Happy July 4th, everyone! In honor of America’s 237th b-day, we thought we’d pay tribute to five patriotic artists who have been known to rep the US of A through thick and thin. Many musicians (rightly!) use their art as a way to criticize things about the American country and culture that they feel are in need of change, but the five artists that we have selected here are about as pro-America as you can get.
It’s easy to think about the months following September 11, 2001 as a rude awakening from an imagined bliss (doubly fictitious, in that the peace only ever appeared to exist, and that it wasn’t that blissful to begin with). Nevertheless, the events of that day had a dramatic?and traumatic?effect on Americans, not least through our consumption of popular culture. But before the slew of original compositions responding directly to the event (of which Sound of the City has compiled what, in their estimation, were the nine worst), many listeners were already looking to music for comfort, guidance, or other emotional needs, while rejecting other music that flew in the face of those needs. Here’s what people especially did?and did not?want to hear.
In the second full chart week after 9/11, Houston’s 1991 rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” re-entered the Hot 100 at #50, and Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” debuted at #16 (in 1984, the song had hit the country charts but never crossed over). In a pattern that would be reversed once digital sales became common, the songs had two chart peaks?the first when radio’s support was strongest, and the second when physical singles were re-released. Sales of “God Bless the USA” were strong enough to keep it on the chart, but not to match its debut. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” on the other hand, hit #6 on the strength of sales (and continuing radio support). Read more…
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