What's some good, patriotic music to listen to fireworks to?
July 3, 2005 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Along the same lines as the last question (kind of), what's some good, patriotic music to listen to fireworks to?

At work, I've been put in charge of making a playlist for our local fireworks, and the two conditions that I was given was that it be patriotic and upbeat. At least a thousand people will be hearing this, so I want to make it fun. (And OF COURSE I was just assigned it this morning.) Problem is, I can only think of a few songs, and I need more! All of my Google searches are turning up only radio websites, and it's not really too much help.

FWIW, so far all I've got is: Stars & Stripes Forever, Born in the USA, Ray Charles - America The Beautiful, Neil Diamond - Coming to America, and a couple others that I'm not really thrilled with. I know there's more but my mind is totally blank. Any help would be really, really appreciated.

(I'm very tempted to play American Idiot, but I don't think that would go over too well with the higher ups. Ha!)
posted by socialdrinker to Media & Arts (21 answers total)
Response by poster: Errrr...two questions ago. You know.
posted by socialdrinker at 8:12 AM on July 3, 2005

I'm probably way off (seeing as I'm a Brit), but I was always under the impression that "Born In The USA" wasn't a straightforward patriotic song. Can anyone enlighten me further?
posted by coach_mcguirk at 8:32 AM on July 3, 2005

The Ballad of the Green Beret?

and a couple others that I'm not really thrilled with

Look at it this way. Ray Charles singing the alphabet beats green day singing anything.
posted by justgary at 8:37 AM on July 3, 2005

The title track, "Born in the U.S.A." is one of Springsteen's best known songs. Many have misinterpreted the song as a simple nationalistic anthem, while in reality, it is a song of protest depicting the hardships Vietnam veterans faced upon their return from the war. In spite of this, many politicians (notably including Ronald Reagan) have used the song without permission in their campaigns, and during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq many counterdemonstrators played the song opposite peace protests.


posted by justgary at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2005

City Of New Orleans- Arlo Guthrie/Steve Goodman
Looking For Lewis & Clark - Long Ryders
I Am A Patriot - Little Steven
Back In The USA - Chuck Berry
U.S. Male - Elvis Presley
Dancing In The Street - Martha & The Vandellas
Living In America - James Brown
(You Can Still) Rock In America - Night Ranger

I was always under the impression that "Born In The USA" wasn't a straightforward patriotic song. Can anyone enlighten me further?

This is correct. It's sung from the point of view of an unemployed Vietnam veteran, it's angry but there is still an anguished patriotism in it, for lack of a better description. I love the song, and it is rousing, but it'd be out of place at a fireworks show.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on July 3, 2005

How about the Overture of 1812.
posted by mmascolino at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2005

but it'd be out of place at a fireworks show

I hear it played at just about every fourth of july fireworks show I've been to. Normally at the end.
posted by justgary at 8:53 AM on July 3, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, don't get me wrong - I love Ray Charles and I think the song is great. I just didn't mention the others because I didn't want to play them at all.

Also - I'm a big Bruce fan too...one of my managers said that we "have to" play "Born in the USA". I thought it was questionable, and you guys confirmed it.
posted by socialdrinker at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2005

It's not patriotic as such, but Chuck Mangione's Bellavia is like jazzy Copland. It should go with fireworks nicely. And it fills up the time. 451st Army Band rendition here, but you get the picture.

You can't go wrong with off-the-beaten-track John Philip Sousa selections, natch.

If you have old folks in the crowd, then add in Glenn Miller's version of FW Meacham's American Patrol.

For the ultimate in cheese, a finale: Bill & Gloria Gaither's rendition of My Country 'Tis Of Thee. Hannity driods in the crowd will cry like little bitches at this one. If you must make a moral victory out of this, get a friend to work the crowds and steal their wallets while they're choked up ;-).
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2005

The 1812 Overture is shit when the fireworks aren't synchronized to it. Avoid also if your display is relatively low budget. That pick will be the subject of ridicule if you have anything less than a whopper display. IMHO....
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:58 AM on July 3, 2005

Also, socialdrinker, what state are you in? I bet there's some rousing songs that mention it by name.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on July 3, 2005

And "Surfin' Bird" by the Trashmen is not a patriotic song, but it's incredibly ubpeat and I could see it going well with fireworks, especially if there's been booze happening.
posted by jonmc at 9:02 AM on July 3, 2005

Huh. Handel's Fireworks music is the only possible choice.

Probably only patriotic if you're English, though...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:29 PM on July 3, 2005

"Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"
John Prine

Some may not see it as patriotic, but it has that swill "God Bless America" beat in significance to my mind.
posted by scottymac at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2005

James Brown's 'Living in America.'
posted by box at 12:45 PM on July 3, 2005

If you feel like streaming something tomorrow (accPlus, too), Minnesota Public Radio's alternative station, The Current, will play fifty songs for fifty states, starting with Alabama at 2:00 PM CST.
posted by glibhamdreck at 2:30 PM on July 3, 2005

Might be helpful to have a long piece like Aaron Copland's Third Symphony. America is supposed to be for the common man - most will recognize the Fanfare for the Common Man in the fourth movement.

posted by Cranberry at 2:33 PM on July 3, 2005

1812 overture is only patriotic if you are Russian.

I would love to add, "America: Fuck Yeah!" but I suppose that isn't appropriate.

Throw in that "I'm proud to be an American cause at least I know I'm free." song even though it sucks, on the 4th of July even the cheesiest patriotic songs are fun.

Throw in the Armed service anthems, the marine corp song especially.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:26 PM on July 3, 2005

  • "This Land is Your Land" - the Woody Guthrie version or the Peter, Paul, and Mary version, your call
  • "R-O-C-K in the USA" - John Mellencamp
  • "Rockin' in the USA" - KISS
  • "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" - Toby Keith - but only if you live in a red state!
  • "Freedom" - The Isley Brothers
  • "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" - Mahalia Jackson's version.
  • "Let the Eagle Soar" - John Ashcroft - only if your community has either a strong stomach or a good sense of humor
And I second the recommendation of Chuck Berry's "Back In The USA". Great song, sadly underplayed.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:38 PM on July 3, 2005

Oh, and "(You Can Still) Rock in America" by Night Ranger.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:55 PM on July 3, 2005

oh man, R.O.C.K. In teh USA - gawd! Thanks asparagirl
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:10 PM on July 4, 2005

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