- Your News
By John Coffelt
Whether it’s gathering on the deck with family or fireworks and the lake, bring on summer fun this Fourth of July with the right soundtrack.
The “Star Spangled Banner” is a given favorite for the Fourth, but here are a few more classics that will add a little bang your holiday gathering.
1. “American Pie” by folk rock singer-songwriter Don McLean, was an instant classic when it was released in 1972.
During its rise to the top of the U.S. charts during the following year, it brought with it a flurry of interpretations.
McLean is said to have written the song, which could be considered a eulogy for the sixties, about the 1959 plane crash that killed early rock legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, but the magical poetry of the song that speaks of good ol’ boys and of loss of innocence is the marriage of melodic simplistic and artistic complexity.
2. “Born in the USA,” by Bruce Springsteen, grabs a spot for its salute to the patriotism and pain of Vietnam War veterans.
Released in July of 1984, the single the chanting chorus of “Born in the USA” accepts and supports the country despite the pain of the loss described in the verses.
3. Switching pace another song perfect for the Fourth is the nostalgic country hit, “Chicken Fried,” by the Zac Brown Band, captures the spirit of carefree summer days and a life that gets back to the essential things that really matter, like enjoying time with family and friends, and of course fried poultry.
4. What Fourth collection would be complete without the smooth easy rhythm of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl?”
Captured in the sweet bourbon of Petty’s voice is the angst of dying dreams as the sound of traffic, instead of breaking waves, lulls the nameless American girl into the night.
5. Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaretaville,” stands easily alongside other summer hits. It evokes, with a lazy-afternoon beat and lyrics seeped in Western sunsets, tart, salty memories of summers past.
6. If the idle, misspent days of youth had a theme song, it would be Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.”
Ripping off music from “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” Kid Rock creates a Southern rock classic perfect for a day at the lake.
7. George Strait’s “Heartland” reached Billboards Hot Country Singles and Tracts number one slot in March of 1993.
Strait advises early in the first verse, “When you hear twin fiddles and a steel guitar, you’re listening to the sound of the American heart.”
Immortalizing the hometown ideal maintains for him the identity that is endangered by a changing world.
8. “We Ain’t Even done with the Night,” by John Mellencamp off of his fifth album “Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did” topped the Billboard charts at 17th place in 1980.
The slow, steady rhythm and evocative lyrics call to mind the perfect time of night when the sun has set and a slight breeze chases away the day’s heat.
The song freezes that moment of youth, when the power and novelty of infatuation is all-consuming.
9. Winding out the list is a song directly related to summer or the Fourth but is essential to any summer playlist.
“Take it Easy,” from the Eagles, espousing relishing the present in a tone of indifference to fate, debuted in the summer of 1972, since then earning a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll.
Running into the top ten, the song became a summer hit and launched the Eagles’ career that would develop into the group’s signature song.
Available from Amazon.com and iTunes, each of these songs complement any Fourth of July gathering.