Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” celebrates 30th anniversary
From times of great national tragedy to times of joyous patriotic celebration, the words of “God Bless the USA” have stood as one of our country’s most beloved anthems and the cornerstone song of those that best encompass pride in America. So much so, that CBS.com called the song, “the most recognizable patriotic song in the country.”
Written by Grammy Award winning country star Lee Greenwood in 1983, the iconic song marks its 30th anniversary this year. Its life to date includes the distinction of being the only song of any genre to skyrocket up the sales charts multiple times since its original release in 1984. Radio stations and fans alike returned to the song in 1991 during the Gulf War, in 2001 following 9/11, in 2003 during the war in Iraq, and in 2009 following Hurricane Katrina.
“God Bless the USA” had a resurgence in 2011, when Beyoncé recorded the song offering proceeds of the download to benefit the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. That same year, it was the winning song on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and performed on “American Idol.”
Greenwood wrote “God Bless the USA” in response to the hurt and anger he felt following the downing of a Korean jet on a flight from New York to Seoul with 269 passengers aboard, including 63 Americans. Russian authorities shot the plane from the sky, killing all aboard because “they thought the airliner was on a spy mission.”
“I saw the senseless strike as a personal attack against our countrymen and it moved me to put pen to paper,” says Greenwood. “The song came so easily, it nearly wrote itself.”
The song hit an emotional chord with the American populace as well and “God Bless the USA” was named “Song of the Year” in 1985 at the CMA Awards.
“After 9/11, it was a song of unity and rebuilding and after Hurricane Katrina, it was a song for life and hope. It just makes me really proud that I’ve done something for the country and for my family. It’s my family’s heritage,” Greenwood told AOL’s The Boot.
Announced Tour Dates Include:
February 8, 2013 – Nashville, TN – Grand Ole Opry
March 2, 2013 – Rocky Mount, NC
March 10, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – Constitution Hall
May 25, 2013 – Gulfport, MS
June 30, 2013 – Milner, GA
July 3 – Hot Springs, AK
July 6 – Williams Bay, WI
July 20, 2013 – Columbus OH
A 1985 video of Lee singing “God Bless the USA”.
ABOUT GREENWOOD: Throughout his expansive career, international country music star Lee Greenwood has earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards as well as a Grammy Award. His discography includes twenty-two studio albums, seven compilation albums and thirty-eight singles including hits like “Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands,” “Dixie Road,” and “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” among numerous others. He’s been honored with the prestigious National Patriot’s Award, presented by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and entertained troops on more than 30 USO Tours. In November 2008, President George W. Bush appointed Greenwood to a six-year term as a council member on the National Endowment for the Arts. The California native wrote his second book in 2012, a collection of inspirational essays titled “Does God Still Bless the USA; A Plea for a Better America” (Tate Publishing). His latest project, a seven song EP, I Want to Be In Your World, features more songs penned by Greenwood as well as him on saxophone. Lee and his wife, Kimberly, a former Miss Tennessee, currently reside in Nashville and have two sons.
Tags: 30th anniversary, emotional chord, national tragedy, new york police, patriotic song, spy mission, war in iraq