As you gear up to celebrate memorial day this weekend, whether you’re planning on hitting the beach, grilling out or spending good times with friends and family, enjoy these eight songs that will make you want to scream, “‘Merica!” and remember those who have sacrificed for you to enjoy the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Lynyrd Skynyrd — Red, White and Blue
A hometown favorite, Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote this song shortly after the 9/11 attacks, during a time when patriotism was needed most and the country was in dire need of a rallying cry. This one might not only make you shout for our country, but also shed a tear or two.
Kanye West and Jay-Z feat. Frank Ocean — “Made In America”
The only hip-hop song featured on this list, comes from two of the genre’s best. “Made In America” is a song about the American dream and everything that it encompasses. From family life to the struggles of youth in our country, West, Jay and Ocean deliver a strong and important message on their album, Watch The Throne. OFWGKTA’s Frank Ocean delivers the best part of this song with his enthralling hook and lyrics.
Bob Dylan — “Blowin’ In The Wind”
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame a decade ago, this Bob Dylan song is unlike some other songs you’ll find on this list, but Dylan’s songwriting truly shines on this track, which poses some serious questions about war, freedom and peace.
Johnny Cash — “Ragged Old Flag”
Though more of a poem or spoken word than a song, Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag” is brimming with more patriotism than George Washington riding on the back of a giant bald eagle drinking a Samuel Adams. The poem encompasses several major events in U.S. history, and how the flag has persevered through it all.
Ray Charles — “America The Beautiful”
This one is the most down-tempo track our list, but that just gives you even more reason to join together with your friends and sing along with one of soul music’s best. Let “The Genius’” rendition of this American classic raise your patriotic spirits in this time-honored single.
Descendents — “‘Merican”
Delivering the most head-bangable song here is none other than the Descendents. “‘Merican” is about both the good and the bad parts of American history, something we can all use a little brushing up on.
Bruce Springsteen — “Born In The USA”
Perhaps the most quintessential Fourth of July song on the list, Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” will probably be played to crowds of flag-waving, red-blooded, pie-eating Americans until we’re all dead and gone.
Jimi Hendrix — “Star Spangled Banner”
Hendrix’s classic version of our national anthem was originally viewed as a sign of disrespect, but luckily, the song has now been called one of rock’s greatest singles of all time. During this historic Woodstock performance, the former soldier used his legendary guitarmanship to replicate our number one song that will make you want to scream, “‘MERICA!”