10 Independence Day Songs You Absolutely Have to Play at Your July 4 BBQ

It’s Independence Day again. For many people, all it means is fireworks, barbecues, baseball, beer, and a day off work. For many others, it means so much more.

Whether you’re spending it in the backyard by the pool or inside watching The Patriot or the History Channel (if it even shows any actual history-related programming anymore), you’re going to need some good music playing in the back. Or even at night while watching the fireworks, I never understood why organizers don’t blast some all-American tunes while spectators watch the show.

Either way, below is the list of my “Top 10 Independence Day Songs” playlist that I crank up ever year while the fireworks are on display. I’m not talking about the same ol’ “Stars and Stripes Forever” or “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” we’ve been hearing those since first grade. I’m talking about the new generation hits that are essential to any Independence Day celebration:

Share on Facebook

1. “They’re Coming to America”by Neil Diamond

A classic. It reminds us what an amazing land of opportunity this country truly is and how so many people from so many generations all over the world are willing to risk everything to come here and start a new life. It also reminds us how so many of America’s hard working contributors are immigrants who came here to bust their ass just to live the American dream. My own father is one of these people, so it strikes very close to home for me.

2. “Born Free”by Kid Rock

Speaking of my father, this song reminds me of how lucky I am to be born an American. Although my father is very proud of his heritage and his people’s history, he left Greece to be educated here, embark on his medical career as a doctor here (where he could practice free market medicine, not European socialized medicine back home), and raise his family here. And only when one knows this country’s history and all the blood and treasure that were sacrificed during such a profound revolution can one develop such an appreciation to be born here. It’s no wonder Gov. Mitt Romney chose this to be his 2012 campaign theme song.

3. “This is Our Country” by John Mellencamp

This song reminds us of all the diverse and beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. It’s amazing how many different historical monuments, cultures, and natural wonders that are scattered throughout this enormous land. I’ll never forget a theater class I took in college where we learned how to mimic so many different regional dialects (accents) that exist in this country. Short of travel, that alone was telling enough of how many diverse people make up this nation.

4. “Living in America” by James Brown

Come on, how can you not listen to this on the 4th? Yes, I’m sure most of us think of James Brown’s performance and Apollo Creed’s entrance from Rocky IV when we here this (I do too) but it’s still a must have on Independence Day. I dare you to listen to it and not want to dance with it!

5. “I Am a Real American – Hulk Hogan’s Theme” by Rick Derringer

Seriously? Yeah, I’m serious. OK, I know it’s a little corny, but just listen to it while you’re watching the fireworks live. Really. Do it. There’s something about listening to this one in front of the “ba-boom, ba-boom” that makes it feel all the more awesome. It still makes me want to rip my shirt open and pose along.

6. “God Bless America” by Céline Dion

Huh? Céline Dion??? But she’s Canadian! Yes, I’m aware. Yet she does the best version of “God Bless America” I’ve ever heard. There are others that deserve honorable mention, like Whitney Houston and Martina McBride, but none beat Dion’s rendition if you ask me. Simply beautiful.

7. “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles

Again, there have been several artists who have done this one as well, but nothing comes close to Ray Charles’ rendition. This is a perfect last call song, where you can sit on a swing bench with a loved one or just suck back on a couple cold ones on the roof top with your buddies.

8. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood

Another classic. I’ve been listening to this one since I was a child. It makes you take stock of all the men and women who have served in our armed forces to protect our rights and freedoms as well as provide our security. Not just combat ops, I also think of all the humanitarian aid and peacekeeping missions we’ve contributed to the world when I hear this one. Regardless of what critics say, America has a big heart and charitable generosity with wealth like no other country.

9. “Courtesy Of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” by Toby Keith

I knew I better throw a country song on this last for all the country music fans out there and what better choice than this one? While Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” may remind all Americans what makes this country so great, Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” reminds everyone else what this country can and will do. It tells all hostile powers of the world that we won’t be intimidated, we won’t be broken, and we won’t be quiet. This song definitely flexes America’s muscles, which leads us to our last song…

10. “America, F*ck Yeah! – Team America: World Police Theme” by Trey Parker & Matt Stone

Hey, it’s always good to laugh at ourselves a little! The infamous theme song from Team America: World Police always provides a fun and goofy way to end the night. You gotta admit, there are some pretty funny jabs in there that can even make the most serious of us crack a smile, but you may want to wait till the kids are in bed before you play this one!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

John Giokaris

John Giokaris has been contributing to PolicyMic since February 2011. Born and raised in Chicago, John graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in Journalism and Political Science and is currently earning his J.D. at The John Marshall Law School. John believes in free market principles, private sector solutions, transparency, school choice, constitutionally limited government, and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. His goals are to empower/create opportunity for citizens to use the tools at their disposal to succeed in America, which does more to grow the middle class and alleviate those in poverty than keeping a permanent underclass dependent on government sustenance indefinitely. Sitting on the Board of Directors for both the center-right Chicago Young Republicans and libertarian America's Future Foundation-Chicago, he is also a member of the free market think tank Illinois Policy Institute's Leadership Coalition team along with other leaders of the Illinois business, political, and media communities. John has seven years experience working in writing/publishing, having previously worked at Law Bulletin Publishing, the Tribune Company, and Reboot Illinois. His works have been published in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Crain's Chicago Business, Reboot Illinois, Townhall, the Law Bulletin, and the RedEye. He's also made appearances on CBS News, PBS, and Al Jazeera America.

MORE FROM

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.