8 tracks ► songs for independence


Let freedom ring. In the spirit of independence, here is a double-dose of songs that can make for a red-hot-and-blue playlist for the Fourth of July. Some songs are absolutely the usual suspects for just about every Happy-4th playlist, but a couple may be blanketing the airwaves a little less today. Some tunes for your day of flags and fireworks.

► Side A   •   Freedom:

8 • Free and Easy • Dierks Bentley    ►   Down the road I go.

7 • Set It All Free • Scarlett Johanson from SING!   ►   This one is the for kiddos.

6 • Free • Train   ► Call me a fool, but I like this song and think the chorus is fun to sing—especially, of course, the “free” part.

5 • Free Bird • Lynyrd Skynyrd   ►   What song is it you want to hear? Always this rock classic.

4 • Free Fallin’ • Tom Petty   ►   Jesus, Elvis, horses, America. She loves it all.

3 • Same in Any Language   ►   I-Nine ► I also like the cover of this song as performed by the fictional band Ruckus in the film Elizabethtown. Love that this song covers American towns and foreign cities—those freedom fighters sure were good indeed.

2 • Me and Bobby McGee • Janis Joplin   ►   Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

1 • Rockin’ in the Free World • Neil Young   ►   Just keep on.   ■

► Side B   •   ‘merica:

8 • American Girl • Tom Petty   ►   Oh yeah. All right. Something that’s so close is still so far out of reach.

7 • Born in the USA • Bruce Springsteen   ►    This pick just had to happen.

6 • Surfin’ USA • Beach Boys   ►   Inside, outside, this song is just plain fun. And the kids like it!

5 • We’re an American Band • Grand Funk Railroad   ►   Is that a cowbell I hear?

4 • American Woman • The Guess Who   ►   Yes, I prefer this version to Lenny Kravitz’s. Plus the Guess Who has this sweet little understated intro with a lot of humming and the complete spelling out of the word “American.” And then the song breaks bad with a bit of electric guitar and an emphatic rock-n-roll “unh.” What’s not to like?

3•  Pink Houses • John Cougar Mellencamp   ►   Ain’t that America? (for you & me).

2 • America • Simon & Garfunkel   ►   They’ve all come to look for it.

1 • American Pie • Don McLean   ►   A brief history of rock-n-roll in America seems an appropriate pick for a Fourth of July celebration.

Bonus Track » Saturday in the Park • Chicago   ►   »   I think it was the Fourth of July. And it was. But not on a Saturday this year.

Bonus Track » We Didn’t Start the Fire • Billy Joel   ►   »   Nothing like a crash course in American history, right? But it’s pretty fly when it has a drumline.

graphics, text © 2017 hilary hall

cover photo “The Fourth of July, 1916” by Childe Hassam courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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