From the Oldies Vault: Patriotic Music

Around Memorial Day and July 4th who doesn’t feel extra patriotic? But this year with Covid prowling the country, and most folks staying planted, it may be hard to get into your usual holiday spirit.  Now might be the perfect time to check out these songs on YouTube to give you that extra boost of patriotism while you stay at home to help flatten the curve.

Do you remember Ssgt Barry Sadler’s 1966 Ballad of the Green Berets?  If you haven’t heard it in a while or never heard it, check out the lyrics — a solemn tribute to our brave heroes who fought for our freedom.

Back in 1985, Paul Hardcastle gave us “19” — a truly somber account of the Vietnam War.  The lyrics were meant to make you stop and think – and they do. The average age of a soldier in World War II was 26, but for Vietnam it was “19.”

Who doesn’t want to put their hand over their heart when they hear Lee Greenwood sing God Bless the USA?  And can you keep your feet from dancing when you hear James Brown lovin’ and livin’ in America?  Or when Springsteen packs a mega hit punch with Born in the USA?

Country artist Aaron Tippin has always been a hardworking patriotic singer whose songs reflect his attitude.  His down to earth, honest country music is timeless.  His 2001 song, Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly, makes a proud and loud statement.  It’s the story of the “lady that stands in a harbor” and he hits it home with “…I pledge allegiance to this flag and if that bothers you, well that’s too bad –but if you got pride and you’re proud you do, hey we could use some more like me and you…”

For 60’s rockers looking for a psychedelic version of our National Anthem, there’s nothing like Hendrix’s version at Woodstock.  Check out his performance on YouTube and dig that groovy white fringe shirt and blue bell bottoms as he electrifies our anthem like nobody else ever could or ever will.   Pure instrumental, pure 100% Hendrix!

Feeling more 70’s hard rock?  You can find Kiss (oh yeah) with their wild laser show complete with their promo Statue of Liberty and fireworks, putting their own spin on our Star Spangled Banner.

Songs like American Woman and Surfin’ USA don’t ooze of patriotism, but are fun, classic songs that everyone knows and can sing and dance to.   In 1981, Billy Idol, unknowingly, had a perfect self-quarantine hit song: Dancing With Myself.  So if you got a deck, patio, balcony or living room — then you got a stage and/or dance floor!

Get your party started by watching a phenomenal performance of American Woman with Prince teaming up with Lenny Kravitz.  While the Guess Who’s version was stellar with a rugged, hard-edge pulsating beat, watching two of the best guitar players ever, playing together, blows my mind.  Their mesmerizing riffs and moves had me grinding in my chair. One can only imagine if Jimi were alive and had joined them, it would be another milestone in rock history.  Imagine – 3 legends with their unique guitar slides, prima donna struts and world class guitar playing spanning decades!  Wonder if Prince is up “there” now, jamming away with Hendrix – they didn’t knock on heaven’s door – they broke it down!

On Memorial Day and the Fourth of July let us remember and be thankful for all those who have unselfishly served our country in the past, present and the future – including those on the forefront fighting the coronavirus.  Because of our heroes, we are able to celebrate our freedom and independence.

PATRIOTIC SONG LIST:

God Bless America – Irving Berlin classic, popularized in 1939 by Kate Smith and Connie Francis in ‘59

Back in the USA – Chuck Berry (’59)

God, Country and My Baby – Johnny Burnett (’61)

Surfin’ USA – Beach Boys (’63)

America, the Beautiful – Frank Sinatra (recorded with Nelson Riddle)  (’63)

The Ballad of the Green Berets – Ssgt Barry Sadler (U.S. Army Special Forces)  (’66)

Born Free – Roger Williams (’66)

American Woman – The Guess Who (’70) —  (check out the Lenny Kravitz and Prince version on Utube)

American Pie – Don McLean (’72)

We’re An American Band – Grand Funk Railroad ‘73

Ragged Old Flag – Johnny Cash (’74)

In America – Charlie Daniels Band (’80)

America – Neil Diamond (’81)

Remember Those Heroes – Sammy Hagar (’83)

God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood (’84)

19 – Paul Hardcastle (’85)

Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen (’85)

Yankee rose – David Lee Roth (’86)

R.O.C.K. in the USA – John Cougar Mellencamp (’86)

Living in America – James Brown (’86)

Where The Stars and Stripes and The Eagle Fly – Aaron Tippin (2001)

Real American – Rick Derringer (2005)

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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