13 Patriotic Songs You’ll Never Be Able To Listen To The Same Way Again

Politicians: It’s time to stop playing “Born in the U.S.A.” at your rallies.

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1. “God Bless America” was written by an immigrant from Siberia.

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Composer and lyricist Irving Berlin immigrated to the U.S. from Siberia when he was 5 years old. In 1940, he donated all the royalties from the song to a fund for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts — and in one year, the Scouts can make $200,000 or more from the song’s royalties.

2. “This Land Is Your Land” was originally written as a sarcastic response to “God Bless America.”

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Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” as a big F-you to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which was very popular at the time. Guthrie thought the original wasn’t very accurate, and his original lyrics included a verse about property ownership.

3. The 1812 Overture, which is commonly played at 4th of July celebrations, is actually about Russia.

It was written by Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia’s defeat of Napoleon.

4. And Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” is about a Vietnam War vet who returns home, only to feel abandoned by his own country.

The song is about a man who feels like “he has nothing left to tie him into society anymore. He’s isolated from his family […] to the point where nothing makes sense,” Springsteen has said.

5. “You’re a Grand Old Flag” was a basically a pop hit. It sold over a million copies of sheet music.

The song was written by George Cahan for the musical George Washington Jr., which debuted in 1906.

6. The composer of “America the Beautiful” never got to hear his melody paired with the lyrics.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

 

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics originally as a poem, in 1893 while on a trip to Colorado. Samuel A. Ward, a church organist, composed the melody but died one year before it was joined with Bates’ lyrics in 1904.

7. Don McLean’s “American Pie” is about the tragic death of Buddy Holly.

Wikimedia Commons

United Artists

 

“The day music died” = the day Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.

8. And Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” is actually about domestic abuse.

 

The controversial 1994 song is about the stories of two women: the daughter of an alcoholic, abusive father, and her mother, who ends up burning their family house down.

9. The melody of the “Star-Spangled Banner” is from an old English drinking song.

Called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” the original was composed around 1775 for the Anacreontic Society of London, an 18th-century gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians.

10. “Kids in America” was written by a team of Brits.

British singer Kim Wilde wrote the song with her father and brother.

11. And “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by the British military during the Revolutionary War to mock Americans.

12. Whitney Houston’s amazing Super Bowl performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was actually lip-synched.

George Rose / Getty

She was still singing along, but the version everyone heard was pre-recorded.

13. Forty-six of the fifty states prefer Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” over any other patriotic song on the 4th of July.

According to Spotify data.

Ain’t no 4th of July party like a Miley party, y’all.

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