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Ten Fun Facts About "God Bless The USA"

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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.

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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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray