Ten Fun Facts About "God Bless The USA"

Ten Fun Facts About "God Bless The USA"

As America (fuck yeah!) prepares to celebrate its 234th birthday over the long July 4 weekend, our proud yet troubled nation is about to be inundated once again by Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." About as innocuous as a song can be on the surface, it's become one of the most polarizing tunes of the past 30 years - for every person who thinks it's a stirring expression of patriotism and America's core values, someone else thinks it's trite, shallow and more than a little jingoistic.

To be fair, those people may not have heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Red White & Blue (Love It or Leave)" or the Charlie Daniels' Band's "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag." And personally, Rocks Off has always thought "God Bless the USA" is pretty bland. But how much do you - does anyone - really know about what more than one person has (seriously) called our "unofficial national anthem"? Rocks Off figured it was our patriotic duty to find out.

1. Written by Greenwood, "God Bless the USA" was originally released on his 1983 album You've Got a Good Love Comin'. One story is that Greenwood wrote it to honor the Americans who were killed when Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down, but he told country-music Web site The Boot earlier this year "I wanted to write it my whole life."

2. The song was a modest hit upon its release, reaching No. 7 on Billboard's country chart in 1984. Greenwood performed it at that year's Republican National Convention in Dallas.

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3. Greenwood chose Houston, one of four cities mentioned by name in the song (Detroit, New York and Los Angeles are the others), to reflect the oil industry's importance to the national economy.

4. The song began to take on its current status during the first Gulf War. Shortly before the U.S.-led coalition's invasion of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in 1990, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf played it for his senior advisors. "[It's] a blatantly chauvinistic piece of music (chuckle), but I think it characterized the pride that all of us have in our profession," he told PBS' Frontline.

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