Whether you’re planning a barbeque, fireworks-viewing party or road trip, we’ve got your patriotic soundtrack covered! America’s countryside, cities, freedom and flag have been the inspiration for countless songwriters. Many of the U.S.’s most distinctive patriotic songs began as poems. In the 1970s, the Vietnam War prompted a surge of rock songs, some of which have anti-war connotations, but have nonetheless been embraced by many with national pride.
Here is part 2 of these 22 classic and modern America-themed songs to get you in the patriotic spirit.
American Pie Don McLean
A number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. “’American Pie’ was initially inspired by the singer-songwriter learning about the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash as he folded newspapers for his paper route as a boy.
America (They’re Coming to America) Neil Diamond
Released in 1980, Neil Diamond wrote and recorded this patriotic song for the movie The Jazz Singer, which he also starred in. The song is a tribute to people immigrating to the U.S. from all over the world seeking freedom.
Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen
This 1984 single is one of Springsteen’s best-known songs. Although the lyrics deal with the lasting effects of the Vietnam War on Americans, it is often interpreted as a patriotic anthem because of its upbeat melody and rousing chorus.
Philadelphia Freedom Elton John
Released as a single in 1975, “Philadelphia Freedom” was a number one single for Elton John. He wrote the song for his friend and tennis star Billie Jean King who played on the Philadelphia Freedom tennis team.
Party in the USA Miley Cyrus
Oddly enough, this teen star’s song saw a resurgence of popularity following the death of Osama bin Laden, with viewers flocking to the singer’s official YouTube page and leaving celebratory comments.
Pink Houses (Ain’t that America) John Mellencamp
Mellencamp told Rolling Stone magazine the song was inspired by an old black man he saw sitting with a cat in his arms outside a pink house while the singer was driving home to Bloomington, Indiana. “He waved, and I waved back. That’s how ‘Pink Houses’ started.”
Living in America James Brown
This Grammy-nominated song was released in 1985 and is well known from the Rocky IV movie.
American Girl Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Released in 1977, “American Girl” was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ second single and named one of the “Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine.
Young Americans David Bowie
The first single from his album of the same name released in 1975, this was Bowie’s entrée into Philadelphia soul after recording as his glam rock alter ego Ziggy Stardust for a few years prior.
Back in the U.S.A. Chuck Berry
Released in 1959, “Back in the U.S.A.” was famously parodied by The Beatles with their song “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
Surfin’ U.S.A. Beach Boys
Fifteen California surf spots are mentioned in this classic beach song credited to Chuck Berry because of similarities to his tune “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
American Woman The Guess Who
Released in 1970, this Guess Who single charted at #1 and has been covered by many rock artists including Lenny Kravitz.
The Star Spangled Banner Jimi Hendrix
This legendary National Anthem performance by Hendrix on the electric guitar at the 1969 Woodstock festival was the first of its kind.
Have we missed any important modern 4th of July songs? Make sure to check out part 1