Whether you’re on the beach, at a barbecue, or just sitting around with a beer ready for the fireworks, the key to Fourth of July is the perfect playlist.
Classics like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” will always get you in the patriotic spirit, and you can never go wrong with Whitney Houston singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”. But this year, try expanding your soundtrack for some extra flair.
Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag” is a spoken word piece that tells the story of the proud country over which the flag flew. On her patriotic hit “American Heart,” Faith Hill said, “Times are tough and people are fighting, but our spirit as Americans always seems to prevail.”
While the country genre may not be everyone’s favorite, it has provided plenty of road trip-type hits that celebrate the United States. Can you listen to “Dixieland Delight” without singing along? And be sure to hear Sarasota calling in Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
“Sweet Caroline” is of course a staple, but don’t miss another of Neil Diamond’s patriotic songs, “America,” which celebrates being home to immigrants. “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, written in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson about the struggles black Americans faced after the Reconstruction era, has been known as the black national anthem since 1917 and has also been used as a shout rallying point throughout the civil rights movement. such as during the protests following the 2020 police killing of George Floyd. Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” ranked No. 3 in Rolling Stone’s 2021 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, has become a civil rights anthem after its release in 1964.
Many of the best patriotic songs are also criticized. Woody Guthrie’s “The Land is Your Land” was a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”, with the original 1940 version criticizing the United States, commenting on private property and hunger – asking if God bless America or only a lucky few. However, the 1944 recording dropped the hunger verse, and the private property verse was dropped by the 1951 recording. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is another 4th of July classic, thanks to its catchy, upbeat chorus, but listen to the bluesy verses for the story of veterans facing economic hardship after returning from Vietnam.
Also turn up the volume with a fiery pop. Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” will fit on any playlist, and Weezer’s “I Love the USA” is near-party fun.
Check out the full playlist below:
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