‘Tis the season where we Americans celebrate our independence. Our freedom to choose religions. Our freedom to say what we want. Our freedom to make stupid decisions. And our freedom to listen to alternative, punk, rap, country, or rock ‘n roll music. One way to celebrate this independence is by blasting your favorite tunes. Now this list of patriotic tunes is not the run-of-the-mill, totally predictable songs like “Born in the U.S.A.” or “God Bless the U.S.A,” because those songs are given guesses. This list of tunage includes songs from all across these united States, songs disagreeing with Uncle Sam, and even a few picks from artists on the other side of the Atlantic.
First ones on my list celebrate these United States of America, singing about towns and cities from sea to shining sea:
“Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. This is my first choice because I was born kinda sorta close to the bayou in Louisiana.
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. Deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans….
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lord, I’m coming home to you….
“Hey Dixie” by the Dixie Chicks. One for the proud Texans.
“Take it Easy” by the Eagles. Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…..
“California Girls” by the Beach Boys. And by David Lee Roth. And by Katy Perry. But mostly by the Beach Boys.
“Dani California” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Although this song ends in Dani’s death, it takes us from her being born in Mississippi, a black bandana in sweet Louisiana, and robbing a bank in Indiana.
“An Open Letter to N.Y.C” by the Beastie Boys.
“Miami” by Will Smith.
“Empire State of Mind” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Broadway, the Knicks, Nets, and Yankees, let’s hear it for New York.
“Shipping Up to Boston” the Dropkick Murphys.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” by the Original Man in Black, Johnny Cash. Fargo, Chicago, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Shreveport, Dodge City, Colorado, Idaho.
Let’s explore the flipside of patriotism. These next few artists exercise their freedom of speech by disagreeing with the government, pointing out racism, protesting war, and telling it like it is for many of us Americans.
“American Idiot” by Green Day. I’m talking about the whole album, y’all. From not wanting to be part of a ‘redneck agenda’ to walking down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
“Words I Never Said” Lupe Fiasco featuring Skylar Grey. This song is not for the right-wingers. He takes on the war against terrorism, budget cuts, and how we spend our money.
“Wretches and Kings” by Linkin Park. Steel unload, final blow, we the animals take control. Wretches and kings, we come for you.
“The Catalyst” another by Linkin Park from A Thousand Suns album. God bless us everyone, we’re a broken people living under loaded gun. God save us everyone….
“Stand Up” by the Flobots. Stand up, we shall not be moved…..
“We’re a Happy Family” The Ramones. There are no white picket fences in this part of Queens, where they eat refried beans and make a fortune selling Daddy’s dope.
“Not Ready to Make Nice” Dixie Chicks…remember when they were ashamed of W?
“Cowboy” by Kid Rock. He’s not straight out of Hampton, but straight off the trailer, folks.
The Dead Kennedys. America’s in-your-face punk band, who fought the law and sing about a foul-mouthed old lady who speeds from Pasadena and through Nevada.
There are a few artists whose majority of songs give us that patriotic feeling:
The Presidents of the United States of America. Duh. They move into the county, eat a lot of peaches, and sing about bo weevils. They are officially elected “to rock your asses until midnight.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Everybody knows the lyrics to these tunes, from Free Falling to American Girl.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many of their songs are about the not-so-glamourous life in California. Some include references to lead singer Anthony Keidis’ Apache heritage.
Kid Rock. Although born in Michigan, he has a very Southern sound. And he has a song called “American Badass.”
John Cougar Mellencamp. This long time supporter of American blue-collar workers completely captures the life in our country. Plus, there’s R.O.C.K in the U.S.A
Okay, so July 4th is when we Americans celebrate our Independence from an old empire. But freedom should be universal. And the British have some great songs that also reflect a desire for independence and a better life. Here’s just a few.
Born Free by British rap/alternative artist, MIA.
United States of Eurasia by British alternative band, Muse.
I Still Believe by British folk artist, Frank Turner. A great song about rock and roll.
Where the Streets Have No Name by U2. This song reminds me of freedom.
Bullet the Blue Sky U2.
For Those About To Rock by ACDC, the Scottish/Australian rock legends. This tune became the anthem for our soldiers who served in Iraq.
There are many, many more. Feel free to add yours to the list!