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Top 10 Most Patriotic Songs Ever: Nation Readers Speak | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

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

Top 10 Most Patriotic Songs Ever: Nation Readers Speak

While July 4th memories are still fresh, I want to thank all of you who sent comments and suggestions to my list of the top 12 patriotic songs ever. Needless to say, such a list is impossible to get right, as many were quick to remind me.

I was rightly chided by more than one reader for neglecting Bob Dylan, denounced as a bigot for ignoring hip-hop and called an unprintable name, perhaps with due cause, for including a Dave Matthews cover of Neil Young. I also received a stream of Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith links "so I can hear what music real Americans listen to."

Best of all were the great suggestions, my favorites of which I'm posting here. Dylan's Chimes of Freedom was cited by numerous readers but, sadly, Sony has had most all of Dylan's songs and live performances, including all versions of this haunting ballad, removed from video sharing sites. Happily, you can still hear the song and read the bard's cutting lyrics online.

Bob Dylan, Chimes of Freedom (audio + lyrics

Neil Young was also thought to be neglected in my first go-around so here's a chilling version of Ohio, suggested by Tim Karr, sung live less than six months after the killing of four student antiwar protesters at Kent St.

Neil Young, Ohio (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, 1971)

 

MarciaFS offered a slew of good suggestions, including these three classics by Leonard Cohen, The Weavers and Simon & Garfunkel.

Leonard Cohen, Democracy

Peter, Paul & Mary, Wasn't That a Time (Weavers cover)

 

Simon & Garfunkel, America

 

John from Cleveland emailed asking for some love for the Godfather.

James Brown, Living in America

 

Numerous readers pointed out John Mellencamp's iconic contributions to America's populist narrative so I picked two of his classics that, to me, best distill his most patriotic qualities.

John Mellencamp, Pink Houses

 

John Mellencamp, Small Town

 

Though the band hails from Britain, Susan from San Francisco convinced me that Blur deserved inclusion.

Blur, Magic America

Finally, I just wanted to include this great Marvin Gaye cover which i've always loved despite my great ambivalence, if not outright hostility, to the National Anthem.

Marvin Gaye, Star Spangled Banner (1983 NBA All-Star Game)

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