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September 22

Lee Greenwood Hears his First Hit on the Radio, ‘It Turns Me Inside Out’

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If country music would give a face to the most patriotic song ever, Lee Greenwood could give everyone a run for their money. He is particularly famous for his song ‘God Bless USA’ which he released way back in 1994. Since then, many artists and even movies used his song to give every moment their patriotic aura.

However, like every artist who struggles to make a mark in the colorful world of country music, Lee Greenwood was already 37 when he first heard his song on the radio. He shared with the Boot the exact moment when he first heard his number one hit on the radio:

“My excitement for having my first record [“It Turns Me Inside Out”] on the radio was so great. I had waited for an awful long time; I was 37 before I had my first hit, and I had already worked for 25 years in the business on the West Coast.

When I heard that song for the first time, it was in a car, because they didn’t have radios in a bus. I think it was when I got home after working on the road, in 1981. It was probably in Nashville, on WSM. I called the radio station right after that and said, “Thanks for playing the record!” It’s like any new artist when you first come on the scene — everybody wants to talk to you — and we started calling all the radio stations around the country.

I don’t think anybody knows what they really sound like until they hear it on radio. You can do demos, and you have your own recordings, because people sing karaoke, and you kind of imagine what you sound like, but when you first hear it on the radio, finally, you know what the audience is listening to and what you’re supposed to sound like. And then all of your ensuing records after that, you know what target to aim at.”

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