Dan England
dengland@greeleytribune.com

Back to: News
December 7, 2013
Follow News

Lee Greenwood to perform in Johnstown

Lee Greenwood wrote a patriotic song once at the beginning of his career. But it’s not the one you know.

Greenwood used to close the show he performed in Nevada, where he began his career working in casinos and other small venues rather than run track in college or play professional baseball, with the song.

He called it “America,” and it was an anti-government song. Greenwood worried about the soldiers dying in Vietnam, and he wanted the war to end.

Greenwood could play every instrument in the marching band, and he played in the symphony orchestra, in between playing baseball and running track.

He wrote the patriotic song because he loved the Sousa marches, and he wanted to capture the feeling he got when he played them in the marching band.

In 1983, in the back of his tour bus, he decided to take another crack at capturing those warm, patriotic feelings. This time, however, things had changed, both with him and the country.

America was at a time of peace, despite the proliferation of nuclear war movies and the cold war, and Greenwood had had a lot of success.

He was the reigning male vocalist of the year named by both major country music organizations and he had many No. 1 hits. He was more positive about America.

So he began writing.

“I’d wanted to write that song since I was in Nevada,” Greenwood said in an interview. “But I didn’t have a platform for it.”

Greenwood will perform the results, “God Bless The U.S.A.,” along with a number of his other hits, and traditional holiday hits, at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse for three nights, starting Monday.

Greenwood was pleased with the results, a No. 1 hit, but he’d had a string of them, and he didn’t think it would be different than his others.

It did well for a while, even enjoying some pop crossover, and then it faded.

His music began to fade, too, something that happens to most artists.

“You know, country music moves on, and all these artists come in, and your music drops down,” Greenwood said. “Only, for that song, it just never really did.”

The song became his “Hotel California” or his “Sweet Home Alabama,” something that’s stayed with him even as his other hits aren’t remembered nearly as much.

The song’s the reason he still performs at NASCAR events, baseball and football games and political rallies. He even sang the song at Paul Ryan’s rally when he appeared in Greeley as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

“I can tour as much as I want, but economically, it does make a difference,” Greenwood said. “It’s kept my career in the forefront.”

Greenwood, however, called himself a “proud country artist,” not someone who’s content to live with the past.

He released an album in 2011, a time when he said he was writing more than ever, and that hasn’t changed today.

He meets with a group of writers every week at his house or in a studio, and he hopes to release a pop album and an R&B album in the next couple of years.

“I have to tell you,” Greenwood said, “I’m not an old shoe.”

“God Bless The U.S.A.” enjoyed its biggest success in the mid ’80s, but it’s charted a couple other times, including after the 9/11 attacks.

Greenwood said he’s known as the American patriot because of that song, and he’s fine with it.

“My grandparents told me if you’re going to be known for one thing,” he said, “make sure it’s something positive.”


Explore Related Articles

Trending in: News

My Windsor Now Updated Dec 7, 2013 03:29PM Published Dec 10, 2013 02:52PM Copyright 2013 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.