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The Definitive Top 5 Patriotic Songs of All Time

While you’re out there flexing your America muscles, grilling, boating, littering the ground with beer cans, doing whatever it is you do on America’s Independence Day, there’s bound to be traditional American ballads playing somewhere in the distance. I am a very opinionated, music snob, which means if I happen to be at your cookout at some point today, I’ll likely be very critical of your 4th of July playlist. Since I know you care so much about my music taste, I thought I’d use this medium to share my (correct) opinion on the best American patriotic songs of all time.

Some criteria for selecting the list:

-I tried to stick to modern artists/songs because that’s the music you’re most likely to hear at a 4th of July bash. Traditional American anthems, The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, etc were only taken into consideration if they were a rendition by a modern artist. Let’s face it, nobody is listening to the Notre Dame choir’s take on the national anthem at their pool party.

-The song had to specifically be a patriotic song about the United States of America. “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen is one of the most popular songs to play on the 4th, but if you have ever looked up the lyrics, you should know it is the opposite of a song that makes your chest swell up with American pride. I made sure to choose songs that make us proud to be Americans.

-Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” was banned from the list because it tries too hard and because this list is for, you know, songs that are actually good. (This may be problematic for many of you, but I’m sorry, that song is terrible.)

So, here it is, undeniable, five best songs about the Stars and Stripes.

5th Place

Toby Keith – Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

You know all the words to this song, everyone does, and you never pass on attempt to loudly sing every note. It’s just a fun song that helped unify America when left vulnerable by the 9/11 attacks. It unified us then, and still does to this day every time the entire party shouts in unison, “WE’LL PUT A BOOT IN YOUR ASS! IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.”

4th Place

Metallica – Don’t Tread on Me

Metallica rocks, also water is wet. Don’t Tread on Me is from the famous Black Album and, like every song on that album, will have you fully willing to run head-first through a brick wall. It is the ultimate “go ahead, mess with us, see what happens” song.

3rd Place

Neil Diamond – America

On the boats and on the planes, they’re coming to America. The United States was built on immigrants looking for a fresh start in a new world, and this song celebrates that freedom to do so. It carries a great message and, like most Neil Diamond songs, is just really catchy. “America” celebrates the most beautiful thing about our country, the land of opportunity. It also celebrates sparkly silk shirts.

2nd Place

Ray Charles – America The Beautiful

I can’t hear this song and not think of the Sandlot night game that comes to a halt as Benny and the gang stare mesmerized at the exploding fireworks lighting up the night sky. This Ray Charles rendition of an American classic, is the perfect song to accompany a firework show. It’s graceful, sung with unmistakable passion of an American icon. I get chills every single time I hear it.

1st Place

Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner (Live at Woodstock)

An absolute no brainer. Hendrix was a revolutionary who changed the way music would be played forever. In August 1969, he played the national anthem in a way no one had ever heard before. He interrupts the traditional tune numerous times to play a cacophonous barrage of heavily distorted shrills, and deep guitar moans symbolizing the chaotic times of the late 60’s. Hendrix was so brilliantly talented, he exercised his right to free speech without uttering a single word. The revolutionary performance paired with its cultural significance makes this an easy choice to crown king.

Article written by Barrett Lindsey

I drive a Saturn. Here's my twitter handle that you probably won't follow: @BarrySliceKSR

16 Comments for The Definitive Top 5 Patriotic Songs of All Time

  1. thenamerobdigity
    10:31 pm July 4, 2017 Permalink

    God Bless the USA not on the list. Writer should be fired. In fact, it should be a prerequisite to work there

  2. JFlan
    11:00 pm July 4, 2017 Permalink

    How about “Living in America” by James Brown? It’s the song Apollo Creed came out to in Rocky IV while wearing the stars and stripes top hat.

  3. KY Blue Blood
    12:20 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    Uhhh…Lee Greenwood ‘ God Bless The USA ‘ !!! HELLOOOOOO!?!

    I love JH like everybody else, but that’s #1? I don’t think so…..

  4. ekywildcat
    12:51 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    Anyone making a list of patriotic songs, and doesn’t include “God Bless the USA”, should be immediately fired. And then tarred and feathered.

  5. kentuckyrld
    12:59 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    You rank a ridiculous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by an over-dosing dopehead as number 1? Just what kind of idiot are you?

    • jerod1995
      3:47 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

      And also, his words not mine, “-Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” was banned from the list because it tries too hard and because this list is for, you know, songs that are actually good. (This may be problematic for many of you, but I’m sorry, that song is terrible.)”

  6. jerod1995
    3:43 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    The kind that values one’s ability to express them and make a musical statement that will transcend generations and generations of humankind and not place a song that blindly repeats the same non-secular, nationalist propaganda so that the “Patriots” in the audience can wave their flags and sing along.

    America isn’t a perfect nation, but neither is any other nation. As Americans, we should recognize this and continually work together to better our nation and not sit in our sit in our laurels and watch other nations pass us by while we collectively chant “God Bless the U.S.A; I’m proud to be an American; Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
    God bless the USA” If you truly love this land than you will understand what I am trying to say.

    Kudos to Mr. Lindsey for making this list and standing by his beliefs in his choices.

  7. 4everUKblue
    4:25 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    I am a long time Hendrix fan but come on man! Yes he changed music but that is not what this story pretends to be about!

  8. henderblue
    7:11 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve never heard Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner at any pool party. Ever. Popular opinion says you’re an idiot if you don’t include Lee Greenwood’s song. And they are right.

  9. fairplay
    7:42 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    All in all a pretty weak article. Hendrix – ???????????????????

  10. RexRox
    7:51 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    I’m partial to Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA”, but to each his own.

  11. AncientOne
    8:45 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    Just another commie socialist pig writing for KSR. ‘God Bless The USA’ should be number one.

  12. stormplay
    8:49 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    I wrote a similar piece last year which I posted to my barely read blog. Since I included Greenwood’s song, I’ll post it here as well:

    If I were to choose my favorite patriotic song it would be a toss up between Lee Greenwood’s version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Ray Charles’s America the Beautiful. Both are in standard rotation on my iPhone as are most Christmas songs and seasonal songs featuring ukuleles, banjos, or harmonicas during most of the year.

    If forced to choose a favorite, however, I think I would side with Ray and his raspy rendition of perhaps the most prudent of patriotic standards. For me, it encompasses the four vital components any patriotic song must possess to be in consideration: a drumroll, vivid imagery, a nod to our military and their selfless sacrifices, and an acknowledgment of the Almighty. For me, the choir’s enthusiasm pushes Ray over the top.

    Happy Independence Day America! I leave you with the concluding words of John Adams to his wife Abigale in 1776:

    “You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

  13. Sentient Third Eye
    11:10 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    Charlie Daniels – “In America”
    Charlie Daniels -_”That ain’t no rag, it’s a flag”
    Alabama – “American Pride”
    Aaron Tippen – “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles fly”

  14. mjtjmt
    11:35 am July 5, 2017 Permalink

    Lee Greenwood #1 and its not even close. When I was a recruit at Paris Island they played “God Bless the USA” When the gave us our EGA (Eagle Globe Anchor) signifying that we were no longer recruits but were now US Marines. So that song has a special place in my heart.

  15. sincitycat
    1:36 pm July 5, 2017 Permalink

    If God were blessing the USA 9/11 would never have happened. There is no scientific evidence of the existence of God. That song may be the worst song I have ever heard and I am an Army veteran.