Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA

Last spring was bound to be busy for the “God Bless The USA” singer and songwriter Lee Greenwood, when a controversy outside Boston earned Greenwood loads of free publicity. The kids at Stall Brook Elementary School wanted to sing Greenwood’s famous song, but the local school board urged them to change the lyrics to “We Love The USA.”

As yahoo.com reports, “pandemonium ensued.” Part of the pandemonium came from Greenwood, and the kids ended up singing the song just as it had been written.
“There’s been a lot about faith in the news,” Greenwood said in a phone conversation in mid-April. “These things are all coming together at the same time, and it took me a whole year to get the book and the EP done.” The EP has seven songs, while his new book is called “Does God Still Bless The USA?” The album’s out now, with the book slated for a May 14 release.

“I just try to do the right thing,” Greenwood said. “I’m with the Silent Majority, and we try to awaken the sleeping patriots.”

During the mid-1980s, Greenwood was one of MCA Nashville’s hottest artists. “Somebody’s Gonna Love You” and “Going, Going, Gone” both hit No. 1 before “God Bless The USA” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Top Country Songs chart in the summer of 1984. He penned the classic American anthem in a place he knew very well, the back of a tour bus. “I had a unique view of America with my tour schedule back then,” Lee recalls. “We were playing 300 nights a year, and still had time to release two albums each year. We turned out music faster than they make coffee.”

Shortly after he penned “God Bless The USA,” he played it for label executives Jerry Crutchfield in Nashville and Irving Azoff in Los Angeles, and soon the song was on its way to becoming a radio hit and an American tradition.

Lee’s own tradition is a unique one for a country star. He not only grew up in LA, but worked for four years as a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas casinos in the mid-1970s. Ten years later, he was hot as a firecracker at radio and pocketed a pair of CMA Male Vocalist of the Year honors in 1983 and 1984. By 1992, he had moved to Capitol Nashville and married Kimberly Payne, a former Miss Tennessee who majored in English and this spring helped Lee edit his new book. He now records for Tate Music Group. One of the highlights of Lee’s new EP is “Here Comes Love, There Goes My Heart,” a song Greenwood wrote where he gets to showcase one of his talents that fans rarely get to see – his ability to play sax. On “I Can Let Go Now,” Lee’s cover of the Kenny Loggins/Michael McDonald pop tune, McDonald dropped by the studio to play the piano licks himself. The other tracks on the new EP include “Dancin’ With No Music Playin;’ ” “Got A Little Thing For Me;” “That’s How I’ll Remember You;” “I Want To Be In Your World;” and “Wounded Heart.”

By Phil Sweetland @Copyright 2012

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