The Fourth of July is America's birthday, so we throw a party every year. Citizens celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and barbecue; we throw picnics to honor the country and have a great time. Every birthday needs music. These are the best Fourth of July songs for any celebration.
1. “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen
Song Year: 1984
“Born in the U.S.A.” is one of Bruce Springsteen's most widely recognized songs. Listeners of all ages recognize the tune's anthemic chorus. However, many misinterpret the song as a beer-swilling, flag-waving ode to patriotism because they pay no heed to the verses.
A sharp vein of frustration and bitterness pulses beneath the tune's glossy production. The Boss laments the treatment of veterans returning to America from Vietnam and the struggles they must endure.
The song is perfect for the Fourth of July, whether you value it simply for the fist-pumping chorus or appreciate the verses' measured critiques. What could be more patriotic than challenging the country to be its best self?
2. “Color me America” by Dolly Parton
Song Year: 2003
Across political, religious, economic, and ideological differences, one of the few things nearly every American can agree on is a deep love for Dolly Parton.
The national icon sings about maintaining patriotism in the face of heartbreak. America disappoints her sometimes, but only because Dolly loves the country so dearly. “Color Me America” is a call to action, imploring every listener to respect and honor the ideals the nation was founded on.
3. “America” by Simon and Garfunkel
Song Year: 1968
Simon and Garfunkel celebrate the country from the seats of a bus in the soaring folk ballad “America.”
The singer explains his cross-country trip with a partner. The pair hitch-hike and take buses, exploring the vast countryside of a varied nation.
“America” represents the longing and hopefulness infusing the United States. While not as immediately soaring and patriotic as some songs on this list, “America” shows the country as an infinite blank canvas.
The chorus undercuts the song's melancholy by reminding us that America draws a diverse and varied group with the possibility of finding elusive happiness. “America” triumphantly celebrates the infinite potential the country carries, making it an Independence Day staple.
4. “Living in America” by James Brown
Song Year: 1985
“Living in America” knows that there's no better way to celebrate your country's birthday than by dancing to superior funk music. James Brown infuses the anthem with infinite possibilities with his signature soul, creating the perfect song for any cookout.
Brown's song celebrates the diversity and vastness of the United States countryside, shouting out the infinite possibilities of American life. The King of Soul acknowledges that life can be challenging, but that struggle can lead to incredible success and profound happiness.
5. “Firework” by Katy Perry
Song Year: 2010
Nothing says the Fourth of July like fireworks. The pyrotechnics complete every Independence Day, providing a perfect cap for the holiday's festivities.
Katy Perry's “Firework” shouts out the Fourth of July, though the song doesn't explicitly take place on any specific day. The tune is a love song, celebrating individuality and reminding listeners to embrace their uniqueness.
“Firework” isn't a paeon to patriotism; however, the ballad is perfect for when you want to slow the picnic down a little while still honoring the day's theme.
6. “American Pie” by Don McLean
Song Year: 1971
“American Pie” is a time investment. The story song ostensibly details the fatal flight of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. However, the trio's tragic accident requires only a couple of minutes of the song's ponderous eight minutes and 42-second run time.
“American Pie” uses a great deal of recognizable iconography in inscrutable ways, making it difficult to interpret. However, the song is quintessentially American, and after a few Yuengling's, everyone at the cookout will be singing along to the chorus.
7. “America” by Neil Diamond
Song Year: 1980
The United States distinguishes itself by its rich and varied population. The founding fathers founded the nation on the promise of immigrants, and the Fourth of July is the perfect time to celebrate the country's diverse citizens.
Neil Diamond's celebratory anthem, “America,” lauds the hope and promise of the American dream. The singer explains the possibilities the United States represents and the opportunity that draws people to make America their home.
8. “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Song Year: 1976
“American Girl” is sure to get the entire picnic dancing and singing along. Tom Petty's upbeat hit doesn't indulge in an abundance of patriotism; however, the fun, energetic chorus has delighted listeners ever since the song's release.
“American Girl” is a love song about unfulfilled potential. The tune parallels the titular American girl's pursuit of love and happiness with the possibility America represents.
9. “Almost Independence Day” by Van Morrison
Song Date: 1972
Van Morrison is one of the premiere chroniclers of American life. “Almost Independence Day” finds the raconteur enjoying the day-to-day pleasures of summer in the city.
The singer and his partner walk the streets, enjoying the multiculturalism of urban dwelling.
While it isn't quite the Fourth of July, San Francisco is already celebrating. “Almost Independence Day” details the sounds and feelings of summer in the city, celebrating the simple delights the narrator feels.
10. “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago
Song Year: 1972
“Saturday in the Park” may take place on the Fourth of July, but Chicago isn't certain. The singer passes a pleasant day in the park-perhaps Independence Day-people watching and listening to the revelers.
The song is a simple, happy, upbeat encapsulation of a sunny summer day. “Saturday in the Park” captures the joyous essence of a tipsy Fourth of July picnic without any heady themes or ulterior motives.
11. “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie
Song Year: 1940
Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land” as a refutation of “God Bless America.” The celebrated folk song provides a rambler's perspective of the United States, observing the natural beauty and varied countryside.
Guthrie used “This Land is Your Land” to criticize land and wealth distribution. The swelling chorus reminds listeners that no one citizen deserves more American prosperity than another. The folk tune continues to inspire generations of singers, and you can find any number of covers to play at your Fourth of July cookout.
12. “Independence Day” by Martina McBride
Song Year: 1993
“Independence Day” finds Martina McBride following in the time-honored tradition of upbeat country songs about revenge. The singer tells the story of a Fourth of July when she was eight years old. Her alcoholic father hit her mother for the last time. While the child is at the local fair, her mother burns the family home with both parents inside.
McBride parallels her mother's act of freeing herself to America's independence. The murder ballad deals with heavy themes; domestic abuse and murder tend to be downers. However, McBride's soaring vocals and the triumphant beat make “Independence Day” at home at any picnic.
13. “Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” by Beyonce
Song Year: 2019
“Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” infuses its brief run time with potent and powerful meaning. The tune, referred to as “the Black National Anthem” by the N.A.A.C.P., is a hopeful, victorious rallying cry. An American treasure, AKA Beyonce, honored the song's rich history with her powerful performance and spiritual tune.
“Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” was written during America's Jim Crow era. The song is a potent and necessary reminder of both the country's scarred past and a call to do better to ensure every citizen is granted the freedom guaranteed in the Constitution.
14. “Fourth of July” by Sufjan Stevens
Song Year: 2015
No one scores a downer party like Sufjan Stevens. “Fourth of July” isn't going to make anyone at an Independence Day party dance or feel good. However, Stevens is a profound and gifted songwriter and provides the perfect melancholy anthem for guests who prefer their songs to be a little sad.
Stevens features “Fourth of July” on his deeply personal album, “Carrie and Lowell.” The song and the album detail Stevens' attempts to reconcile his estranged mother's death. “Fourth of July” is a sad and beautiful song, sure to draw tears and catharsis.
15. “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles
Song Year: 1972
Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” in 1895. The subsequent years have seen the song revisited and reinvented by more artists than we could list here. However, Ray Charles's version captures the hope and enthusiasm the music conveys.
Ray Charles, a musician who overcame a great deal of adversity, includes “America the Beautiful’s” lesser-known verse. He soulfully sings the lyrics celebrating opportunity, unity, and being the best version of a nation. An American classic, performed by an American classic, the song is an Independence Day must-have.
16. “American Heart” by Faith Hill
Song Year: 2012
“American Heart” praises the national push to overcome adversity through the perspective of a hard-working woman striving to achieve her dreams. The song celebrates the country's diversity, shouting out Texas, Louisiana, and California.
“American Heart” draws attention to the country's strengths; its art, perseverance, and ambition. Hill assures the listener that when times get hard, Americans endure. The song acknowledges the United States' struggles but suggests they make the nation stronger.
17. “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde
Song Year: 1981
What better way to celebrate the United State's birthday than by listening to a British singer enthusiastically singing about American youth?
Kim Wilde's “Kids in America” is an exuberant, upbeat celebration of youth and possibility. The singer doesn't let the dirty windows in her big city apartment ruin her mood; she's going to have a fun Friday night.
Wilde's global hit has inspired several covers and continues to delight listeners. The tune's sing-along chorus is perfect for a rowdy Fourth of July picnic.
18. “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus
Song Year: 2019
Miley Cyrus embodies a great deal of the American ideal. She's a polarizing force with a distinct sense of self and a take-no-prisoners attitude. “Party in the U.S.A.” isn't Miley at her edgiest, but the exuberant ode to the unifying power of music is the perfect “happy birthday” for a still-young, punk of a country.
The song's narrator is a fish out of water. She's a small-town girl in a big city full of cool, chic people. Miley feels uncomfortable until she hears songs by Britney Spears and Jay-zee-two classic American artists. The music breaks down her nerves and unifies the room.
“Party in the U.S.A.” is a fun, bubblegum pop celebration of the things that bring America together; a perfect celebration of unity for Independence Day.
19. “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” by John Mellencamp
Song Year: 1985
John Mellencamp celebrates the powerful force of music in “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A..” The song praises the musicians who built rock and roll from the ground up and the sacrifices they made for their art.
The rockers Mellencamp sings about were scrappy innovators. The singer suggests that the American sense of wonder and determination motivated these dreamers and honors the work they did to build rock and roll's foundation.
The song's giant, chant-along chorus delights listeners and is sure to inspire every guest at your cookout to rock out.
20. “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Whitney Houston
Song Year: 1991
No Fourth of July is complete without “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Many artists have interpreted our national anthem, few as movingly as Whitney Houston.
Houston performed the song during the Gulf War years, providing a sense of national pride and unity the country needed. Whitney's soaring vocal performance has been lauded as one of the best performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The singer makes the song triumphant, in a way sure to bring your picnic guests to their feet.
21. “Back in the U.S.A.” by Chuck Berry
Song Year: 1959
Chuck Berry invented rock and roll. The American singer celebrates his home country in “Back in the U.S.A.,” an ode to the cities and institutions that make the United States great.
Chuck gets off an airplane and immediately seeks out a hamburger and a jukebox. The singer talks about the cities he loves; St. Louis, Detroit, Chattanooga, Chicago, and Baton Rouge. He praises the entire span of the country, from coast to coast.
The song is an exuberant celebration of American diversity.
22. “You're a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan
Song Year: 1906
“You're a Grand Old Flag” is the only song most of us remember from the musical George Washington, Jr.
The song's upbeat rhythm immediately endeared it to marching bands. The lyrics detail the feeling of pride and jingoism the singer feels when he sees the American flag. The song has two verses explaining how fired up the singer gets when he hears military music, but most listeners only recognize the chorus.
No Fourth of July celebration is complete without a nod to the American flag, and this upbeat number fulfills that need.
23. “American Woman” by The Guess Who
Song Year: 1970
“American Woman” is an ideal song for the Fourth of July, provided no one listens too closely to the lyrics. Canadian band, The Guess Who spontaneously wrote “American Woman” at a concert during a North American tour.
Many interpret the song as an indictment of the American industrial war complex and draft system. However, the band claims the song is, in fact, about how much they prefer Canadian ladies to American girls.
The song is incredibly catchy, despite its critical approach to American women.
24. “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood
Song Year: 1984
“God Bless the U.S.A.” teeters on propaganda. On any other day of the year, the song might be too much for most listeners; however, on the Fourth of July, the over-the-top patriotism fires up a crowd.
The singer establishes that if he lost everything and needed to begin anew, he'd want it to be in the United States. He praises the country's freedom, opportunity, and diverse landscapes.
Greenwood details the pride and respect he feels for the armed services and salutes the troops who sacrificed themselves depending freedom.
25. “Surfin' U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys
Song Year: 1963
“Surfin' U.S.A.,” like the Fourth of July, is a celebration of America in the summer. The surf rock song jubilantly praises Brian Wilson's favorite warm-weather sport.
Wilson wrote the song with Chuck Berry, and the beloved rock and roll favorite bounces with joy and life.
While “Surfin' U.S.A.” doesn't deliver a profound message of patriotism, it captures a buoyant, celebratory tone with its catchy chorus.
26. “Fourth of July” by Fallout Boy
Song Year: 2015
“Fourth of July” is a song about lost love. Fallout Boy's tune details a summer love between two young folks, grown up.
The singer tells a story about a hot–but fleeting–romance between him and his former partner. He compares their shared passion to fireworks on Independence Day. Unfortunately, the relationship faltered, and the narrator is left lamenting his lost lover.
27. “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley
Song Year: 1984
Summer romances are often fleeting. Whether it's due to the high temperatures or the quick vacation spirit, summer flings are often passionate but brief. These mini-relationships have inspired myriad songwriters, none more impactful than Don Henley.
“The Boys of Summer” is a hard song not to love. The singer talks to his lost love, reminding her of the intensity of their June to August affair. He plans to get her back because he believes their romance can survive past summer's end.
The tune is a big, vibrant summertime anthem, perfect for a Fourth of July party.
28. “New Americana” by Halsey
New Song: 2015
Halsey's “New Americana” is a huge, soaring techno-pop song. While many Fourth of July songs praise the past, “New Americana” takes an incisive look at the future and how the definition of being American has evolved.
The song looks at the way technology has impacted young citizens, as well as explores the effects pop culture has had on the next generation.
Halsey's song provides an important representation of what it means to be an American currently.
29. “Red, White, and You” by Steven Tyler
Song Year: 2016
Steven Tyler, the Aerosmith frontman, dabbled in country music with “Red, White, and You.” The song alludes to several of the other Fourth of July songs on this list, infusing these American classics with some distinctly adult undertones.
Tyler compares his relations with his partner to the Independence Day fireworks. Not terribly subtle, the song may not be suitable for younger audiences; the narrator is very amorous.
While the song did not launch Steven Tyler into the upper echelons of country music stardom, it does shout out the Fourth of July several times.
30. “4th of July (Fireworks)” by Kelis
Song Year: 2010
“4th of July (Fireworks)” is Kelis's danceable ode to redemptive love. The singer celebrates the positive impact her partner has on her life. Kelis feels her lover has saved her and given her a new lease on life.
The Fourth of July connection is nebulous, but the narrator compares the elated feeling her significant other inspires to the sky on Independence Day.
31. “4th of July, Asbury Park” by Bruce Springsteen
Song Year: 1973
No single person is more closely bound to a state than Bruce Springsteen is to New Jersey. America's greatest raconteur often incorporates his home state into his music.
“4th of July, Asbury Park” finds the songwriter in his element, capturing the downside of the American dream. Springsteen sings to his partner about feeling trapped in their New Jersey home. The narrator promises his lover they'll escape, but it is most likely an empty assurance inspired by the Fourth of July holiday.
32. “16 Military Wives” by The Decemberists
Song Year: 2005
The Fourth of July honors veterans and military personnel. The Decemberists' “16 Military Wives” honors the spouses of fallen soldiers.
“16 Military Wives” is a bright, upbeat-sounding song with a heavy message. The singer explores everything from the American fixation with celebrity culture to the unfortunate treatment of military spouses.
True patriotism requires an honest assessment and critical evaluation of the country. However, for those who aren't prepared to engage on such a heady level for Independence Day, the song also features a fun, sing-along chorus about America.
33. “Made in the U.S.A.” by Demi Lovato
Song Year: 2013
“Made in the U.S.A.” is a bright, bubbly country pop song. Demi Lovato's love song celebrates deep and abiding love between young partners. The singer compares the relationship to American iconography.
“Made in the U.S.A.” takes inspiration from two American staples; the dreamy early romantic movies of the 1930s and a cross-country road trip. The song celebrates romantic love and the United States in the same breath. Lovato's tune is the perfect wrap-up song for an Independence Day cookout.
34. “Fourth of July” by Shooter Jennings
Song Year: 2005
“Fourth of July” by Shooter Jennings takes place on the titular holiday and encompasses the spirit of Americana. The narrator sings to his partner, riding shotgun during a cross-country road trip.
The happy couple celebrates Independence Day in their old R.V., listening to country music and enjoying the American countryside. The image is idyllic, a perfect painting of a pair chasing the American dream on the quintessential American holiday.
35. “American Boy” by Estelle
Song Year: 2008
We've looked at American women, American girls, and kids in America. Now it's time to discuss American boys.
Estelle's breezy pop anthem celebrates the Brit finding an American paramour. The singer shouts out some premiere United States cities and hotspots, seeking out a stateside boyfriend to tour these locations with.
“American Boy” is as much a melting pot as the country it's named for. The song fuses elements of pop, disco, and r and bu for a perfect summer anthem.
36. “Good” by Better Than Ezra
Song Year: 1993
Better Than Ezra shouts out the Fourth of July by name in “Good.” The song celebrates the end of a relationship, focusing on the positive aspects of the partnership instead of dwelling on the reasons it broke.
“Good” is an upbeat song with a simple chorus everyone can sing along to. The Fourth of July connection is fleeting and faint but specific and present.
37. “This is America” by Childish Gambino
Song Year: 2018
Childish Gambino created a rallying cry with “This is America.” The song is a blistering indictment of the fractured race relations in the United States. The singer addresses gun violence and systemic discrimination, all set to a gospel, hip-hop fusion beat.
The song holds a mirror up to America, providing a necessary Independence Day reminder of the progress we still need to make as we move forward as a country.
Top Fourth Of July Songs, Final Thought
A playlist can make or break any party. There is no shortage of songs celebrating America, its citizenry, history, and opportunity. Great Independence Day songs also hold a mirror up to the country. Fire up your Spotify and load your playlist with the best Fourth of July songs. These tunes cover every genre, theme, and style, sure to please all of your guests.