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In honor of the 44th President, this week I went looking for some songs about the good ole US of A. There’s actually a current ranking of patriotic songs, which I must admit seems a little bizarre. But people listen to the nose flute, so who am I to judge?
Atop the list, sits Lee Greenwood and “God Bless the USA.” I’d rather listen to a chorus of nose flutes playing “It’s a Small World After All” than listen to a trite, overplayed, twangy Republican anthem. But if you like that kind of thing, I’m sure you can find it on You Tube.
Number two is “America the Beautiful.” Nice song. I’m not providing a link because I’m certain we can all sing it in our sleep and probably have, during one of those dreams when you’re stuck in an airport and can’t get on the plane, so you have to walk down this reeeeeeeeeeeeeally long corridor and at the end of it, there’s a Karaoke machine and a guy motioning you to take the stage and you protest because you realize that you’re wearing an enormous pair of orange clown shows and also that all your hair has fallen out, but the man insists, so you get up on stage and sing an off key and horribly embarrassing version of the song after which you are thrown in the airport jail and told you can’t go home for three years. But I digress.
Number three is “Born in the USA.” Bor-ing. Bruce Springsteen is cool and all, but I think I could live the rest of my life quite happily without ever hearing this song again.
Number four is “America” by Neil Diamond. Now we’re getting somewhere. Immigrants risking everything for a better life in a new country founded on freedom and liberty. Plus, who doesn’t love Neil Diamond? If you think you don't, it’s only because you haven’t yet realized that you’re not as cool as you think you are.
Rounding out the top five is the “Star Spangled Banner.” Really, “America the Beautiful” should be the national anthem because at least everybody can remember the words, at least to the first verse.
The rest of the songs on the list are, in my opinion, unremarkable and old. Except for “Yellow Rose of Texas.” I’m not sure how that got on the list. Maybe the soon-to-be-ex-president has an in.
When I want music to make me feel like a true American, I turn to John Philip Sousa. The guy could write a march. They’re all good, but the best, and probably the most famous, is “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Played by every single high school band in American since 1896, it just never gets old.
And come Tuesday, I’m going to like this song again:
Remember those Band Aid and We Are the World songs from the 1980s? As cheesy as they were, those songs really pulled on your heartstrings and made you feel like you wanted to be a part of something bigger than yourself. This year, Obama fans had our very own version. Our new president might not be much of a composer. But he’s a fabulous lyricist.
And finally, when you need a little pick-me-up just before you attend that VFW fundraiser, nothing says “I proud to be an American” better than those crazy kids from Colorado: