1. “God Bless America” was written by an immigrant from Siberia.
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.”
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.
6. The composer of “America the Beautiful” never got to hear his melody paired with the lyrics.
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.
“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.
10. “Kids in America” was written by a team of Brits.
British singer Kim Wilde wrote the song with her father and brother.
Ain’t no 4th of July party like a Miley party, y’all.
- Justice Antonin Scalia, who served almost 30 years on the Supreme Court as one of its most prominent and influential conservative voices, died Saturday. He was 79.
- U.S. Republican presidential candidates will debate tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CBS for the first time since Donald Trump's win in New Hampshire.
- Bitterly cold temperatures and arctic winds began freezing large swathes of the U.S. Northeast on Saturday.