“God Bless the USA” was the song that lingered in Greenwood’s mind for some time before he was able to finally write it. The song was not a big hit off the bat, but it slowly gained attention and finally became one of his signature songs.
A Solidarity Song
Greenwood’s inspiration was built along with their road tours, where they spent about 300 days a year on the road. Greenwood was about to release a new album for MCA that year when he called his producer. He then expressed his desire to write a song about the country that he loves and the call for them to unite. He saw the need for Americans to reunite in light of his personal observations and experiences. He said, “I’m from California and I don’t know anybody from Virginia or New York.”
That led to his discussion with his producer in identifying four crucial cities in the country. Greenwood chose New York and L.A. while his producer suggested Houston and Detroit as these two cities are the basis of the country’s economy.
By 1983, Greenwood started to introduce the new song on his tour. He performed “God Bless the USA” in the middle of his song line up. The crowd’s reception to the song surprised the singer. They just started to jump-up and the concert venue exploded with cheers.
The song’s message was simple. That is for everyone to unite on what they have in common instead of magnifying their differences. This was proven during the times of the Gulf War, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the call to unity and to rebuild after 9/11. Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” has been the rallying anthem for everyone.
Lee Greenwood and the Army Chorus
With all the significant events that have come along with the song, another moving performance of “God Bless the USA” happened at the 2015 National Hockey League’s (NHL) “Winter Classic” outdoor game in Washington D.C.
Greenwood has just finished with an interview when the Army Chorus’ director approached him to sing with the group in an acapella rendition of “God Bless the USA”. He enthusiastically accepted the invitation and sang with the group.
As they started singing, their voices engagingly filled the tunnel that they were in. Little did they know that they have just produced one of the most touching versions of the song.
Never Been a Chart-Topper
Despite the song’s popularity, the song has never been a number one hit on the Hot Country Songs charts. The song has only peaked at number 7. But to Greenwood, “God Bless America,” has been more than a top-charting song. He didn’t care much about the song’s chart performance, only the impact that it has given to society.
Eight years later, the song was first on his album “You’ve Got a Good Love Comin.” The song was featured again in another album titled “American Patriot.” This includes, “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “The National Anthem.”
In 2015, Greenwood also expanded the patriotic message of “God Bless the USA” and created a children’s book out of it. The patriotic book was all based on his upbringing and childhood. Its illustrations featured a child and his grandparents. The singer was raised without his parents and was left in the care of his grandparents. The book was also about America’s geography and the many things to love about it.
His Other Reflections
Recently, Greenwood has continued to reflect on the success of “God Bless The USA” which has now spanned for decades. He remembered the time when he left home as a teenager and was exposed to the harsh realities of the world. He also heard the story of a soldier who, prior to losing two legs, decided to join the Army after hearing “God Bless the USA.”
Greenwood was also grateful to the many opportunities given to him to sing in several presidential inaugurations. But above everything, he felt honored to write “God Bless the USA” which became an inheritance he could leave for his family.
Greenwood revealed that he is about to finish writing a new album and will not stop inspiring his fellow Americans.
Lee Greenwood, The Army Chorus