Big Bill Love’s Top Classic Country Songs For July 4th
Country music has always had a patriotic history. Most of the early tunes about America that were recorded in the genre we know as country came during world war two. Songs like Ernest Tubb's 1944 hit "Soldier's "Last Letter" (his first number one) , Tex Ritter's, "Gold Star in the Window" and Bob Wills "Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima" seemed better able to bring the emotion of the war home to America than most pop music.
Country music has a way of doing that. Here are my favorite All-American selections from the last 60 years or so. Happy birthday America.
JOHNNY CASH - RAGGED OLD FLAG - This Cash Classic was recorded during the President Nixon resignation of 1974. Many of the ideas expressed by the Man in black back then are just as pertinent today
CARL SMITH - TEN THOUSAND DRUMS - This was recorded in 1959 and climbed to #6 on the country chart. As far as I can tell, it was the only big country hit about the American revolution.
JOHNNY HORTON - THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS - Let's move up from the Revolutionary war a few years to the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. The new American army gets a lot of help from volunteers and hands the British another butt kickin'
ELVIS PRESLEY - AMERICAN TRILOGY - This 1973 grouping of tunes from Elvis' Aloha From Hawaii, Live in Honolulu features three classic songs; The traditional southern tune"Dixie" , the Union army marching song "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "All My Trials" an African American spiritual. Elvis always did this at his concerts where it brought the house down.
THE FIGHTIN' SIDE OF ME - MERLE HAGGARD - In 1970 Merle's record company felt he should follow his big hit "Oakie From Muskogee" with a similar song. Merle didn't disappoint with this tune
GOD BLESS THE U S A - LEE GREENWOOD - This tune is basically remembered for being playing over and over during the Gulf War in 1990 and came around again after the attack on Sept 11, 2001. The song was actually recorded in 1984. It has been played so much in the last 30 years it's almost like a second national anthem.