The 10 Best Patriotic Rock Songs

The 10 Best Patriotic Rock Songs and Videos

As you stare into the sky this 4th of July, it is a time to reflect and celebrate our freedom. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Our freedom does not come lightly. We celebrate our freedom by honoring the soldiers who gave life, limb, blood, sweat and tears to keep this country free. A lot of the records on this list are to show gratitude to our troops. Thank you to the hard rock and heavy metal artists for honoring our soldiers. After you listen to these songs and watch the videos, go out and thank a veteran, National Guard, reserve, or active duty soldier for their service.

10. “Rockin’ in the U.S.A.” KISS

Kiss Alive II

Kiss Alive II

KISS is the essential hard rock band from Detroit, Michigan. “Rockin’ in the U.S.A”. is off the album Alive II released in 1977. While this song is not a direct tribute to our troops, it conveys a message about traveling the world and returning to the best place in the world, the United States of America.

Rockin’ in the U.S.A. by KISS


9. “Warrior” Kid Rock

Recorded in 2008 as part of a National Guard advertising campaign. This song pays homage to our National Guard soldiers. Kid Rock is one of rock music’s avid philanthropists and does work with Operation Finally Home that builds homes for returning disabled veterans.


8. “Soldiers” Drowning Pool


Drowning Pool

Drowning Pool is an American heavy metal band and their song “Bodies” is popular with soldiers. Their name comes from a movie by the same name. They are ardent supporters of our soldiers and perform through the Wounded Warrior Project.

Soldiers by Drowning Pool



7. “Citizen Soldier” 3 Doors Down

Citizen Soldier

3 Doors Down


This song supports our National Guard and Reserves. It was used in a recruitment campaign when it was released in 2007. It is on their self titled album. 3 Doors Down is from Escatawpa, Mississippi and consists of Brad Arnold, Todd Harrell, and Matt Roberts.

Citizen Soldier by 3 Doors Down


6. “Soldier Side” System of a Down

Soldier Side

System of a Down


The song has a haunting melody that makes you think about the soldier who is struggling with the aftermath of war. “Soldier Side” is on the Hypnotize album of the double album Mezmerize/Hypnotize from 2005.

Soldier Side by System of a Down


5. “No One Gets Left Behind” Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP)

No One Gets Left Behind



This track is on the album War is the Answer released in 2009. Five Finger Death Punch is from Los Angeles, California and the band members are vocalist Ivan Moody, guitarist Zoltan Bathory, guitarist Caleb Andrew Bingham, bassist Matt Snell, and drummer Jeremy Spencer. 5FDP has always been an avid supporter of our troops.

No One Gets Left Behind by 5FDP


4. “MIA” Avenged Sevenfold


Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) is an American rock band from Huntington Beach, California. The lyrics discuss the reality of war and killing. “Strangers blood on my hands, shot all I can! There were no silents night watching your brothers all die”.  This song is found on the album City of Evil.

M.I.A. by Avenged Sevenfold


3. “Don’t Tread on Me” Metallica

The Black Album



Don’t Tread on Me is a phrase on the Gadsen flag which is a historical American flag with a yellow field with a coiled snake ready to strike. The Gadsen flag is a contemporary symbol for the Tea Party or any supporter of the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. Metallica released this song on their self-titled album aka The Black Album in 1991.

Don’t Tread on Me by Metallica


2. “Far From Home” Five Finger Death Punch

The video for this song is a moving tribute and testament of the sacrifice that soldiers make. This track is from 5FDP’s second album War is the Answer. I could listen to Ivan Moody’s exquisite voice over and over.

1. “Star Spangled Banner” Metallica

Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. The members are James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo.  Metallica played the national anthem in May 2013 at a San Francisco Giants game. Needless to say, it was excellent. The combination of baseball, Metallica and rock music is why it tops my list.

What are the songs you think should have made the list or do you agree with my choices?

Photos: itunes,,
Videos: YouTube

The Most Influential Rock Albums of the 70s

Most Influential Rock Albums of The 70s

It is impossible to create or substantiate any definitive list of “the best” or “greatest” rock albums because any list will be entirely subjective. With that in mind, however, everyone I talk to that really have a passion about music does have their favorite artists, genres, or periods that they feel define the “best” for themselves. Their selections, and mine, have very personal meaning and signify that aspect about art and rock in particular that seems to touch and enhance our lives. Following is my list of the most influential rock albums of the 70’s and why I believe they belong on this list.  The list is in no particular order though the first albums to come to mind are at the top of the list.

Led Zeppelin IV (1971)



The untitled fourth release of this English band is an album that is considered by many to be the masterpiece of probably the best rock group of all time. It contains a number of hits including “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog”, and “Rock and Roll”. These multi-talented groups explored a wide variety of music and were influenced by early American blues artists, the use of classical and world instruments and the literature of J.R.R. Tolkien. Led Zeppelin paved the way for the emergence of heavy-metal as a genre and is consistently referenced by many rock artists as having a huge influence on their musical development.

Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Dark Side of the Moon

Dark Side of the Moon

This album is arguably the masterpiece of one of the most talented and experimental groups to achieve worldwide success. While Pink Floyd is known for a number of theme-related works later, including Wish You Were Here and The Wall, this album demonstrated that the approach of producing a conceptual album can be both artistic and commercially viable and it has sold over 22 million copies since 1973. The blend of music with sound effects and exceptional vocals give it a unique sound. Pink Floyd’s acclaim has influenced a number of artists by allowing the influences of classical music, jazz, and the psychedelic movement to be used in the progressive rock era.

Black Sabbath Paranoid (1970)



This is the second album from the English band. In many ways it was the band’s defining album and a representation of the emergence of Heavy Metal with its dark themes, heavy guitar and bass riffs, and driving drums. This album is one of the best- selling of Black Sabbath’s albums and contains a number of fan standards including “Iron Man”, “War Pigs”, and “Paranoid”. It established a huge following in the United States and sold over 4 million copies with no airplay exposure in an era when radio play was vital to a band’s acceptance and success.


Rush 2112 (1976)



This has often been described as the definitive Rush album and was the production of a band that was struggling with balancing their desires to maintain their artistic integrity while also being pressured by the management of their record company to “write hits”. Rush went all in on artistic integrity, knowing that they may fail. The end result was highlighted by a 7 part suite “2112” that was panned by critics and hailed by fans. Many major artists remain fans of their music and indebted to their insistence on performing their art as opposed to selling out for the commercial interests. After hearing this album I became a life-long Rush fan and they paved the way for other groups to focus on their vision rather than succumb to writing “pop songs”.

The Who Who’s Next (1971)

Whos Next

Who’s Next

Following Tommy, this album shifted gears toward straight-forward rock with an amazing blend of guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and the use of synthesizers. Consistently mentioned as one of the best albums of the decade and top albums of  history, the songs “Baba O’Riley”  and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” use a unique blend of synthesizers and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” has arguably the best and one of the longest screams in the history of rock. Who’s Next is simply a superb example of one of the best rock albums of all time and all the songs on the album stand the test of time. A true masterpiece for one of the greatest rock bands to ever exist.

The Clash London Calling (1979)

London Calling

London Calling

This album makes a number of “top lists” including the 100 greatest rock albums of all time.  The Clash combined raw and gritty social and political issues with a progressive, world-music influenced sound. Following their debut in 1977, this third album continued their use of ska, dub, reggae, and laid the ground work for a later rockabilly movement. This album has been included in top lists of the 80’s because it was released in December in England and a month later in the US. The Clash have allowed their musical interests and political views to influence their music and connect with their fans.


The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

Never Mind The Bullocks

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

The Sex Pistols have been regarded as the group responsible for creating the punk movement in the United Kingdom that later spread to the United States. This counter-culture movement spawned a number of trends that continue today including fashion, tattoo culture, piercings, and distrust of government and political systems. Unfortunately, this was a short lived group who was together for only a couple of years until the death of their lead singer, Sid Vicious, of a heroin overdose in 1979. The album contains a number of hard-driving hits and is the origin of an entirely new cultural movement.



AC/DC Highway to Hell (1979)

Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell

AC/DC’s last album before the death of their original lead singer, Bon Scott, proved to be one of their best. AC/DC had already established themselves as a major player in the rock scene, and this album was their most successful to date. It was their best at direct and honest rock including a number of songs that are performed live with the band today. After the death of Scott, to an alcohol overdose, there was much concern and discussion about whether the band would be able to continue and how it would change with the loss of their lead singer. However, their return with a new singer, Brian Johnson, and new album, Back in Black, in 1980 was phenomenal and that album is the sixth highest grossing album of all time. It was truly a wonderful experience to see AC/DC live with Bon Scott before he died and to also see them during the Back in Black tour with Brian Johnson. The band was able to maintain their artistic integrity and exceptional live performances after the tragic event.

Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced lĕh-’nérd ‘skin-’nérd) (1973)

(Pronounced lĕh-’nérd ‘skin-’nérd)

Their debut album, released in 1973, quickly established the band as the poster child of the hard-southern rock genre. This album contains such classic songs as “Free Bird”, “Tuesday’s Gone”, “Simple Man”, and “Gimme Three Steps” and their live performances were well-remembered for their use of three guitars in driving their signature sound. Skynyrd continued to have much success until they too were visited by tragedy at the loss of most of the band members in a plane crash in 1977 that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, new guitarist Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and the pilot and co-pilot. Their music has endured and is one of the best examples of hard-southern rock.


Bruce Springsteen Born To Run (1975)

Born to Run

Born to Run

Springsteen’s third album, Born To Run, has been acclaimed in many publications including consistently making the “best-lists” of Rolling Stone Magazine. While only spanning about 40 minutes, this album has produced such long-standing hits as the title track, “Thunder Road”, “Jungleland”, and “Tenth Avenue Freezeout”. It also solidified Springsteen’s lyrical approach of lauding coming of age and blue collar life in New Jersey. Springsteen remains one of the best live performers in the history of rock and anyone who attends one of his shows leaves being a life-long fan.



I realize that many will disagree with my list and there are arguably a huge number of other albums that could have been included. I apologize for the exclusions, but not all of the great artists of that time could be included in a short “top ten” list. The 70’s was a very exciting, and innovative period for rock and there are a number of artists that excelled in that era and have had their music endure for over 40 years.  If you like what you read or disagree with me, feel free to leave me a comment.

Resources: Wikipedia, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) website.

Best 5 Bonnaroo Sets 2013

Best 5 Bonnaroo Sets 2013

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney


Bonnaroo has one of the most diverse lineups of any of the major festivals. The beauty of this festival comes from the eclectic crowds; metal heads two-stepping to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Hippies taking in a midnight hip-hop Superjam and Swans being heard by everyone at the festival because of how loud their tent (or more accurately This Tent) was. That culture of beauty and acceptance, and the embrace of diversity is what makes Bonnaroo great, and there were five shows in 2013 which perfectly describe the experience.

5. David Byrne & St. Vincent

While officially touring their collaboration album Love This Giant, a brassy artistic deviance from both artists familiar sound but with familiar lyrical concepts this set was definitely made for a Bonnaroo crowd. Being split equally between both artists other endeavors including a sing along of Naïve Melody and a thoroughly rocking rendition of Cheerleader this set drew in the old with the new. Add into that Byrne’s bizarre choreography, including but not limited to karate fights between Byrne and Annie Clark’s guitar and a Madonna-esc “Vogue” move and you have a delightfully weird Bonnaroo set.

4. Soul Superjam with Jim James

Jim James and Bonnaroo go together like America and Apple pie. The My Morning Jacket front man has had a standing report with the festival’s audiences for many years, so when he teamed up with John Oates to play a midnight collaboration set no one expected less than greatness. Having Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone and a Sly heavy set did not hurt either. If this super-group reminded us of anything it was that we were all there to have some Hot Fun in the Summertime. While playing through some fantastic soul staples the party got even better when R. Kelly popped over from his show to sing the crowd a little Sam Cooke, only to be followed by Billy Idol unexpectedly bringing in the T. Rex classic “Bang a Gong”. Superjams are what this festival was built on and every year they remind us of just how much great music comes together for this magical weekend.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Playing to the Sunday afternoon crowd at the What Stage, many came in to the set expecting the Thrift Shop start to put on a trendy fresh hip hop set. Many did not expect, however, for him to finish up his chart topping single only to immediately go into an in-depth explanation of what he believes is the greatest civil rights battle of our time, and when he called for a finger to the sky from everybody who believed in the equality of love, the show of support throughout the entire sea of fans at the main stage could not help but bring tears to many eyes and cheers from many mouths. The embrace of love, peace and equality is what brings together everyone at Bonnaroo and this moment within this set perfectly illustrates how crucial that is to the festival.

2. Animal Collective

Common sense tells us that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Bonnaroo consistently reminds us that common sense is to be left at home and Animal Collectives raucous late night party proved to be one of the best shows of 2013. The introduction was performed by the famous human sound technician Michael Winslow which only provided a good foundation of weird for the bands electronic psychedelic vibe to build off of.  Touching on all areas of their repertoire and ending with a lengthy and perfectly awesome version of “Brother Sport” leading into “The Purple Bottle”, Animal Collective provided the perfect escape for those of us who could quite down from…


1. Sir Paul McCartney

If there was any set that could define the spirit of 2013’s Bonnaroo it was the former Beatle Macca himself. After Friday night when you were talking with your neighbors on the campsite or strangers in Centeroo the common question was “what was your favorite set so far, besides Paul McCartney?” and rightfully so. Sure he’s been touring for so many years that it would be hard not to have it perfected but between beloved Beatles tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, fantastic Wings songs that were well received by the crowd, and wonderful little asides like Sir Paul recalling one time Jimi Hendrix covered Sgt. Peppers with Eric Clapton in the crowd, McCartney knows how to draw in and hold an audience. The most beautiful Bonnaroo moment of the whole year however had to be when 80 thousand concert goers all got to sing the “nana na nas” in “Hey Jude” together with the man himself.