Ten Great Patriotic Songs

  • In time for the July 4 weekend, check out our list of all-American songs that demonstrate the values our country rests on:

    God Bless The USA

    The narrator of Lee Greenwood’s poignant ballad has an undying faith in the American dream, one that persists even in hard times. Released in 2000, it became a post-9/11 anthem.
  • America The Beautiful Ray Charles didn’t write it, but he made it his own. No one has ever equaled this soulful rendering of a true classic.
  • Small Town A native of Seymour, Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp wrote this valentine to the virtues of small town American life: friends, family, high school—and even the water tower you can see from miles away.
  • Ballad Of The Green Berets The pro-military song that Staff Sgt.Barry Sadler co-wrote shot to the top of the charts in 1966, even though the Vietnam War was unpopular. In fact, the ballad was once named the No. 21 song of the 1960s. Sadler, a member of the elite Special Forces (the Green Berets), sang the song on normally ebullient shows like Ed Sullivan in a military, somber style.
  • God Bless America Kate Smith’s version became the standard to beat, but no one ever has. She introduced the Irving Berlin tune to a radio audience in a 1938 Armistice Day broadcast. Because of its peaceful imagery, some people have even said it should replace the war-themed Star Spangled Banner.
  • America Written by Neil Diamond, this arena-size ballad tells about the hopes of immigrants who came to the United States for a better life, and it still draws standing ovations. Diamond sang it at the rededication of the Statue of Liberty on its 100th anniversary in 1986.
  • Superman (It's Not Easy) Although this song by the group Five For Fighting isn’t as well known as the others, it was performed at the Concert For New York City one month after 9/11. It chronicles the tale of the actual Superman and tells of his fear and his courage. It became one of the favorites of the Fire Department of The City of New York as well as the New York City Police Department.
  • American Trilogy Because brother so often fought against brother, and family against family, the Civil War is perhaps the bitterest episode in United States history, and the one with the most far-reaching consequences. Elvis Presley, himself a product of the Deep South, sang this medley of the Confederate song Dixie, the Union army marching song Battle Hymn of the Republic, and as if in a gesture of reconciliation, the spiritual All My Trials.
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy You might not think of James Cagney as a song-and-dance man, but he was the star who introduced it in the 1942 movie of the same name. The song, written by George M. Cohan, became a hit at a time of crisis, when the U.S. had just entered World War II.
  • This Land Is Your Land Written and first performed by the legendary songwriter Woody Guthrie, This Land is more of a political statement than most people realize. Guthrie, a longtime populist, sang of one of the founding principles of the U.S.: that we are all equal under the law, in a just and beautiful country.