The Greatest Patriotic Songs Of The 60s, 70s & 80s

Andrew Celani --

While celebrating the Fourth of July today, enjoy some music that reminds you what it means to be American and have the freedom that many other countries do not.

Some major artists have written songs about war, peace, freedom and stereotypes. Here’s a variety of songs that highlight the U.S.A.

Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA”

A no-brainer to make this list, Springsteen’s 1984 anthem rang true for Americans at the time, and still resonates with us today. It’s the #1 song for patriots proud to be Americans.

John Mellencamp, “Pink Houses”

A little less obvious of a choice, Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” has become somewhat of a political campaign song, especially for Democrats. The song was used at events for John Edwards during his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Jefferson Airplane, “Volunteers”

Jefferson Airplane’s 1969 album Volunteers became an anti-war protest soundtrack during the turbulent Vietnam-era, especially the lead single and title track “Volunteers.”

On the 4th of July especially, it’s important for us to remember that no matter what political philosophies you lean towards, whether you support the war or not, you’re displaying what it means to live in a democratic society — the most American characteristic of all.

Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth”

Oft-mistaken for an anti-war song, Stephen Stills actually wrote it in direct response to the Sunset Strip riots of 1966. However, it’s become a well-known protest song that many Americans — then and now — can relate to.

The Guess Who, “American Woman”

Canadian band The Guess Who recorded this song in 1969 and it’s become one of the most misinterpreted songs ever. In one breath, it’s a supposed attack on American Imperialism with the lyrics “I don’t want your war machines // I don’t need your ghetto scenes.”

In another breath it’s become an ode to American women, despite the clearly-stated lyric, “American woman, stay away from me.”

Lee Greenwood, “God Bless The U.S.A.”

What else can you say about this song that hasn’t already been said? The ultimate American tribute song, it highlights the importance of patriotism and honors the veterans who have served us — past and present — all the while giving a lyric tour of the U.S.A. with lyrics such as, “From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee // Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea //  From Detroit down to Houston and New York to L.A…”

Steve Miller Band, “Fly Like An Eagle”

Founding Father Ben Franklin, for all his great ideas, actually preferred turkey to be the National Bird of America — which is a terrible idea. The bald eagle is a ferocious, majestic creature that should be both feared and revered.

While “Fly Like An Eagle” is not an overtly American song, it’s about our nation’s choice avian — which is good enough for us.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama”

This song has America written all over it. In one verse, Skynyrd takes on Canadian singer Neil Young for his two songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama,” which paints a broad brush over the American South as being supporters of racism and slavery.

In another verse, Skynyrd references Alabama Governor George Wallace (a supporter of segregation) and how they tried to get him out of office. They boast, “Now we all did what we could.” All in all, this song about the 22nd state is an anthem to not only the South, but for America in general.

Andrew Celani —


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