Patriotism is what binds society. In some cases, it can unite citizens in a time of mourning while at the same time, it can send crowds into spontaneous hysteria (see 2010 Winter Olympics). Nonetheless, it drives individuals to succeed, to persist and even harness their creative ability and mold pieces of music into melodic gold.
With every country, there are rock icons. The UK has The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. The fine women of the United States have Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Hell, even Ireland has Bono and U2. What these groups have in common is a sense of patriotism that's pushed them to exceed their limits, expose their talent and craft tracks like "Gimme Shelter" or "Sunday Bloody Sunday". In the eyes of audiences across the world, these particular songs are recognized as anthems: a musical voice making a statement supported by a country. Rock anthems don't drip off a pen and onto a sheet of paper as they're quite rare, especially in today's world full of experimentation.
Listeners though are glad tracks like these did. The following are the Top 10 Patriotic Songs.
10. Bob Seger - "Old Time Rock N' Roll"
A pop culture phenomenon written by a Detroit guitarist, Bob Seger's 1979 hit sums up a brief section of American entertainment. From the memorable Tom Cruise dance in the film Risky Business to the line of Guitar Hero commercials, "Old Time Rock N' Roll" is a groove-laced single powered by bold vocals and reckless behaviour. Unlike it's public use, the song is rather PG, ample enough to have children singing along and senior citizens unleashing the air guitar.
09. Queen - "We Will Rock You"
The Brits adore the game of soccer more than their own children. Extreme yes, but trigger the Queen classic "We Will Rock You" and everything you knew about kind human nature becomes obliterated. Spearheaded by frontman Freddie Mercury's fiery rasp and a mob's war chant, the tune is drenched with comradery with an intent to strike fear. Constant repition and use of alcohol is often encouraged.
08. Beach Boys - "California Girls"
The boys of the summer have numerous unforgettable hits tied to their name, including "Surfin' USA", but none quite attract both genders. The descriptive tale of women across the United States is an odd choice but it represents patriotism as 1) it's not about Canadian or European girls and 2) almost everyone and their mailman knows every lyric. Since it's release, it's made a certain female audience proud to be from California. Just ask Katy Perry.
07. Bruce Springsteen - "Born In The U.S.A."
No one quite represents the red, white and blue like The Boss. "Born To Run" would be definitive choice as it is an anthem in it's own right, but "Born In The U.S.A." has bonded army and navy reserves for generations. Raw and brutally honest, the track fuels patriotism, lighting a fire in souls eager to holler out their love for their country in the true Springsteen way. And in true American fashion, there's a whole lot of cowbell.
06. Tom Petty - "American Girl"
Embraced with country roots, "American Girl" is a ballad linking classic rock, punk and southern twang, grown and aged on American soil. Throw in Tom Petty's lazed rasp and an ear for melody and you get one of the most memorable opening lines of a song: "Well she was an American girl raised on promises".
05. Neil Young - "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World"
Considered more of a global anthem than a stand-alone patriotic hymn, Neil Young's 1989 classic has been covered by a handful of iconic artists such as Bon Jovi and even present-day crooners Maroon 5. Pearl Jam's rendition is more known as the cover as heavily featured during the group's performances in 1992 and 1993, including an on-stage collaboration with Young himself.
04. Jimi Hendrix - "Star Spangled Banner"
Some would spend hours debating this song's position on this list, but it's support for a nation and it's significance is unmatched. Immediately following the guitar maestro's performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, protests erupted, aiming to ban Hendrix from ever playing again in the United States. The crime: representing his country while armed with a Fender guitar.
03. The Guess Who - "American Woman"
It's undeniably ironic for a Canadian rock group to create a tune about a woman born in the US, but it appears as if only Canadians could translate their beauty in disguise in the form of music. Seductive and enticing as the track's bare guitar solo, "American Woman" is a known inspiration for many of today's profound singles revolved around women and their ways. Sure other homeland beauties sparkle eyes, but none like the American one can create such a ruckus, hence vocalist Burton Cummings' venemous proclamation.
02. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Alabama"
It survives in county fairs, country music festivals and even karaoke nights at the local watering hole all because it contains the power to unite in an extremely positive way. The Lynyrd Skynyrd favourite may not be a first choice while enduring a road trip, but it's bound to work it's way through a playlist, invoking a chorus that's simple, but almost more patriotic than a bald-headed eagle draped in the U.S. flag.
01. John Mellencamp - "Small Town"
Before cities were erected, there were towns and a vast majority of North Americans were born in a small town. This is why John Mellencamp's homage to living in an enclosed community stands above the rest in the minds of many. Along with touching the aspects of a rural paradise, the Seymour, Indiana, musician pays his respect to heritage: defining a family's past and showcasing a country's line of generations upon generations.