Since today is the Fourth Of July, the Independence Day of these United States, I wanted to have a little fun and share some of the songs that bring some American spirit to the song. Now these aren’t necessarily patriotic numbers of course but have our branding in them somewhere and I hope that you enjoy this little summary. Please know that clicking the album artwork will launch the song on Spotify or on YouTube if I couldn’t find a link there. You’re going to need a Spotify account to enjoy this best and by now you should have one anyway. Here we go.
“We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad: Recorded in 1973, this perennial by the great Grand Funk Railroad has long been a favorite of Rockers everywhere. Everything about this song is great from its rousing lyrical base to the overall melody and not only does it start with some solid drumming, but its sung by the bands drummer Don Brewer. It’s been covered a number of times but some varied artists over the years but the original remains the very best. I’ll be featuring a few of the covers as well for the sake of comparison but a little later on in the narrative.
“(You Can Still) Rock In America” by Night Ranger: Fast forwarding ten years in Rock Music history comes my very first go at the band Night Ranger thanks to this single from their “Midnight Madness” album. My friend had MTV (as we didn’t in NYC at the time) and when I saw this track I was an immediate fan and recall going out to buy the LP and the bands first album “Dawn Patrol” as well. At least I think that is how it happened but we are talking so many years ago but I digress. This tune is amazing from beginning to end as well with stellar guitar work and drumming and a lyrical base that finds you singing along right after your first listen. It’s still one of my favorites in the bands catalog and finds me screaming at the top of my lungs when I see them do it in concert.
“Rockin’ In The U.S.A.” by KISS: I don’t think that I need to line out my overall appreciation of the band KISS to my more tenured readers but if that is news to you for some reason, yeah its true – We Love KISS! This inclusion was one of the bonus tracks on the bands 1977 live album “Alive II”. The song is sung by bassist Gene Simmons and it finds him counting down the minutes to his return to our shores while pointing out some of the highlights of his worldwide travels. A really fun song at the end of the day and I still like it but again, kind of into them for a long time.
“We’re An American Band” by Americade: Back to 1983 for this flashback to a time long gone is the cover of the Grand Funk song by the band Americade. Speaking frankly, this is probably the most smoking of covers of this song that I had ever heard and while the band was not one that I ever managed to see in concert, I still have my copy of the LP that I think that I purchased in Bondy’s down where J&R Music World used to be. Bondy’s is gone for more than a few years but was a place where I plunked down piles of my meager earnings as a youth. Americade was clearly a unique NYC band with the stars and stripes and patriotic premise but I don’t think that it caught on enough for them to find success which is why this is their only album of historical record. That said, this is still a super smoking version that I love to this day. I hope you like it too.
“American Metal” by Lizzy Borden: Taken from the bands debut album “Love You To Pieces”, “American Metal” is one of the tracks on the solid first effort by Lizzy Borden. While I don’t take this as a patriotic song at all, the overall premise and vibe of it how we need “American Metal” flowing through our veins is something that I like in the lyrical base. The song kicks behind and its one that the band still plays in concert when they do that sort of stuff. My hope is that they decide to do some touring soon since its been awhile since I’ve caught them in concert but I digress and its onto the next single.
“We’re An American Band” by Poison: In 2007 the guys in Poison decided to deliver a covers album and around that time we were seeing EVERYONE doing one and it was getting a little bit ridiculous. Entitled “Poison’d!” (meaning that they were giving a branded spin on these tracks), they pretty much keep it true to the original version. The playing is solid and while the Grand Funk one had their drummer singing, in the Poison version its Bret Michaels as opposed to Rikki getting a chance to show off his vocals. Listening to it today found me liking it a little more than I did back in 2007 when I reviewed the album. Speaking frankly, I might have been overrun with the covers album premise that was happening at the time.
“We’re An American Band” by Rob Zombie: Zombie’s 2013 effort “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” found him doing the same classic cover and while I like some of what he does on record, I am more of a fan of Zombie in concert since its so over the top. That applies specifically to this track where he was pulling out all the American visuals when he was delivering it. On record it just loses something for me, but this is the most modern take on the tune that I know of and needed to be added to this summary.
Closing up I just want to wish our American audience of readers a very fun but safe day. Don’t blast too many fireworks if that is your thing and please don’t bring your pets outside in the heat or bombastic displays since they might run off on you and no one wants that. Leave them in an air-conditioned apartment listening to some Van Halen or something else they might like. Did I leave any important singles out? Let me know if I did and maybe I will slide them back into the mix for good measure. I did leave out songs like Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and Don McClean’s “American Pie” since they were nont really Hard Rock or Metal tracks. See you next time.