50 Songs About Independence, Freedom, and American Liberty
Count Your American Blessings
Sure, there are a lot of things wrong with America: taxes, pollution, consumerism, GMO Frankenfoods, self-checkout lines, and texting instead of just talking to one another.
But wait. Wait. Before you get going on all that's wrong here, consider what America has going right.
- We can worship how we want to, or not at all.
- Most Americans are law-abiding and respectful of one another's human rights. We are fiercely protective of one another in times of crisis. We help one another out.
- We enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of the press, so that even extremists can share their point of view. (Usually, someone will set them straight with their own counter perspective.)
- Don't like something? Gather some friends and peacefully assemble to voice your complaints, or start a movement to throw elected officials out of office. You can even run for public office yourself if you want to. Try that in some countries.
- Of course, we also have Hollywood, beautiful monuments, scenic vistas like the Grand Canyon and the lighthouses of New England, and a popular culture that absolutely rocks.
America. Once we were a loose collection of misfits and dreamers. Now we're an independent, strong and free nation like no other.
If you're proud to be an American, then celebrate the heroes who have made this nation and its culture possible. They're the veterans and everyday heroes like my aunt, a Red Cross volunteer who toiled in the aftermath of Ground Zero to clean up and care for the the traumatized. Eventually, she lost her life because of her selfless service.
These are the brave people who defend our way of life. They hunker down instead of quitting.
American pride isn't just for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Veterans Day. So make a playlist of songs about independence, freedom and American liberty. And don't forget to thank a veteran or other hero in your life.
1. "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood
This patriotic country song is a must-have on any list of songs about American freedom. It was first released in 1984, and I was lucky enough to have heard Lee Greenwood sing it in concert in the 1980s. What a moving experience; I still recall the goosebumps and the lump in my throat.
The song was subsequently played at the Republican National convention in 1984 and was re-popularized following the Gulf War in the 1990s, 9/11, and the death of Osama bin Laden.
2. "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers
This song of defiance and self-reliance was first released in 1989, but it became an anthem for American resolve, particularly after 9/11. It's about knowing what's right and never conceding defeat:
Well, I won't back down.
No, I won't back down.
You can stand me up at the gates of Hell, but I won't back down.
3. “Pink Houses” by John Cougar Mellencamp
America is a melting pot, the home of the free. This classic 1983 song celebrates the diversity of our dreamers, wannabes and has-beens. It refers to the man in the poor neighborhood who has an interstate running through his front yard, the young man who gave up on his dream of becoming President, and the rich people who vacation out of the country. We may be a collection of misfits, but together we are strong.
4. "Born Free" by Kid Rock
This rousing 2010 song is Kid Rock at his finest. It celebrates the unrivaled gift of living in a country graced with the right to build your own destiny.
With a wild, untamed heart, every American is lucky enough to be born free, to chase his or her dreams wherever they lead. May your dreams lead you far and wide, then perhaps back home again, as mine did.
Kid Rock allowed this song to be used by Mitt Romney's 2012 Presidential campaign as a theme song.
5. “The Fightin’ Side of Me” by Merle Haggard and the Strangers
Sure, it was a 1969 song about the Vietnam War, but this country classic is every bit as appropriate today as it was back then. Merle Haggard (God rest his soul) issues a warning that he doesn't take too kindly on people who enjoy America's way of life while at the same time trash talking us and refusing to stand up to defend our liberties during times of international conflict. (Tell 'em, Merle!)
He cautions those two-faced folks:
If you don't love it, leave it
Let this song that I'm singin' be a warnin'
When you're runnin' down our country, man
You're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.
6. "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson
In this emotional 2001 song, country singer Alan Jackson captures the reactions of many Americans to hearing the news of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He asks where you were when it happened and what your personal response was to the tragedy.
Where Were You When You First Heard About the 9/11 Attacks?
How did you respond? Did you cry, watch CNN, donate blood, pray, stockpile food and supplies, join the military, etc? Share your story in the Comments Section below.
7. "You've Got To Stand For Something" by Aaron Tippin
To be truly free, a person must be guided by his or her values. When you see injustice, stand up and take action. When something's not right, speak up.
This truly American 1990 song urges us to take a stand and do the right thing, even if it's unpopular. That's because "Whatever you do today you'll have to sleep with tonight."
8. "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" by Toby Keith
Toby Keith wrote this hot-blooded 2001 hit in 20 minutes as both a reaction to 9/11 and in honor of his father, who was a veteran and died earlier that year in a car accident.
At first, the country music star considered the song too personal to record, singing it only in live performances, mostly for military audiences. However, after being convinced to record it as a patriotic morale-booster during the build-up to war with Iraq, the song shot to the top of the country charts.
Years later, during the drawdown from Iraw, it was the last song aired by the Armed Forces Radio Newwork in Baghdad. The song is also nicknamed "The Angry American."
9. "Living in America" by James Brown
This peppy 1985 song won a Grammy. It paints America as the modern promised land—a busy, eye-popping place that demands to be celebrated. According to the song, our country is filled with opportunity and abundance:
- superhighways that connect our coasts
- factories and railroads
- all night diners and overtime work.
10. "Only In America" by Brooks & Dunn
This 2001 describes a country where you if you dream it, you can do it. We work hard, play hard, and dream big:
One kid dreams of fame and fortune
One kid helps pay the rent
One could end up goin' to prison
One just might be President.
11. "The Hands that Built America" by U2
Not often played publicly, this 2002 song is about nineteenth Irish immigrants' experience as they come to New York. It pays homage to all the nationalities that flocked to America and built it from the ground up.
12. "American Dream" by MKTO
Nothing is the way it used to be. The American Dream has changed, and not everyone seeks a white picket fence, traditional job, and a marriage with 2.2 kids.
This 2014 song recognizes that the world is spinning fast and young people want to experience life, travel and carve out their own dreams rather than live those of their parents.
13. "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel
To mark his fortieth birthday, The Piano Man condensed 100 headline events from the years 1949-89 into a three-minute song. The result was this Grammy-nominated hit that is often used in history courses as a fun memory aid.
The song references American politics, sports, film, music, literature, celebrities, scientific advancements and world events affecting America. He's saying that while Americans didn't start the bad things in this world, it's in our fiber to fight against it and try to make this world a better place.
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No, we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it.
14. “American Land” by Bruce Springsteen
This 2012 song by "The Boss" describes America, the land of opportunity and plenty, that for so many years has attracted people across the globe. Immigrants glorify our country as having "diamonds in the sidewalk." They came in droves to our gates and built us up into what this country is today. (And they're still coming.)
15. "All-American Kid" by Garth Brooks
This 2014 song tells the story of a high school football star who was recruited by the best colleges in the country, yet he signed with Uncle Sam. As his hometown cheered and wished him well, the local news headline urged him to "Come Back, All-American Kid"
Following several tours of active duty, untold battle scars and a silver star, he was back. The local paper celebrated his return: "Welcome Back, All-American Kid." The song pays homage to "those who never did come back all-American kids."
16. "Home" by Dierks Bentley
The tragic Arizona shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others inspired this 2011 song. It is an attempt to make sense of what happened.
The song describes our beautiful American landscape, imperfectly beautiful with its scars. It also emphasizes our hard-fought freedom and the necessity of getting along with one another, in spite of the differences that threaten to divide.
17. "Some Gave All" by Billy Ray Cyrus
Easily the best contribution Billy Ray Cyrus has made to American culture (and that counts his daughter, Miley), this 1992 song honors Vietnam War-era veterans. The country hit tells the story of an old veteran man who reminds a younger one about the price of liberty:
All Gave Some, Some Gave All
Some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall.
18. "Warrior" by Kid Rock
Kid Rock recorded this 2008 song as a tribute to the National Guard. It promotes the loyalty of citizen soldiers who respond to crisis when they are called.
19. "Independence Day" by Martina McBride
Controversial at the time of its release in 1994, this powerful song is about one woman's personal quest for independence and liberty in her own home. Tired of everyone looking the other way regarding her violent husband, she fights for the independence and safety of herself and her young daughter.
The girl goes to the Independence Day parade while at home the mother "lit up the sky that fourth of July." The home down was set ablaze with the abusive husband in it. Freedom sometimes has a hefty price, as the daughter avoids the father's abuse but goes to the county children's home.
20. "Don't Tread On Me" by Metallica
Benjamin Franklin once suggested that a rattlesnake image was a good symbol for the American Sprit, and this song alludes to that as well as Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. The 1991 song suggests peace through strength, surveillance, and vigilance.
Even More Songs About American Liberty, Freedom, and Independence
21. Have You Forgotten
22. Born in the U.S.A.
23. American Soldier
24. If I Don't Make It Back
25. American Flag on the Moon
26. I Drive Your Truck
27.Party in the U.S.A.
28. Bumper of My SUV
29. Made In America
31. Where the Stars and the Stripes and the Eagle Fly
32. It's America
33. 8th of November
Big & Rich
34. One Hell Of An Amen
35. American Made
Oak Ridge Boys
36. Ragged Old Flag
37. For You
38. If You're Reading This
39. Remember the Heroes
40. American Boy
43. We The People
Billy Ray Cyrus
44. I Just Came Back From A War
45. There She Stands
Michael W. Smith
46. Tattoos & Scars
47. Fly Over States
48. We Shall Be Free
49. R.O.C.K. In the USA
John Cougar Mellencamp
50. Coming to America
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