Gary Brown: Singing songs about America

Gary Brown

What is the patriotic song you have playing in your head when you think of the Fourth of July?

According to, the No. 1 most played song on the Fourth of July is "America The Beautiful," as sung by Ray Charles.

"O beautiful for spacious skies,

"For amber waves of grain,

"For purple mountain majesties

"Above the fruited plain!"

Now try to get that red-white-and-blue earworm out of your head before Labor Day.

Some may remember singer Jhene Aiko's version more recently sung at Super Bowl LVI, and a few of the older among us might insist that the most famous version was sung by Kate Smith.

Sorry about that last guess, my friends and fellow seniors. Kate Smith used to sing "God Bless America." It's a great song too, and probably pretty popular on the Fourth of July, but it's a whole diffferent set of lyrics.

By the way, the No. 2 most popularly played song played on this most patriotic of holidays is "Born in the U.S.A," by Bruce Springsteen. It turns out that he is "The Boss" on the holiday, as well as a bunch of other summer special occasions.

Singing patriotic music

The Fourth of July has become through the years a special day – a whole holiday weekend – on which to sing and play an assortment of music that suggests patriotic themes. Each year, bands and solo singers belt out music that pays respect to a country that was born almost two and a half centuries ago.

Good Housekeeping magazine's website last month posted a list of "25 Patriotic Fourth of July Songs For Your Party Playlist." It included at the top of the list such songs as "The Star Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston, "Color Me America" by Dolly Parton, "Party In The U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus, "Firework" by Katy Perry, and "American Pie" by Don McLean.

Southern Living magazine's 2022 list of "40 Patriotic Songs to Celebrate with This Fourth of July" boasts among its suggested titles "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood, "Ragged Old Flag" by Johnny Cash, "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and "Living in America" by James Brown.

And, Parade magazine's recent list of "50 Songs About America to Add to Your Independence Day Playlist" served up among its selections "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie, "America" by Simon and Garfunkel, "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and "Stars and Stripes Forever" given to us by John Philip Sousa.

So, you can see that there is a lot of variety in the type of songs considered "patriotic" by the people of the United States. We celelebrate with the birth of our country according to our own individual tastes.

I'm guessing that some people even sing "(I'm A) Yankee Doodle Dandy" or chant "Yankee Doodle Went To Town."

Adding a little exit music

Speaking of singing, let's end with a "big finish now," as they say in the Fourth of July song business.

Here's the rest of that first verse of "America The Beautiful."

"America! America!

"God shed His grace on thee

"And crown they good with brotherhood

"From sea to shining sea!"

Admit it, you slowed down and started to think in a shout during that last line, didn't you?

Have a happy holiday everybody. Eat something from the grill. Play backyard games with the kids and grandkids. And sing a patriotic song, even if it's just the old Chevy TV ad jingle, which asked back in the 1970s, "America, what do you love best?"

"Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet..."

Another earworm put firmly in place for your absent-minded Fourth of  July humming.

Reach Gary at On Twitter: @gbrownREP.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Gary Brown: Singing songs about America