Craig Allen shares “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood
Amidst all the biggest Summer Hits...I want to give you one of the biggest PATRIOTIC Hits on this 4th of July!
First...the story of the man behind the hit!
Lee Greenwood was born in South Gate, California (just outside Los Angeles) on October 27, 1942.
At the age of 7, Greenwood started singing in church.
He started his first band, "The Apollos" at age 20...later changing the name to the "Lee Greenwood Affair." Playing mostly pop songs...at the Las Vegas clubs...this band recorded a few songs for the Paramount label, but broke up in the 1970's.
At this point, Greenwood became a blackjack dealer in the Las Vegas casinos by day...and a singer in the clubs at night.
In 1979, Lee Greenwood was discovered in Reno, Nevada, by Larry McFadden, who was the bandleader for Mel Tillis!
McFadden would become Greenwood's manager...and Lee Greenwood would be signed to MCA records in 1981.
Greenwood has released more than 20 albums since then, and has put 35 songs on the Country charts.
But...he is best known for our 4th of July spotlight song!
"I wanted to write it (a patriotic song) my whole life...we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album"
At this point, Greenwood says that the time was right: "I called my producer"...saying..."I have a need to do this. I've always wanted to write a song about America, and I said we just need to be more united."
Being from California, and admitting that he didn't know anyone from New York or Virginia, Greenwood says that he and his producer spoke often during the writing of "God Bless The USA."
We "talked about the four cities I wanted to mention, the four corners of the United States."
Further: "It could have been Seattle and Miami, but we chose New York and L.A., and he suggested Detroit and Houston" as they represent cars and oil, important parts of the nation's economy.
What was the reaction to this new patriotic instant classic, you ask?
Lee Greenwood says that, initially, he just put the song in the middle of his stage show, "just as a brand new song." This was the fall of 1983...
"Wow, it was like the audience jumped up, and they were applauding," the singer recalls.
After about two weeks of singing "God Bless The USA" in the middle of his concert, the reaction was so overwhelming, that Lee Greenwood moved it to the encore, because "I couldn't follow it."
"God Bless The USA" has had several lives over the years...gaining new-found popularity as a war song in 1991, during the Gulf War and "Desert Storm."
It entered the pop charts, going to #16 in 2001, in the wake of 9/11...
...as a "song of unity and rebuilding," in Greenwood's words.
In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Greenwood's words and music stood for "life and hope," he adds.
"God Bless The USA" remains popular in 2017!
"It just makes me really proud that I've done something for the country and for my family."
Lee Greenwood sums it all up by saying that: "It's my family's heritage."
On this 4th of July, enjoy Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA" here at nj1015.com, and on the FREE New Jersey 101.5 app!