10 America-Themed Songs for the Fourth of July
American popular music has been around since before America even declared its independence. ‘Yankee Doodle,’ anyone? That classic was sung by Colonial American soldiers as early as the French and Indian War.
Here’s a list of 10 to add to your Fourth of July playlist:
Jimi Hendrix, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’
There may be people who don’t feel like hearing this blistering rendition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ the first minute they walk in your door. The question you have to ask yourself is, do you really want those people at your party?
Ray Charles, ‘America the Beautiful’
Listening to Ray’s rendition, you might not guess that the lyrics were written by an English professor named Katharine Bates on a trip across the country in the 1890s. Something tells us this wasn’t quite the arrangement she had in mind, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.
John Mellencamp, ‘Pink Houses’
Mellencamp’s ode to small-town America comes from a time he was driving along a road in his beloved home state of Indiana and he and a man he saw sitting outside his house waved to each other. Yes, the house really was pink.
Bruce Springsteen, ‘American Land’
This upbeat anthem really showcases The Boss’s love of country. You can practically hear him smiling through the whole song, which was the closing track of his last album, ‘Wrecking Ball.’
Paul Simon, ‘An American Tune’
If anyone is going to tear up this Fourth of July, do them a courtesy and let it be to this song. Loosely inspired by the bicentennial, ‘An American Tune’ is a poetic and introspective look at life in America.
Phil Ochs, ‘Power and the Glory’
Phil Ochs was a contemporary of Bob Dylan who has been forgotten by some and never known by many more. Still, his folksy tribute to America is sure to strike a chord.
David Bowie, ‘Young Americans’
In interviews, David Bowie has said that he crammed his entire American experience into this song. That’s a lot for just over three minutes. Then again, the studio version is over five.
Tom Petty, ‘American Girl’
A tribute to traffic, Tom Petty said the sound of cars cruising along the freeway outside his Los Angeles apartment was the inspiration for this classic song. To him they sounded like the ocean.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, ‘This Land Is Your Land’
If you don’t feel like spending Independence Day in the dust bowl, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ funky update on the Woody Guthrie classic might be more your speed.
The Isley Brothers, ‘Freedom’
Sometimes freedom just makes you wanna sing. Don’t fight the urge. Unless you want to. You’re free to do that, too.