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Top Twelve Most Patriotic Songs Ever | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Top Twelve Most Patriotic Songs Ever

I've always thought that the best things about America can usually be found embodied in our national music. In fact, as Peter Drier and Richard Flacks observed in a 2002 Nation article, "Most Americans are unaware that much of our patriotic culture--including many of the leading icons and symbols of American identity--was created by artists and writers of decidedly left-wing and even socialist sympathies."

That includes, most decidedly, our music. "A look at the songs sung at post-9/11 patriotic tribute events and that appear on the various patriotic compilation albums, or the clips incorporated into film shorts celebrating the 'American spirit,' reveals that the preponderance of these originated in the forgotten tradition of left-wing patriotism."

So, in honor of July 4th, here's my top twelve list of America's most patriotic songs (in random order), with accompanying videos. It's a highly subjective list which could go on and on, so please use the comments field below to cite your own favorites and we can have a happy argument about it.

Power and Glory, Phil Ochs

 

We Can't Make It Here Anymore, James McMurtry

Come All Ye Coal Miners, Sarah Ogan Gunning 

 

This Land is Your Land, Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen (Obama Inauguration Version)

 

We Almost Lost Detroit, Gil Scott-Heron

 

The House I Live In, Paul Robeson

 

Cortez the Killer, Dave Matthews Band with Warren Haynes covering Neil Young

 

Volunteers, Jefferson Airplane

 

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, Christy Moore covering Bob Dylan

 

500 Miles, Rosanne Cash

 

A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

 

Lawyers, Guns and Money, Warren Zevon

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