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10 Favorite Patriotic Songs

Greetings from Asheville, a proud city of the United States of America; the greatest Country in the world! Here, there’s always good music on the turntable, in the CD, or on the MP3. As we are in the midst of the Independence Day weekend, it is, of course, a time of celebration. A time to celebrate all that is great about the United States. And if you haven’t, already, make sure you thank a soldier, past or present, for their service in keeping this country the world’s number one. As an air talent and later, a Program Director, I always felt it important to honor this great nation, by playing some of the music that best expresses the honor of citizenship and Patriotism that we should all feel on this day. So, with that in mind, for this July fourth, I thought it good to something as close to that as I could with this blog; The Ten Favorite Patriotic Songs of All-Time. Now, unlike most lists, where different factors, such as sales or chart position can figure in, along with other factors to try to be as objective as possible, this is purely a subjective list; one that says, “Here’s my ten favorite Patriotic Songs”. And to make this list even more fun and interesting, I’ve invited three friends to join me in this list, and I am honored that they have done so. Let me introduce them, right now. First, is a friend of mine from way back to my college days at Vincennes University, John Rabold. John has had quite a good career in the broadcasting field throughout the Midwest. He’s spent time at the VU station, WFML (I was there, too), along with WTHI-FM in Terre Haute, Indiana; WCBH in Casey, Illinois; and two more Terre Haute stations, WBOW-AM and WZZQ-FM. He’s also spent some time in television at WTWO in Terre Haute; WSBT in South Bend, Indiana; and WXIN in Indianapolis.

Secondly, is a good friend whom I’ve had the honor to work with at two different radio stations, Ranger Dave. Our time together was divided between WCBK in Martinsville, Indiana and the old WIFE in Connersville, Indiana. In addition, Ranger Dave has been heard on WAXI-FM in Rockville, Indiana; WJNZ-FM and WREB-FM both in Greencastle, Indiana; along with WACF-FM/WPRS-AM in Paris, Illinois.

The third member of our esteemed panel is a good friend, whom I’ve gotten to know in more recent times, Paul W. Dennis, from down Florida way. An avid album guy like me, regular readers of this blog will recognize his name, as he regularly leaves outstanding comments that add more fascinating bits of information to the posts. Paul has a gift for writing, not only in the comment field, but in blogging, as well. He has written several outstanding articles for the website, The 9513.com, which has sadly come to an end. I would urge you to check it out, while it’s still available, and read his many fine articles on some Country music greats.

So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at the lists.

 JOHN RABOLD                                                                                              

In America” – Charlie Daniels Band                                                         

Our Country” – John Mellencamp                                                 

Fightin’ Side Of Me” – Merle Haggard                                                               

America The Beautfiul” – Ray Charles                                                         

America” – Waylon Jennings                                    

In The Navy” – Village People                               

Ragged Old Flag” – Johnny Cash                                                          

Star Spangled Banner”-Marvin Gaye (Live version)            

The Ballad Of Ira Hayes” – Johnny Cash                        

The American Dream” – Hank Williams Jr.          

PAUL W. DENNIS                                                                                               

There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” – Elton Britt

Fightin’ Side Of Me” – Merle Haggard                                                            

Okie From Muskogee” – Merle Haggard                                              

Where Have All Our Heroes Gone” – Bill Anderson        

Private Lee” – Willis Brothers                                                                

Riding With Private Malone” – David Ball                                                        

Soldier’s Last Letter” – Ernest Tubb or Merle Haggard                                                                             

America The Beautiful” – Ray Charles                        

God Bless America” – Kate Smith                      

God Bless The U. S. A.” – Lee Greenwood                                        

RANGER DAVE

 “Pledge Of Allegiance” – Red Skelton

“America, Why I Lover Her” – John Wayne

“Ragged Old Flag” – Johnny Cash

“God Bless America” – Kate Smith

“The Ballad Of The Green Berets” – Sgt. Barry Sadler

“The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)” – Tex Ritter

“God Bless The U. S. A.” – Lee Greenwood

“America The Beautiful” – Ray Charles

“Battle Hymn Of The Republic” – Elvis Presley

“Stars And Stripes Forever” – John Phillip Sousa

MIKE REECE

 “God Bless America” – Kate Smith

“Smoke On The Water” – Red Foley

“Fightin’ Side Of Me” – Merle Haggard

“Stars And Stripes Forever” – John Phillip Sousa

 “America The Beautiful” – Ray Charles

 “America” – Waylon Jennings

  “Stars & Stripes On Iwo Jima” – Bob Wills or The Sons Of The Pioneers

“Ballad Of The Green Berets” – Sgt. Barry Sadler

“There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” – Elton Britt

“Battle Of New Orleans” – Johnny Horton

In addition, John and Paul also threw out a couple of extra “bonus” choices, as John also mentioned John Wayne and Sgt. Barry Sadler, along with Alabama’s “Forty Hour Week”. Paul mentioned the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land Is Your Land”, along with the WW1 classic “Over There”, which he says Enrico Caruso sang it best.

Interestingly enough, only one song was a unanimous choice, Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful”, and with good reason. In my opinion, Ray Charles is one of the greatest singers, ever; a multi-talented genius. Paul W. Dennis added Ray (as well as Kate Smith’s “God Bless America”) sang that song, “…with all the feeling that anyone could ever pour into a song.” And speaking of Kate Smith, her “God Bless America” and Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side Of Me” got on three of the lists. If we were actually ranking the songs in some kind of order, Kate and Ray would surely be 1 and 1-A. I think “God Bless America” is simply one of the most beautiful songs about this nation, period.

You no doubt noticed, as well, several selections that maybe aren’t strictly about the country itself, but rather people or things that help make this land great. For instance, the Waylon hit “America”; “Our Country” from John Mellencamp; Bill Anderson’s “Where Have All Our Heroes Gone”; Charlie Daniel’s “In America”; or even Tex Ritter’s interpretation of Gordon Sinclair’s “Americans” (also a top 10 Pop hit for Byron MacGregor, at the time a CKLW newscaster).

Several tracks listed concern the soldiers, many who never returned. “Riding With Private Malone” by David Ball, for instance. In his listing, Paul Dennis says, “…not exactly a patriotic song, but…a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice.” To me, that’s patriotic. In addition, there’s “Private Lee”, “Ballad Of The Green Berets”, “The Ballad Of Ira Hayes”, and the heart-tugging “Soldier’s Last Letter”.

There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere”, “Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima”, and “Smoke On The Water” are World War 2 classics. Perhaps dated, today, they are still outstanding songs that help keep a very important part of our history alive.

When Ranger Dave and I were at WIFE, he manned our midday request show. Especially around July 4th, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day, he would get several requests from his fans (and they were fans, not just listeners) for Red Skelton, John Wayne, and Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag”.

Finally, the lists also touch on the songs that bring joy and celebration; our national anthem, along with “Stars And Stripes Forever” are perfect.

I want to include a couple of notes from Paul Dennis and Ranger Dave.  Paul writes that the songs he listed, “…I’ve always loved, as did my late father CDR Paul L. Dennis, USN (1925-2003).  I think of him often, but especially at holidays.”  In addition, Paul notes that the last surviving United States World War 1 veteran recently passed away, and he asks us to remember him, along with all of the World War 1 Doughboys, specifically with the song, “Over There”, by Enrico Caruso.  I say, “Let’s do it.”

Ranger Dave has a word for the troops and their families.  He says, “WIFE-FM was my biggest following for supporting the troops and their families.  I was honored to represent such heroic men and women.  Without them, American wouldn’t be free.  God bless them and their families!”  I can personally attest to his unabashed support for them, not only during his program, but also in additional efforts, such as almost single-handedly raising enough money to send a group of World War 2 veterans to Washington D. C.

Friends, as we enjoy this day, the parades, the antique car and tractor shows, the festivals, baseball games, and fireworks.  Please, remember why we are free to do these activities and remember those who have fought, protected, and died for freedom.  God bless America!

Share your choices, too.  Simply leave your list in the comments section.  We’d love to know which songs would make your list!

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