When it comes to chest-swelling, tear-welling choruses, no artist can compete with the legendary Lee Greenwood. His 1983 hit “God Bless the USA” is one tune that is known worldwide and has been performed and played at countless military and patriotic events. It would be a very safe bet to say that there is not one single American citizen alive today who cannot sing along to this song!
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Sports & Entertainment Nashville wants to honor our veterans for their service and for the special place Lee Greenwood and his hit “God Bless the USA” has in our hearts.
This song first came to life when Lee first penned it in 1983, wiling away the hours in the back of his tour bus as he was touring for his 1982 studio album Inside Out, which included the hits “It Turns Me Inside Out” and “Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands,” among others.
Let us paint a picture of just how special this song is to our country and how dear we hold Lee Greenwood.
At the time “God Bless the USA” was written, our country was rebounding from political, social and economic issues not very different from today. In 1983, America was suffering from an economic recession that saw sharp increases in interest rates and bankruptcies. We had recovered from the nuclear facility accident at Three Mile Island, and our 54 American citizens had been returned home after being held hostage by the Iranians for 444 days. It was a tough time in the history of our country, and it is not a stretch to say that Lee Greenwood’s hit played a very important role in boosting the morale of not only our soldiers serving in the military but in the hearts of every single American citizen.
“I wanted to have something that would unite Americans from coast to coast,” relates Greenwood. “I wanted to instill pride back in the United States. The song represents my family, my community and those men and women who have paid the price for the freedoms we all love and enjoy.”
As the son of an American veteran himself, Greenwood has a sincere admiration and compassion for our country’s military. His father served in the Navy and in the Merchant Marines in WWII, and it is this service that helped to instill a strong sense of patriotism in Greenwood.
This song has endured even more than the turbulent times during which it was written. While always a special song, it saw unparalleled success following the terrorist attacks on our country on September 11, 2001. Indeed, “God Bless the USA” has become the only song in history to be in the Top 5 of the charts a record-breaking three times. It hit the charts in 1991, 2001 and 2003, and it even hit #1 on the pop charts after September 11, 2001.
This sense of patriotism and supporting the cause has led Greenwood to pen a book titled, “Does God Still Bless the USA?,” published by Tate Publishing in 2012. Greenwood has also supported a number of patriotic and military causes through the years, which led to his appointment by President George W. Bush to the National Endowment for the Arts Council in 2008. He also serves as the National spokesperson for “Products for Good,” an organization dedicated to raising funds to help financially-challenged veterans and servicemen and women.
While Greenwood without question has a heart for supporting our military, he also has a heart for paying homage to country music legends who have come before him. Along with a star-studded lineup, Greenwood will be among other greats on November 22 when all of country music will take a collective moment to celebrate the life and legacy of the great George Jones. At the concert which was originally scheduled to be his tour-closing farewell tour, a tribute concert has been organized in its place that will include all of the greats of our industry – coming together to honor Jones and his indelible impact upon country music. “Playin’ Possum: The Final No Show” is scheduled to take place at Nashville’s own Bridgestone Arena, and Lee Greenwood is one of the first legendary performers scheduled to pay his respects.
It has been 30 years since Greenwood first put pen to paper and wrote the inspiring hit song, “God Bless the USA.” At this season of honoring our veterans, there is no better time to celebrate Lee Greenwood and “God Bless the USA.” We know that he would agree wholeheartedly with us when we say, “Do something helpful for a veteran today.” Honor their sacrifice and show appreciation for what their service provides to us. Freedom…safety…prosperity. You name it. Our veterans keep these rights safe, and we want to honor them for their sacrifice. God bless Lee Greenwood, and God bless the United States of America.
Lee Greenwood has a new 7-song EP titled I Want to be in Your World. Look for it today! He will also be appearing at the Grand Ole Opry on November 23. Not to be missed!