17 Great Rock Songs About America

Written by on December 25, 2017

Every couple months, my KPSU radio show Six Degrees of Rockination has a theme. On July 4th, 2015, the theme was America. What songs did I play?

 


 

The Presidents of the United States of America – “Kick Out the Jams”

Okay, I guess the song’s not about America, it’s about rockin’ out. But the band’s name? Yep, that’s American, so it makes the show.

Team America – “America, Fuck Yeah!”

This hilariously obscene song is from the movie Team America: World Police. You have no idea how long it took me to edit out all the curse words so I could play it on air. It was worth it.

Andrew Jackson Jihad – “American Tune”

There are a lot of straight white men who like to play the victim card, but not me, and not this band.

Francis Dunnery – “American Life in the Summertime”

This song makes my all-time Top 10. Such a great mix of pop and rock and commentary on the music industry.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – “Coming to America”

Yeah, sure, I could have played the original by Neil Diamond, but the Gimme Gimmes are much more my style. If you like this song, check out their entire collection of goofy cover songs. They’re wonderful.

Jeremy Fisher – “American Girls”

I’m not a Bob Dylan fan, but this song is extremely “Dylan-esque” and I love it.  Fun fact: this song also made my “Harmonica” theme show, which you can listen to here.

X – “4th of July”

X was one of the most important bands of the late-70s punk scene in Los Angeles, but as you can tell, not all their songs were pure punk. This one almost verges on pop.

Frank Turner – “American Girl”

I try to avoid songs that get a lot of play on corporate radio, and Tom Petty’s original version of this song definitely qualifies. It’s still a great song, though, so I searched out this wonderful live cover by one of my favorite musicians, Frank Turner.

Green Day – “Last of the American Girls”

This song’s from 2009, and it amazes me how Green Day continues to put out great new music even though they’re all now middle aged. I hope they can keep it up.

David Wilcox – “Rusty Old American Dream”

This song is practically a novel, telling the story of a car, from birth to retirement. Though the car doesn’t really want to be retired, does it?

David Lee Roth – “Yankee Rose”

Probably the best song of Diamond Dave’s solo career, this features some outstanding guitar work by Steve Vai.

Sugarcult – “Stuck in America”

I think this song could have been a huge radio hit, but it had the bad luck of coming out the same week as the terrorist attacks of 9/11. At that time, radio stations were understandably hesitant to play any songs with even the tiniest bit of anti-American sentiment.

Descendents – “’Merican”

You can’t call this “the tiniest bit of anti-American sentiment.” These guys are spitting hot fire about the US of A. But the freedom to complain about your country is one of the things that makes America great, right?

Simon and Garfunkel – “America”

Another song that is practically a novel, this tells the story of a young man wandering America, trying to find his nation and himself. Just magical.

Night Ranger – “You Can Still Rock in America”

I would put the guitar solos in this song up against anything. Metallica? Megadeth? Yngwie Malmsteen? This song can keep up with any of them.

Bad Religion – “American Jesus”

These guys aren’t quite as angry as the Descendents, but they’ve still got some complaints. God bless the First Amendment.

The Pogues – “Body of an American”

And we finish with an Irish band, singing about boxing, getting drunk, and “a free born man of the U.S.A.”

 


 

And there you go. Quite a list, eh? Want to hear the entire radio show? Here’s the link. A solid hour of fantastic rock ‘n’ roll about America.

 

 

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