The Secret Stories Behind Rock’s Most Patriotic Songs

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Sometimes the origin of the stories these songs tell is even more compelling than the song itself. There may even be enough passion, humor, coincidences, and quirky characters to inspire a novel. Today we present you with a list of songs with unexpected backstories that you will never be able to listen to again like before: The Secret Stories Behind Rock’s Most Patriotic Songs.

 

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Born in the U.S.A.

In the rocker’s extensive career,  Born In The USA’s story begins in 1981, when Bruce Springsteen was asked to write the title song for a movie of the same name, released only in 1987. But the idea of ​​talking about and with the United States more directly it was engraved in the head of the singer, who had released dark Nebraska two years earlier.

The seventh studio album would consolidate a type of theme that he would become very well known: talking to the working class about their problems. Since the mid-1970s, Springsteen had been hammering away at these issues, managing to consolidate his sound – and his style – in 1984, the year of the release of his most successful work.

Born In The U.S.A. not only opens the album, it gives the album its name. The military drums and the absence of guitars in the first part show the powerful strength of this track, which was reformulated by the composer until it reached the stage where it was recorded to become a giant song with horns, keyboards and guitar. She talks about the Vietnam War, about the soldiers who came back without any kind of support from the government, about workers, in short, she talks about the average American and his difficulties. Ronald Reagan even tried to use the track as his re-election campaign music, but Springsteen politely declined. Reagan’s case is worth “you know nothing, innocent.”

 

This Land is Your Land

Woody Guthrie’s song, which was always linked to communist groups but never affiliated with the party itself, was born as a response to the fatigue that caused him to listen to the song God Bless America, which since its premiere became an anthem with which the Americans express their patriotism.

This Land Is Your Land is a song about inclusion and equality, but some verses were removed from the original 1940 version for children’s songbooks – he also wrote nursery rhymes – as it contained progressive political messages that spoke volumes about what Guthrie was thinking. at that time.

The song became a pillar of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, a song that talks about land for all, regardless of race, social class, or creed; a social anthem that was performed by hundreds of singers throughout history, and yesterday, for the first time, at the inauguration of Joe Biden, by a Latin singer like J.Lo.

 

God Bless the U.S.A.

It was 1938, and Kate Smith was a fashionable singer at the time. With an unmistakable deep voice, it would not be until she interpreted “God bless America” ​​that her presence first, and her voice later would become essential in all radio stations.

The song was composed by Irving Berlin, a Russian Jew who came to the United States fleeing anti-Semitic repression at the age of five. Berlin became an American citizen in 1918, the same year that he began his military career. The song was written at an Army camp in a small Long Island town, Yaphank. The iconic tune spent twenty years in a drawer until Smith’s producer reached out to Berlin to commission a song to celebrate Veterans Day in 1938. And young Irving opened the drawer. Thus was born one of the most emblematic and patriotic melodies of all time, performed by the best singers in history.

 

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

“Tie a yellow ribbon” the famous song by “Tony Orlando & Dawn”, part of the origin of the ties that are used today to show solidarity with the most diverse causes. With remote echoes in the English Civil War, it seems that the English colonists brought to the United States the custom of women wearing their hair in a yellow bow as a sign of fidelity to their partners who were outside the home serving the army or in war, a tradition echoed by John Ford in his 1949 film “She wore a yellow ribbon”, known in Spain as “The invincible legion.”

The trigger for the fashion of ties takes hold with the song “Tie a yellow ribbon” whose inspiration seems to be another. The story is based on a prisoner who after being released doubted whether he would be well received by his wife after the long absence. The journalist Pete Hamill, told the story in an article published in the “New York Post” in 1971. During a trip to Florida by bus, one of the travelers powerfully caught the attention of some young people who soon began to wonder about what could be their history.

The article described it like this: “His dusty face masked his age, he wore a simple brown suit that did not fit well. His fingers were stained by cigarettes and he bit the inside of his lip a lot. He sat in complete silence and seemed completely unconscious of the existence of others “. Curiosity got the better of the youngsters and they decided to try to know their story. They learned that his name was Vingo and after gradually approaching that mysterious man, they managed to get him to tell them the reason for his trip and his concern. Vingo was returning home after a four-year jail sentence and told them:

 

America

Neil Diamond created a memorable song called: ‘America’, said the theme is the history of immigration to the United States, both in the early twentieth century and today. ‘America’ (also known as “They’re Coming to America” or “Coming to America”) is the name of a song written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond.

It was released in 1980 as part of the soundtrack album “The Jazz Singer.” Its soundtrack was a huge success and became Neil Diamond’s best-selling album in the United States, selling more than 5 million copies.

The theme of the song is a positive interpretation of the history of immigration to the United States, both in the early 20th century and today. At Diamond concerts the song is a very popular number both at home and abroad, often displaying a large American flag to accompany its performance.