Hey baby, it’s the Fourth of July. Can you imagine the guts it took to sign the Declaration of Independence? We sit here in the velvet chair of comfort knowing how that story came out, but those that signed had everything to lose and it wasn't entirely clear that they would ultimately prevail - in fact, far from it. Hats off to them!
We've come a long way, and today is celebrated all over this marvelous land with fireworks, parades, cook-outs, family and fun. Here are some 4th of July and Americana songs to get you in the mood.
Let’s start with a guy who is as big an American rock star as any has ever been: Bruce Springsteen. Many years ago, he wrote a plaintive song about wanting to run away with a girl and get away from the day-to-day of the Jersey Shore. It’s title? “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” A beautiful song by one of rock’s all-time greats, and I found a great 1978 version of it:
Moving on to another song that is basically about a relationship, this time a dying one, we get X’s version of Dave Alvin’s sorrowful ballad, entitled simply “4th of July.” X kicks it up and rocks it, but I’ve seen Dave play it live with just a six-string, and it’s heartbreaking enough to make you want to weep (well, not a cold-hearted SOB like me, but people with feelings tell me that statement is true):
So what about another American rock icon? John Mellencamp didn’t write a song with 4th of July in the title, but he sure did write a song about making some noise in the new world: “R.O.C.K. In The USA.” Mellencamp is turning out to be a gruff curmudgeon, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t terrific live. And sometimes, I really like gruff curmudgeons.
How about something much lighter by someone more controversial? Hannah Montana herself, Miley Cyrus, kicked in a pretty catchy song that I like quite a bit: “Party In The USA.” Call me a sucker for sappy pop tunes, but this one is cool. I’ll even listen to it by myself if it comes on the radio, even if a Jay-Z or Britney song is on another station.
Two more and then I’m out of here. First up, Tom Petty with “American Girl.” When I was in high school, this song came out, and it wasn’t a huge hit. Yes, there was something wrong with the country back in those days, right! It’s a great song performed by another national treasure. And here's a badass live version.
Do you believe in rock 'n roll? A long, long time ago the US came up with this musical form, and blew the world's mind. Here's a song that people of a certain age will know every word to: Don McLean’s “American Pie.” I think I could sing it backwards. Some people disrespect this tune, but I think it’s great (always have) and turn it up whenever it comes on. In fact, I think it’s a very romantic song and I like romantic. Something touched me deep inside when I heard this song. Who cares what it’s about? “When the players tried to take the field/the marching band refused to yield!” Yowza!!!
For those I’m not sharing the 4th with – have a great time, set off some incendiary devices, pursue happiness, and make sure that you remember that, flaws and all, this is still a great country. Let’s do our best to make it even better, ok? I’m glad you’re with me on that one, rockers. The music will never die here at BRP. See you all soon - very soon.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.