, Lewis himself had denounced pop stars who flub the national anthem after high-profile mistakes by Christina Aguilera and Cyndi Lauper.
In 2011 footage dug up by MTV, Lewis, in apparent reference to Aguilera's performance that year at American football's Super Bowl, said: "I guess I just don't understand how people who sing the national anthem can be so f------ self-absorbed that they would try to change that f------ song."
Lewis is known for his conservative views. In 2010, he branched out into country music with the song Country Boy in which he declared, "I love my country, I love my guns, I love my family."
The national anthem and flag are highly sensitive in the United States, where many people are offended by disrespect to the symbols.
In 1990, comedian Roseanne Barr was criticised even by then president George H.W. Bush after she followed a scratchy performance of the anthem at a baseball game by spitting and grabbing her crotch.