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Jose Feliciano donates guitar to museum, performs at naturalization ceremony

June 14 (UPI) — Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jose Feliciano donated the guitar he used in his iconic 1968 performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” to the National Museum of American History during a ceremony Thursday that included the naturalization of 20 new U.S. citizens.

Feliciano played the Concerto Candelas guitar during his controversial performance of the anthem at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium during the World Series.

“His personalized, slow, Latin jazz performance drew attention — both positive and negative,” the National Museum of American History said in a release announcing his donation. “Feliciano’s rendition was the first to attract national attention to a new way of rendering the anthem and preceded the attention Jimi Hendrix attracted for his 1969 Woodstock performance.”

Born Sept. 10, 1945, in Lares, Puerto Rico, Feliciano moved with his family to New York city when he was 5 years old. He was born with congenital glaucoma, which left him blind. Showing an early talent and interest in music, his father bought him a guitar.

Feliciano’s recording of the national anthem spent five weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at 50. He later earned acclaim for his version of “Light My Fire” and the Christmas song “Feliz Navidad.” He has recorded more than 60 albums over the course of his career.

He earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987, a Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 and a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

In addition to the guitar, Feliciano donated his touring performance stool, a Braille writer he used, a personalized pair of sunglasses and an embroidered letter from a fan in Japan.

He used the guitar to again perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the ceremony, this time in celebration of the naturalization of 20 people hailing from 17 countries. He gave the keynote address at the event.

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