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The 25 Best Songs About America 

songs about america
Songs about America photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash.

Thousands of songs have been written about ‘The Land of Dreams.’ Some make us proud of who we are, while others question what we stand for and where we are going. What are the best songs about America? Find out below.

 

“God Bless the U.S.A. – Lee Greenwood

What is America’s most patriotic song? You guessed it, “God Bless the U.S.A.

Greenwood’s song is about American patriotism and freedom and celebrates the soldiers that died fighting for it. With country-style music and singing, the song was a hit at the time but fell out of popular culture until after 9/11, when it shot back up to the top of the charts.

 

“God Bless America” – Kate Smith

If “God Bless the U.S.A.” isn’t America’s most patriotic song, then “God Bless America” is.

Written by an immigrant extolling the ‘land that he loves,’ “God Bless America” continues to endure over a century after it was written.

 

“The Star-Spangled Banner” – Jimi Hendrix

It doesn’t get any more iconic than Jimi Hendrix‘s version of the National Anthem from the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Taking the traditional tune and putting it in a free-form rock format illustrates both the good and bad in America.

 

“This Land is Your Land” – Woody Guthrie

What is a song that represents America? Many would say it’s “This Land is Your Land.” Woody Guthrie’s famous folk tune is one of the most powerful anthems ever written. 

This masterpiece was his considered and piercing response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” a result of all that he had observed while traveling across the nation during the time he lived.

 

“This Is America” – Childish Gambino

One of the most controversial songs about the country, “This is America” brings attention the difficult issues like gun violence.

Although it’s not one of the songs about America that praise the nation, it is truly American in spirit, as there are few things more American than pushing back a little.

 

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” – Bob Dylan

Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are A-Changin'” is widely remembered as an anthem of the 1960s civil rights and peace movements. He boldly used his platform to encourage society to break from complacency, setting the trend for other musical artists who use their artistry to speak out about inequality across America.

It is among the best rock songs about America.

 

“America” – Simon & Garfunkel

This duo’s song paints a vivid portrait of hitting the open road in search of something intangible. “America” speaks to those seeking adventure, an exploration of freedom away from everyday life while discovering more about oneself. 

It is indeed one of the top songs about freedom.

 

“American Pie” – Don McLean

Don McLean’s timeless classic paints an aural picture of the sweet and sorrowful aspects of American life. 

Even with its 8:30 run time, it captivates listeners with themes of innocence lost after Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper perished together in that fateful plane crash. 

“American Pie” is unquestionably one of the top songs about America.

 

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver

Ironically, at least in the colloquial sense, Bill Danoff’s vision for Denver’s signature tune was born in rural Massachusetts. 

Despite never setting foot in West Virginia, Denver conjures images and feelings of traversing through its breathtaking landscapes. 

The carefree attitude of “Take Me Home Country Roads” makes it one of the best songs about freedom.

 

“We’re an American Band” – Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk was proudly the torchbearers of American rock ‘n’ roll at a time when English influence was prominent. 

Embracing their own identity, they celebrated the past greats that had built and molded hard-rock into what it was today, offering audiences an unforgettable sound experience filled with both appreciation for history with no small dose of patriotic pride.

 

“American Girl” – Tom Petty

Tom Petty’s “American Girl” is a timeless anthem of hope that speaks to everyone who yearns for something more than our current situations. 

Despite his passing in 2017, the song remained beloved among fans and was the last he played with The Heartbreakers before his death, speaking volumes about its impact on him as an artist and musician. 

“American Girl” is undoubtedly one of the best songs about America.

 

“America” – Neil Diamond

“America,” Neil Diamond’s iconic song from The Jazz Singer, is an emotional homage to immigrants who arrived in the country hoping for a better life in what was traditionally known as “the land of dreams.” 

With powerful lyrics and melody that evoke strong feelings of patriotism, it has been beloved by fans since its initial debut, making it one of the top songs about freedom.

 

“Born in the U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen

What song represents the American dream? It’s “Born in the U.S.A.”

Bruce Springsteen‘s song about the Vietnam War was an anthem for patriotism, but it’s also a call to look closer at our country and how it treats its veterans. 

Though there’s flag-waving excitement on the surface, there is something more somber beneath the surface, a commentary on the hypocrisy that has gone down in history. It is one of the top songs about America.

 

“Living in America” – James Brown

Fans of Rocky IV will forever hold dear the iconic song that plays as Apollo Creed steps up to challenge Ivan Drago during the Cold War era. 

This celebratory anthem for American freedom, set against communist oppression, was an ode to patriotism in its most poignant form, just like Old Glory herself. Certainly one of the top songs about freedom.

 

“Fight the Power” – Public Enemy

Public Enemy’s timeless classic “Fight the Power” has become an anthem for justice and a symbol of resistance for those seeking to make a change. 

Taking inspiration from Spike Lee’s movie Do The Right Thing, this rap cut emboldened Generation X to continue pushing forward in their pursuit of social progress, picking up where Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” left off decades before.

 

“Banned in the U.S.A.” – 2 Live Crew

2 Live Crew made their stance crystal clear in response to the legal labeling of their 1989 hit album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be: it’s patriotic to fight for free speech. 

Sampling Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.,” this rap anthem highlighted that our great nation was not a place where constitutional rights were infringed on.

 

“Abraham, Martin, and John” – Dion

Through Dıck Holler’s heartfelt tribute and Dion’s masterful composition, generations remember the honored lives of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and his brother Bobby, heroes whose dedicated work for social change in America remains a timeless inspiration to all. 

“Abraham, Martin, and John” is one of the most emotional songs about 

America.

 

“Party in the U.S.A.” – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus released many fun, upbeat songs in her more innocent days, and this anthem is the most beloved. Its singalong chorus and lively feel illustrate the feel-good spirit of America.

 

“Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young 

In “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Neil Young sings about the precious freedom we take for granted in the States. 

It has an interesting backstory: Neil Young wrote it when his tour in the Soviet Union got cancelled. Apparently, his songs were too ‘revolutionary’ to be performed onstage!

 

“American Idiot” – Green Day

Of course, songs about America aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. In this protest song, Green day is not-so-subtly chiding the American media for pushing Americans into the rat race.

 

“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift

Taylor claims this song is very close to her heart, as she wrote it as an ode to the city which played a massive role in changing who she was. New York altered the direction of her life. 

A fun fact about this song: it was co-written with the lead singer of OneRepublic.

“American Boy” – Estelle Feat. Kanye West

‘American Boy’ is one of the few songs on this list that represent America how it is today. British singer Estelle wrote the whimsical, carefree song after moving to the States. 

It became popular in the U.K. and Belgium because it depicts how non-Americans fantasize about American life. 

 

“American Saturday Night” – Brad Paisley

In this upbeat song, Brad paisley croons about how the unique cultures of America come together to create a classy, carefree Friday night in America.

 

“California Dreamin'” – The Mamas and the Papas

The Mamas and the Papa’s classic tune of nostalgia paints an idyllic picture of sunny days in Los Angeles and Southern California.

Barry McGuire recorded it first, but arguably no one has done it justice like them.

 

“Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ track “Empire State of Mind” has become an anthem for New York City, captivating all who hear it in the heart of Times Square. 

Its initial conception underwent plenty of revamping to ensure its message was just right, and even sparked a sequel, “Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down.” 

One of the more modern choices on our list, “Empire State of Mind” is truly one of the best songs about America.

Do you agree with our best songs about America list? Did we miss any? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.

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