10 Best Songs About America
What are the 10 best songs about America? Music artists have written and recorded countless songs about the good ol' USA, and everyone has a favorite. Here are 10 of the most popular songs about America. From pop standards to protest anthems to country and Western patriotism, this list covers the best.
- Ray Charles: "America the Beautiful" (2002). This most beloved patriotic song "from sea to shining sea" tops the list of best songs about America. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics in the mid-1890s. Many artists have recorded this song, but the Ray Charles rendition is the best known. The song’s popularity increased after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
- Jimi Hendrix: "Star Spangled Banner" (1969). This is the national anthem of the United States of America. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became the song's lyrics, during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. The Hendrix guitar performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival was the greatest, and most controversial, rendition of the song—mimicking bombs and planes in reference to the Vietnam War.
- Neil Diamond: "America" (1980). Also known as "Coming to America" and "They’re Coming to America," Neil Diamond’s patriotic song is part of "The Jazz Singer" soundtrack. The song interprets United States immigration in a positive light. During concerts, it is popular in the United States and abroad.
- Bruce Springsteen: "Born in the USA" (1984). This song is Bruce Springsteen’s best-known single. Many people consider it a patriotic anthem, but the lyrics actually deal with the effects of the Vietnam War on Americans.
- Lee Greenwood: "God Bless the USA" (1984). One of the most popular songs about America is Lee Greenwood’s country hit "God Bless the USA." The song gained prominence in the early 1990s as a morale booster during the Gulf War. The song’s popularity rose again after the September 11th attacks in 2001 and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- James Brown: "Living in America" (1985). James Brown first performed "Living in America" in 1985. The film "Rocky IV" featured the song in reference to the Apollo Creed character and his patriotism. Many music artists and TV shows have parodied this song.
- Bob Dylan: "The Times They Are A-Changin’" (1963). Bob Dylan wrote and recorded this well-known song in late 1963. He wrote the song as an anthem of change for that moment in America’s history—the civil rights movement. Within a month of Dylan’s recording, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
- Woodie Guthrie: "This Land is Your Land" (1940). Woody Guthrie's folk song is one of the most famous songs about America. Guthrie wrote the lyrics in 1940 in response to Irving Berlin’s "God Bless America." Over time, he varied the lyrics to include more overtly political verses than originally published.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Fortunate Son" (1969). Creedence Clearwater Revival released this song as a single from their album "Willy and the Poor Boys." David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, inspired the song, which protested the draft and the Vietnam War.
- Sam Cooke: "A Change is Gonna Come" (1964). R&B singer-songwriter Sam Cooke wrote this one in 1963. RCA Victor released it shortly after Cooke’s death in late 1964. This song came to exemplify the American civil rights movement. Only a modest hit on its release, the song has gained popularity over the decades.