Lee Greenwood on "God Bless the USA": "I've Sung It at Least 5,000 Times"
Whenever something bad happens in the U.S., the song seems to swoop in to speak for people, stoking patriotic fires. It's almost shorthand for American perseverance.
"When crisis comes, it seems to fit every situation: war, hurricanes, tornadoes, space-shuttle disasters and, yes, the terrorist attack on American soil," says its author. "'USA' is a song of pride, hope, spirit, unity and healing."
Oddly enough, Greenwood says that the only person who ever asked his permission to parody the song was his friend, Christian comic Mark Lowery. Not even "Weird Al" Yankovic has asked.
"I loved Beyoncé singing 'God Bless the USA,'" he says. "I would have sung it with her if she had asked," he says, referring to Mrs. Carter's 2010 rendition.
Greenwood's constant touring schedule and personal-appearance calendar means that he has sung "God Bless the USA" so many times it's probably more of a muscular reflex than a song.
"I toured about 250 days a year the first ten years on the road and now about 100 days a year," he reckons. "I sang it every night and sometimes twice a day. I'm guessing I've sung it at least 5,000 times."