Lee Greenwood Celebrates 35th Anniversary Of Signature Hit Song "God Bless The USA"

Two time CMA Male Vocalist Of The Year, and GRAMMY-winning country music artist Lee Greenwood celebrates the 35th anniversary this week of the release of his signature hit song, the patriotic "God Bless The USA." 

The song first appeared on his 1984 album, You've Got a Good Love Comin, and spent 37 weeks on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, becoming a Top 10 Hit.

 

"It is with great pride that 35 years ago today I decided to release the song, 'God Bless the USA.' I wrote it to show my love for this country," said Greenwood. "That decision would prove to be the most important career choice of my life. I'm grateful for the many times I've been given the chance to inspire Americans through hard times and happy times. I thank my parents for the gift of music; I thank the industry for the belief in my artistic ability; I thank my wife Kim for never doubting me, and I thank God for His grace as He has lifted me up from nothing. There will be other songs that will be added to America's library of patriotic music. I'm simply amazed that I was able to write one as well."

 

"God Bless The USA" had a resurgence soon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, peaking again on Billboard's Hot 100 song chart. Soon after, Greenwood performed the song at Game 4 of the World Series in New York City on Oct. 31, 2001, receiving a highly emotional response from the crowd.

The song has been covered numerous times over the years by artists such as Dolly Parton, Beyoncé, Home Free, a number of American Idol contestants, and more recently by Gyth Rigdon on The Voice.

Greenwood wrote "God Bless the U.S.A." while riding the back of his tour bus in response to his feelings about the shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007.

 

“As I stated in my song, ‘God Bless the USA,’ ‘There ain't no doubt I love this land.’ My love of the land came from being raised on a farm in California and singing for USO shows while I was still in high school,” Greenwood said in a recent statement on the song's origin. "I'm honored this song is still being shared, and more importantly, being recognized as a song which unites, because that is exactly the reason why I wrote it.

 

I wanted to write it my whole life. When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said, 'I have a need to do this.' I've always wanted to write a song about America, and I said, 'We just need to be more united.'

I'm from California, and I don't know anybody from Virginia or New York, so when I wrote it -- and my producer and I had talked about it -- [we] talked about the four cities I wanted to mention, the four corners of the United States. It could have been Seattle or Miami, but we chose New York and LA, and he suggested Detroit and Houston because they both were economically part of the basis of our economy -- Motown and the oil industry -- so I just poetically wrote that in the bridge.

 

When I put it on stage ... I think it was the fall of '83, I put it in the middle of the show, just as a brand-new song. Wow, it was like the audience jumped up, and they were applauding ... I did it for about two weeks like that, and then I had to put it at the end of the show as an encore; I couldn't follow it.

 

It keeps having a different kind of life. I mean, during the Gulf War, it was a song of the war for [U.S. Army] Gen. [Norman] Schwarzkopf. After Hurricane Katrina, it was a song for life and hope, and then after 9/11, it was a song of unity and rebuilding. It just makes me really proud that I've done something for the country and for my family. It's my family's heritage.

 

I recorded the American Patriot album [in 1992] -- that album was a way to embrace "God Bless the USA" with all other American songs, including "God Bless America," "America the Beautiful," the National Anthem ... even the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The American Patriot album really was the one that solidified "God Bless the USA" in a time capsule, if you will, for all time."

(L to R): Lindsay Ell, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Morgan, Travis Denning, Trace Adkins, Mark Wills and Lee Greenwood

Photo courtesy Grand Ole Opry LLC. Chris Hollo, photographer

Plus, Greenwood participates in the annual "Salute The Troops" at the Grand Ole Opry and will perform at NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26

 

Greenwood continues to tour extensively in 2019, and fans can catch up with him at one of his many concert appearances.

 

Lee Greenwood on Tour:

 

May 24 Winston-Salem, N.C. / Annex Theater

May 26 Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Motor Speedway

Jun 28 Roanoke Rapids, N.C. / Roanoke Rapids Theatre

Jun 29 Marion, Va. / The Lincoln Theater

Jul 03 Hot Springs , Ar. / Oaklawn Jockey Club

Jul 04 Ft Lauderdale, Fla. / Ft Lauderdale Beach

Jul 06 Cabazon, Calif. / Casino Morongo

Aug 08 Nichols, N.Y. / Tioga Downs Grandstand

Aug 09 Vernon, N.Y. / Vernon Downs Grandstand

Aug 14 Grants Pass, Ore. / Josephine County Fairgrounds & Event Center

Aug 18 Louisville , Ky. / Kentucky State Fairgrounds

Sep 07 Batesville, Ar. / Univ of Arkansas Community College

Sep 19 Bremen, Ga. / Mill Town Music Hall

Sep 20 Walhalla, S.C. / Walhalla Performing Arts Center

Sep 21 Clarksville, Tenn. / Beachaven Winery

Nov 02 Knoxville, Tenn. / University of Tennessee

Nov 08 Emporia, Kan. / Emporia Granada Theatre

Nov 09 Rogers, Ar. / John Q Hammons Convention Center

Nov 10 Branson, Mo. / Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater

Dec 04 Branson, Mo. / Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater

Dec 05 Cedar Park, Texas / HEB Center

Dec 13 Immokalee, Fla. / Seminole Casino

 

Throughout his expansive career, international country music icon Lee Greenwood has earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards, a Grammy Award for Top Male Vocal Performance on “I.O.U,” in 1985, and a multitude of other prestigious award nominations.

 

His discography includes twenty-two studio albums, seven compilation albums, seven No. 1 hits and thirty-eight singles including songs like “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Ring On Her Finger Time on Her Hands,” “She’s Lyin’,” “I Don’t Mind the Thorns if You’re the Rose,” “Dixie Road,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going Going Gone,” “You Got A Good Love Comin’,” among others. His stand-out hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It was also No. 1 on the pop charts after 9/11.

 

Known for his stand-out patriotism and support of the U.S. Military, Greenwood has been honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s National Patriot’s Award, and entertained troops on more than 30 USO Tours. Greenwood was appointed to the council of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the United States Senate, and continues to serve on the NEA at the pleasure of the President. His latest book release is a children’s book called “Proud To Be An American,” which is currently available in stores, on Amazon and leegreenwood.com.

 

Lyrics

 

If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life

And I had to start again with just my children and my wife

I'd thank my lucky stars to be livin' here today

'Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away

 

And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free

And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me

And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today

'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land

God bless the USA

 

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee

Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea

From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA

Well, there's pride in every American heart

And it's time we stand and say

 

That I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free

And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me

And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today

'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land

God bless the USA

 

And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free

And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me

And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today

'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land

God bless the USA

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