First we have some classic America-themed Schoolhouse Rock from the 70s. I can not imagine that such overt displays of patriotism and education would be allowed these days. Sad.
Next we have The Beach Boys, the quintessential American band. Well, they weren’t always that way. In the early 1980s they staged a large annual outdoor 4th of July concert at the National Mall in Washington D.C. (drawing crowds in the hundreds of thousands). That is, until Secretary of the Interior James Watt tried to put a stop to it. Prior to the 1983 concert Watt informed The Beach Boys that they were not welcome, saying that rock bands encourage drug use and alcoholism. He also characterized the fans of the group were “the wrong element.” Watt replaced them with Republican backer Wayne Newton. Thankfully George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan both liked the group and stepped in on their behalf (or perhaps it was just the massive political fallout that followed the ridiculous decision). The Beach Boys were allowed to play.
And now, another American master. Louis Armstrong with a rollicking number that fits in well on this holiday weekend. From 1928, “Fireworks.”
And finally here is Yes with a brilliant cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.” The song is given the Prog Rock treatment (re: long), but they manage to do so in a manner that keeps the song listenable. I mean, were you expecting to hear “America” with a funk-blues instrumental section? Me neither. Listen to it. I don’t ask for much.