HOUSTON -- Lee Greenwood surprised fans this week by releasing a new version of his hit song “God Bless the U.S.A.” just in time for the Fourth of July.
The country singer collaborated with the U.S. Air Force band and Home Free for an a cappella version.
Greenwood, 77, released the song in 1984 and hasn’t ever performed it a different way until now.
“After singing ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ for 30 years the same way, it’s like I kind of sat back and relied on listening. You know, what can I sing different here?” Greenwood told American Songwriter.
He added: “And I was encouraged by their tech at the board, who said, ‘Just do a couple passes. And do something like you’ve never done before.’ This is ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ like you’ve never heard it before.”
The country singer continued, “When we were talking about collaborating not just with Home Free but also with the United States Air Force singers, I thought, well this is really a positive for the Fourth of July, being we’re not working.”
“I think the common thread in Nashville is, if Lee Greenwood doesn’t sing ‘God Bless the U.S.A’ on the Fourth of July, take the flag down. So we really wanted to make sure we had a virtual performance. It was just a great opportunity for me,” Greenwood added.
Home Free’s Austin Brown explained that his cover band used to close every show with the song so it was a dream for them to be on Greenwood's remix.
“When we sing this song, everyone in the audience, no matter where we are in this country, everyone stands up. It’s one of those songs that’s gonna be here forever. It’s going to be in the American culture forever,” Brown, 34, said. “And the opportunity to do this with a legend like Lee Greenwood, the original artist, the guy who wrote this song, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Greenwood also praised the Air Force singers. “These singers from the Air Force, they are every bit professional quality. They’re the best I’ve ever heard,” he said.
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