Veteran country singer Lee Greenwood is set to headline North Charleston’s July 4th Festival at Riverfront Park on Wednesday evening.
Greenwood enjoyed a major career boost over the recent years with the revitalized hit “God Bless The USA” — a patriotic anthem he’s been belting out since its original release in the early ’80s and its first big bounce from the first Gulf War in 1991-’92. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to hear a genuinely “modern American” set of patriotic ditties from Greenwood on Independence Day? Here’s the official City Paper wish list for the big show:
• “America The Beautiful” by Ray Charles; a rendition of the soulful version offered by one of the best.
• “Star Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix: originally played with total commitment from a former Army Ranger at Woodstock … maybe Greenwood could scat it.
• “Revolution” by The Beatles: well, you know … that’s how this whole Fourth of July thing started.
• “War” by Edwin Star: how great would it be to hear Greenwood holler, “I said war! Huh. Good God, y’all. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Say it again.”
• “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago: you’d think it was the fourth of July.
• “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie: from California to the New York islands … folk revivalists of the ’60s kept this classic Guthrie tune (written originally as a parody of “God Bless America”) in our hearts and minds.
• “I Felt Like a Gringo” by Minutemen: an obscure one, but a funky standout by one of California best rock bands ever; D. Boon and Mike Watt wonder why they spent the Fourth in someone else’s country.
• “Living in America” by James Brown: station to station, ow! The scene of the Godfather of Soul performing this during Rocky IV inspired millions.
• “An American Trilogy” by Elvis Presley: the king’s majestic blend of “Dixie,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and the spiritual “All My Trials” done up in Vegas glitter. Glory, hallelujah!
• “4th of July” by X: hey baby, it’s the Fourth of July — so say Exene Cervenka and John Doe.
• “Pink Houses” by John Cougar Mellencamp: ain’t that America? It’s something to see baby … home of the free, little pink houses for you and me.
—T. Ballard Lesemann
The July 4th Festival at Riverfront Park (1001 Everglades Dr.) in North Charleston starts at 3 p.m. Lee Greenwood hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. All activities are free. Visit www.leegreenwood.com and www.northcharleston.org for more.