About the Song
A 1994 country music hit, “Independence Day” is a three-minute song recorded and performed by American country music singer-songwriter Martina McBride. It was originally penned by fellow American singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters. Officially released on April 25, 1994, the song was McBride’s third single from her second album, The Way That I Am. McBride herself together with American producers Paul Worley and Ed Seay produced this hit under RCA Nashville Records. In fact, the song was initially offered to country music star Reba McEntire, who later turned it down.
“Independence Day” was a chart-topping hit for McBride. It placed no. 12 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Meanwhile, the song also penetrated music charts in Canada. To note, it peaked at no. 15 on the RPM Country Tracks.
Moreover, CMT ranked the song 50th in its 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music in 2003. The next year, it placed no. 2 in CMT’s 100 Greatest Videos in Country Music. In addition, it was included in CMT’s Controversy. Furthermore, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 77th in their list of the 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.
In 1996, the songwriter, Gretchen Peters, recorded the song herself and included it on her debut studio album, The Secret of Life. As a matter of fact, Peters earned CMA Song of the Year award for “Independence Day” in 1995.
“Independence Day:” A Song with a Double Meaning
Gretchen Peters created “Independence Day” from the point of view of an 8-year-old girl who has a broken family. Peters admitted that it was similar to her story. Growing up, her parents split up. In an interview, Peters revealed something about writing the song. She said:
“So I did kind of have some kind of emotional grounding to understand at least how it feels from a child’s point of view to have their world just come apart like that, and feel that things are out of control, and they’re just in the way. I had some understanding of that. I think I did that subconsciously, but very purposefully, so that I could dig my teeth into it. Because I could understand that.”
In the song, the little girl recalls a devastating incident she has had as a child and growing up. Her mother was a victim of domestic violence and abuse by her alcoholic father. On the Fourth of July, the Independence Day, as the little girl was walking around the town fair, she hears rumors about her abusive and drunkard father. On the same day, her mother takes down their house by burning it. The daughter is then sent to a country home.
Martina McBride reveals more of the story. According to her, the mother, after burning their house, declares and gains her independence from the abusive relationship she has had.
The lyrics of the song express a double meaning. It talks about the woman gaining her “independence” from her alcoholic husband. In addition, it refers to the fact that the incident happened on the Fourth of July, the day of independence in the United States.
WATCH: Martina McBride emotionally performs “Independence Day” live.
Singer Martina McBride is the spokesperson for many domestic abuse charities, among them: the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. She has dedicated herself to the plight of women and children in emotional and physically abusive relationships. And her recording of this song has had a resounding effect on domestic abuse awareness. Along with songwriter Gretchen Peters, they have raised many hundreds of thousands of dollars for various causes having to do with domestic abuse; whether it be alcoholism, drug abuse, physical, and/or emotional.
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