Lee Greenwood’s iconic song “God Bless the USA” finally topped a Billboard chart, 36 years after its release.
No doubt the surprise chart-topper was spurred on by the patriotic sentiment surrounding the Independence Day holiday, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest.
Sales leapt 366 percent to 15,000 units sold during the week.
“It sits atop the chart — right above Song of Summer 2020 nominee ‘Rockstar’ by DaBaby featuring Roddy Rich — in the July 18-dated chart,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Greenwood responded to the song’s new status, tweeting, “I’m always humbled to see how God Bless The USA resonates with the American spirit and love of country.
“Thank you Proud Americans for using God Bless The USA as you celebrated our wonderful country – it is still the best place on earth!”
I’m always humbled to see how God Bless The USA resonates with the American spirit and love of country. Thank you Proud Americans for using God Bless The USA as you celebrated our wonderful country – it is still the best place on earth! @billboard https://t.co/VEODwlOwWL
— Lee Greenwood (@TheLeeGreenwood) July 14, 2020
Greenwood’s 1984 signature tune became a staple at then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign rallies during the 2016 race, and the former New York businessman continues to make his stage entrance to it, as he did prior to his speech at Mount Rushmore on July 3.
The song first charted in the top 10 (reaching No. 7 on Billboard’s country singles chart) the year of its release.
Seventeen years later, the singer took center stage again at Yankee Stadium in 2001 during the World Series, offering an emotional rendition of the song just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The ballad rode a wave of patriotic sentiment after 9/11, charting near the top again among country songs and reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.
In a 2016 interview, Greenwood talked about the motivation behind the song.
“I wanted to write it my whole life,” he told The Boot. “When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said, ‘I have a need to do this.’ I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said, ‘We just need to be more united.’”
“When I put it onstage … I think it was the fall of ’83,” Greenwood recalled. “I put it in the middle of the show, just as a brand-new song. Wow, it was like the audience jumped up, and they were applauding.”
“I did it for about two weeks like that, and then I had to put it at the end of the show as an encore; I couldn’t follow it.”
Greenwood recently teamed up with the U.S. Air Force Band and the a cappella group Home Free to release a new version of “God Bless the USA” just prior to the July 4 holiday.
It appears patriotism is alive and well in America.
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