So, it’s the 4th of July -and what better way to celebrate the ol’ Red, White & Blue than with, well…red, white and blue!
These colors have been a source of pride and patriotism for Americans since the birth of the first American flag in 1777. And though the flag does represent America’s independence from Britain, the two nations do enjoy the same great colors (UK flag, anyone?), and when it comes to classic rock ‘n’ roll, they have respected and influenced each other from the very beginning. Just think of the American blues, rockabilly and R&B influence on bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin! So to celebrate these iconic American hues, along with all the great music that has been released from both sides of the Atlantic, here’s a list of classic rock songs that salute Red, White or Blue in the title. From The Jimi Hendrix Experience to Queen, The Allman Brothers Band to The Who, these bands have all contributed their share of colorful tunes. And even if they’re not all American, or not even British for that matter (what’s up Rush!), we love ‘em all just the same.
*A huge thank you to Elliot Gross for the list suggestion!
Elvis Costello – “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
The song was the 3rd single from the English singer-songwriter’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. In 2011, Costello rewrote the song for a segment on Sesame Street, renaming it “(A Monster Went and) Ate My Red 2.”
Foreigner – “Dirty White Boy”
The song was the first single from the British-American band’s third album, Head Games, and reached as high as #12 on the charts. The track is featured in the 2013 video game, Grand Theft Auto V.
Badfinger – “Baby Blue”
Written by lead singer/songwriter Pete Ham, the song was included on the band’s 1971 album Straight Up and is one of their most famous songs. It was written about a girlfriend of Ham’s named Dixie Armstrong and has appeared in the film The Departed as well as the finale of the drama series Breaking Bad.
Harry Chapin – “Flowers Are Red”
The song, off of 1978’s Living Room Suite, tells the story of a boy who draws flowers using many different colors, but his teacher tells him to only paint them red and green because that’s how they’re typically seen. It is based on a personal experience Chapin had with a teacher who told him that his son marches to the beat of a different drummer, but that she’ll get him straightened out.
The Moody Blues – “Nights in White Satin”
Written by lead singer Justin Hayward at the age of 19, the song was included on 1967’s Days of Future Passed. It has been interpreted by many to be a tale of unrequited love (perhaps experienced by Hayward) and is one of the English band’s biggest hits.