“From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee, across the plains of Texas
and from sea to shining sea,” over 300 million Americans will celebrate the United States’ independence over this three-day holiday weekend.
America’s 235th birthday celebration promises to be another festive affair here in Payson, with Parks and Rec turning Green Valley Park into a patriotic playground of music, food and games.
Performing on Saturday night, as part of the eight-week summer concert series, will be the 10-member Terry McFee Orchestra, sure to delight the young-at-heart with their swinging sound from yesteryear.
Then on Independence Day, from 5 to 9 p.m., Phoenix’s Higher Power Band will return to Payson with the versatility that has earned them an encore performance — with their mixture of oldies, rock ’n’ roll, blues and country.
The Fourth of July holiday has always been one of my favorite times of the year to be a disc jockey.
I dearly love American patriotic music and enjoy spinning everything from the awe-inspiring marches of John Phillip Sousa to the recently recorded tributes to our military men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the patriotic songs that I always enjoy playing at this time of the year are Neil Diamond’s “America,” “Where Were You” by Alan Jackson and Charlie Daniels’ “My Beautiful America.” Also, it’s fun to honor requests for Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag,” Ray Charles’ masterful version of “America the Beautiful” and John McDermott’s beautiful rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
But, my favorite and most stirring (and most requested) modern song of American patriotism is the one written and recorded by country musician, Lee Greenwood.
The song reached No. 7 on the Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles chart when originally released in the spring of 1984 and was played later that year at the Republican National Convention, with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy in attendance. The song gained greater prominence during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, as a way of boosting morale.
The popularity of Greenwood’s song rose sharply after the September 11, 2001 attacks and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
His tribute to America was re-released as a single, re-entering the country music charts at #16. The song could often be heard on the radio after those events, and versions of the song are still widely distributed online.
This week’s music trivia question is: What is the name of Lee Greenwood’s popular patriotic hit, which includes these flag-waving lyrics: “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today. ’Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land ...”
Is the title Greenwood’s song: A) “America Will Always Stand,” B)“God Bless The U.S.A.” C) “Living In America,” or D) “American Soldier”?
This week, if you’re the fifth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win a free haircut and blow dry from Cookie Cutters Beauty Salon, courtesy of Betty Dixon, hair stylist. You’ll also win a CD of 20 great American patriotic hits, including all the songs I have mentioned in this week’s article.
Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s music trivia question: What family pop group sang the hit song “Hair,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart in the spring of 1969? Was it A) The Cowsills, B) The Alley Cats, C) Three Dog Night, or D) Iron Horse?
The correct answer was The Cowsills, who also scored late-1960s Top 10 hits with “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” and “Indian Lake.”
The Alley Cats were an early-1960s Los Angeles-based, one-hit wonder group with the song “Puddin N’ Tain.” Three Dog Night was a highly successful pop-rock vocal trio, having landed more than 20 hits on the charts from 1969-1975, with “Joy to the World” (more commonly remembered as “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog”) achieving the 1971 Song of the Year award. Iron Horse was a little known late-1970s rock group from Canada.
Congratulations to this past week’s music trivia winner, Mike Leigh, a regular caller and proud member of the Payson Cougars softball team, who has won several times in the past.
For his correct answer, Mike won a free haircut and blow dry from Cookie Cutters Beauty Salon, located in the Bonanza Square shopping center, courtesy of Karen “Cookie” Sawyer.
Two last things. My apologies go out to all who called in this past week and did not receive a return call from me. We entertained at an out-of-town, weekend event and there were a whole bunch of calls for last week’s contest. I just didn’t have the time to return the messages. But please know that each and every call is very much appreciated.
Also, on this holiday weekend, Ann and I will again be in the White Mountains area for a three-day patriotic event. But we should be returning home on the 4th in time to play our patriotic music from our front deck in conjunction with Payson’s spectacular fireworks show.
Have a wonderful (and patriotic) 4th!
Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com