47 Best Songs For The 4th of July

Best Songs for the 4th of July

Every 4th of July, America celebrates its freedom with the time-honored traditions of backyard barbecues and massive fireworks displays. But no 4th of July celebration is complete without a patriotic playlist!

Jam out to the best songs for the 4th of July while you watch the fireworks and celebrate your country.


1. “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen

Song year: 1984

With its massive snare drum cracks, Bruce Springsteen's solo single “Born in the U.S.A.” sounded a vital rock and roll alarm for the experience of American veterans returning home from war.

The song accomplishes the rare feat of being patriotic while still protesting the country. It's one of Springsteen's best-known songs.

2. “I’m Free” by The Who

Song year: 1969

While The Who is a British band, their song “I'm Free” from their rock opera Tommy is a pure slice of rock and roll freedom fit for a celebration of independence.

With its punkish guitars and thundering rhythm section, this ode to freedom will get every American pumped up on the 4th of July.

3. “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Song year: 1977

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers split the difference between new wave and classic rock with their iconic single “American Girl.”

With guitars buzzing energetically and keyboards that ground the raucous song in classic pop form, Petty sings an ode to women from America, following in the lineage of “California Girls” and “American Woman.”

4. “American Pie” by Don McLean

Song year: 1971

Don McLean's “American Pie” uses familiar 20th-century American rock and roll imagery to examine the country's mood as the counter-cultural movement of the '60s wound down.

The lyrical depth of the song is massive in scope and, along with its length, has made “American Pie” the subject of much study and debate by musical scholars.

5. “Real American” by Rick Derringer

Song year: 1985

Pro wrestling experienced a renaissance in the '80s. During this explosion in popularity, the WWF aligned itself with musicians, including Rick Derringer.

“Real American” is Derringer's contribution to 1985's The Wrestling Album and became the iconic ring entrance music for Hulk Hogan. Old school wrestling fans will love saluting the flag to this rocking wrestling anthem.

6. “American Woman” by The Guess Who

Song year: 1970

Although they're a Canadian band, The Guess Who tapped into the American zeitgeist when they topped the Billboard charts with their single “American Woman.”

The song's interpretation is up to debate, with some seeing it as chauvinistic and others claiming it is anti-war. However you slice it, it's a raging classic rock song.

7. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Song year: 1969

Creedence Clearwater Revival combined elements of '60s psychedelic rock and classic swamp blues into their uniquely American sound. “Fortunate Son” combines their influences into one raging, Vietnam-era protest song.

While many may wish to focus on sweeping sentiments of pride on the 4th of July, protest songs are powerful reminders of our country's foundation.

8. “Living in America” by James Brown

Song year: 1985

Featured on the soundtrack to Rocky IV, “Living in America” would be the last top-ten hit in the illustrious career of James Brown. This feel-good anthem celebrates our bustling country with shout-outs to some of our biggest cities.

The single would earn Brown a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

9. “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus

Song year: 2009

In shedding her childhood star image, Miley Cyrus recorded one of the most iconic party anthems of the 2000s with her single “Party in the U.S.A.”

The song's Jay-Z and Britney Spears references positioned Cyrus as a pop-obsessed popstar. The coming of age tale of a small fish in a big pond is relatable and dance-worthy, making it one of the best songs for the 4th of July.

10. “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles

Song year: 1972

The lyrics to “America the Beautiful” began as a poem written from the top of Colorado's Pike's Peak in 1893. The poem's popularity led musicians to set the words to music, and the poem lived on through the 20th century as a song.

Ray Charles' version is the gold standard. The iconic singers' passionate vocal delivery helped the song chart during America's bicentennial in 1976.

11. “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde

Song year: 1981

British new wave singer Kim Wilde scored a number two hit in the UK with her punky ode to youth in the U.S., “Kids in America.”

With its bubbling synthesizers and infectious chorus, the song has endured as a prime example of '80s new wave. Play this on the 4th of July to turn the barbecue into a dancefloor.

12. “American Music” by Violent Femmes

Song year: 1991

College rock mainstays the Violent Femmes recorded a folk-rock ode to the mythos of rock and roll with their single “American Music.”

The song references the familiar rock tropes of drugs and school dances, simultaneously balancing innocent and debauched elements. While the track is richly ironic, it never sounds anything less than celebratory.

13. “American” by Lana Del Rey

Song year: 2012

Lana Del Rey has built her entire career around tapping into the American mythos with the updated Millenial perspective. Her song “American” is the ultimate in blending Americana with the internet age.

With a light trip-hop beat, classic orchestration, and references to Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis, the singer manages to fold all of the 20th century into the collage aesthetic of the 21st century.

14. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino

Song year: 2018

Childish Gambino's single “This Is America” was immediately considered a landmark piece of art upon its arrival in 2018. The song and music video are brimming with critiques of violence and institutional racism in America.

The single would top the charts globally, and Billboard named the music video the tenth best of the 21st century.

15. “America” by Simon & Garfunkel

Song year: 1968

Folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel set off to find the American Dream on their road trip-inspired survey of the country “America.”

Paul Simon wrote the song after a trip with his girlfriend across the U.S. The song's big-picture view of the country's ethos and its post-modern sensibilities underscore American sentiment coming out of the '60s.

16. “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi ft. MGMT

Song year: 2010

There's no more fitting song to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence than one that takes its name directly from the document.

Kid Cudi's “Pursuit of Happiness” is a psychedelic slice of hip-hop that sounds as joyous as a 4th of July party – with syrupy synthesizers and backward guitars exploding across the track like fireworks.

17. “Firework” by Katy Perry

Song year: 2010

There are few things as American as fireworks on the 4th of July. Katy Perry evokes this imagery in her hit single “Firework” while capturing the spirit of individuality that defines the country.

The song was a global number one hit, succeeding with its uniquely American ethos. Cue this one up before the fireworks display!

18. “Green Onions” by Booker T & the MG’s

Song year: 1962

Though it's an instrumental track, Book T. & the M.G.'s single “Green Onions” mix of soul and rock immediately creates a nostalgic sense of America.

Whether you know it as a music fan or from the films American Graffiti or The Sandlot, hearing the first organ notes will immediately remind you of Summer afternoons.

19. “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad

Song year: 1973

Detroit funk-rock band Grand Funk Railroad scored their first number-one single with “We're An American Band,” their infectious nod to the rock and roll lifestyle.

Inspired by an argument over the merits of British and American rock and roll acts, Grand Funk planted their flag in the ground literally and figuratively with the single.

20. “Back in the U.S.A.” by Chuck Berry

Song year: 1959

Rock and roll is as American as apple pie. So when Chuck Berry, one of the first-ever rock and roll artists, writes a song about America, it's time to stand up and salute!

“Back in the U.S.A” is a high-octane celebration of the American terrain and way of life. The song's imagery of burgers and jukeboxes is tailor-made for the 4th.

21. “Living in the U.S.A.” by Steve Miller Band

Song year: 1968

At the tail end of 1968, one of the most violent years in American history, the Steve Miller Band released “Living in the U.S.A.” The blue-inflected rocker is a call to unity and celebration of freedom.

With its infectious, sing-along chorus, the band simplifies all the turmoil of politics into one defining testament of freedom.

22. “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

Song year: 1945

Woody Guthrie's classic folk song “This Land Is Your Land” won't ignite the dancefloor. But this American anthem of inclusivity is a simplistically beautiful sentiment befitting the 4th of July.

Guthrie set out to write the song after tiring of the saccharine “God Bless America” that dominated the airwaves. The folk hero's response is now part of the nation's canon.

23. “Star Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix

Song year: 1969

This song is without a doubt one of the top songs for the 4th of July playlist.

The show-stopping moment of the iconic Woodstock festival was Jimi Hendrix's electrifying version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

By utilizing emerging guitar distortion technology, Hendrix mimics the sounds of rockets and bombs during the song as an auditory protest against the Vietnam War. This national anthem will stir any rock fan with its guitar mastery and historical importance.

24. “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood

“God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood

Song year: 1984

Songs don't come any more patriotic than Lee Greenwood's “God Bless the U.S.A.” The pop-country single is so emphatically nationalistic that Ronald Reagan used it during his presidential campaign.

The song would become seen as a rallying cry for many Americans, spiking in popularity after the Gulf War and the September 11 attacks.

25. “Little America” by R.E.M.

Song year: 1984

While R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe is famous for his unintelligible lyrics, even with his opaque vocal delivery, it's clear that “Little America” is a pastiche of classical and iconic American imagery.

That juxtaposition amounts to Stipe examining time on a personal and societal level. It's heady stuff, but thankfully the jangling guitars and frantic drumming will have you dancing along.

26. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

Song year: 1971

One of John Denver's signature songs, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a country music anthem that celebrates the beauty of America and the simplicity of country living.

This song is a crowd-pleaser, whether you live on a farm or in the big city. Denver's sincere vocal delivery is as inviting as those old country roads.

27. “God Bless Amerika” by Lil Wayne

Song year: 2013

Lil Wayne addresses racial inequality and police brutality in his single “God Bless Amerika.”

While the song isn't patriotic in the typical sense, its examination of race in America through its use of military imagery and a hard-hitting trap beat is sure to please hip-hop heads on the 4th of July.

28. “Made in the U.S.A.” by Demi Lovato

Song year: 2013

Using America's reputation as a manufacturer of long-lasting, quality goods, Demi Lovato celebrates her romantic love patriotically in the single “Made in the U.S.A.”

This country-pop song has a dancey beat and infectious melody that begs the listener to dance and sing along while waving the flag. It's unabashedly patriotic and perfectly suited for Independence Day.

29. “4th of July” by Aimee Mann

Song year: 1993

Heartbreak doesn't wait until after the holidays. For those experiencing heartache during the 4th, Aimee Mann's acoustic-tinged ballad “4th of July” will be a welcome friend.

By framing her troubles against the backdrop of fireworks, Mann expertly shows the magnitude of her feelings. The song's instrumentation ramps up as the tale of loss go on, building like an emotional firework display.

30. “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley

Song year: 1984

Ex-Eagles singer Don Henly scored a top-ten hit with his nostalgic single “Boys of Summer.” Over music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell, Henly's imagery of youthful summer dreams melting into middle age are achingly universal.

The song speaks just as loudly to the youth still living those summers as it does to those that remember them.

31. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

Song year: 1989

Tom Petty's brand of heartland rock is a fitting canvas for his tale of freedom in the single “Free Fallin'.”

Over brilliant sounding acoustic guitars, Pettys sings of living an untethered life against the backdrop of California. The song's anthemic chorus ties together all its loose ends in an irresistibly romantic interpretation of loneliness.

32. “Bullet the Blue Sky” by U2

Song year:

U2's epic hard rock guitar jam “Bullet the Blue Sky” is one of the standout tracks on their album The Joshua Tree.

The song's metallic tinge is unique for U2 and helps underscore the intensity of singer Bono's vocal performance. The song's examination of America's impact on the world is salient and remains vital to this day.

33. “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” by Bruce Springsteen

Song year: 1973

Before his blue-collar stories of the '80s took on a more economic language, Bruce Springsteen was writing sprawling, poetic lyrics in the style of '60s songwriters.

The single “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” showcases Springsteen's knack for setting as the singer bemoans the loss of a lover while taking the listener on a tour of the Jersey Shore.

34. “Almost Independence Day” by Van Morrison

Song year: 1972

For a song that's ten minutes long, Van Morrison's “Almost Independence Day” doesn't have many lyrics – though that doesn't mean it has nothing to say.

Morrison's repetitive lyrics give enough space to imbibe the singer's realization that the 4th of July is near with a breezy and hopeful spirit, buoyed by a smattering of jazz-inflected instrumentation.

35. “4th of July” by Kelis

Song year: 2010

Kelis uses the explosive beauty of fireworks on Independence Day to express how her lover makes her feel in her single “4th of July (Fireworks).”

Thanks to its pulsating electric kick drum and explosive chorus, the song hit number four on the dance charts. This song is sure to turn up any 4th of July party.

36. “American Idiot” by Green Day

Song year: 2004

“American Idiot” marked Green Day's turn away from simple pop-punk songs to full-blown rock operas. The song also became the band's first explicitly political song.

Over pounding drums and buzzing guitars, the band calls for individuality against the forces of corrosion and conformity in society. “American Idiot” is a signature Green Day song and has come to define the second decade of their career.

37. “4th of July” by X

Song year: 1987

Los Angeles punk pioneers X sound like a spiky-haired Bruce Springsteen on their roots-inflected rock song “4th of July.”

The song's tale of love gone cold rests against the backdrop of an Independence Day fireworks display. The setting creates a stark, noir-ish scene of two lovers drifting apart while realizing they forgot about the holiday.

38. “Graceland” by Paul Simon

Song year: 1986

Though it wasn't a huge hit, Paul Simon's African-tinged single “Graceland” was met with critical acclaim and won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

The song documents a road trip Simon took with his son after divorcing his wife. The singer is looking for salvation at the mansion of Elvis Presley, an American musical mecca known as Graceland.

39. “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp

Song year: 1983

John Mellencamp's infectious refrain on “Pink Houses” begs for a 4th of July sing-along.

Like many heartland rock songs that initially sound patriotic, “Pink Houses” is a critique of the American Dream. With the early '80s experiencing a recession not seen since the Great Depression, Mellencamp turned his acoustic guitar into a populist pop songwriting machine.

40. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger

Song year: 1983

America has a long tradition of protest songs that have helped the country through times of turmoil. But America also knows how to rock out better than anyone else.

Night Ranger's patriotic '80s rocker “(You Can Still) Rock and Roll in America” is a raucous, tongue-in-cheek nod to the freedom Americans have to headbang!

41. “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys

Song year: 1963

Rewriting the Chuck Berry classic “Sweet Little Sixteen,” The Beach Boys defined the burgeoning surf-rock sound with their iconic '60s hit “Surfin' U.S.A.”

The song is a pivotal part of the rock and roll canon and paved the way for the experimental works the band would record deeper into the decade. 

42. “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago

Song year: 1972

Chicago's “Saturday in the Park” is a classic 4th of July track. Not only does the song take place on Independence Day, but its breezy, soulful soft-rock swing is both celebratory and mellow enough to match any style of get-together.

The song reached the third spot on the Billboard charts and is now Chicago's signature song.

43. “U.S. Blues” by Grateful Dead

Song year: 1974

Though the Grateful Dead were never a popular mainstream act, their style was uniquely American. By blending jazz, folk, psychedelia, and rock, the band created a patchwork sound of American music history.

Dead Heads will love spending the 4th blasting the band's song “U.S. Blues.” The song's jam band rhythms will have everyone in the backyard swaying along.

44. “Fourth of July” by Fall Out Boy

Song year: 2015

Pop-punk band Fall Out Boy experiment with heavy dance music samples on their electro-pop-punk single “Fourth of July.”

Over pounding drums and an incredibly catchy vocal hook, the band's lyrics are as emotional as ever, blending the urgency of a pop torch song with the torment of an unrequited emo love song.

45. “Star Spangled Banner” by Whitney Houston

Song year: 1991

Whitney Houston's rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one of the most critically acclaimed national anthem performances ever.

Performed before Super Bowl XXV, the performance took on an added layer of meaning as the Gulf War had just begun. The song's unique arrangement and Houston's astounding vocal performance will have everyone standing at attention.

46. “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams

Song year: 1985

Bryan Adams might be Canadian, but his classic single “Summer of '69” is dripping with classic coming-of-age Americana.

From its palm-muted guitar intro to its teenage bands and young love references, the song is brimming with the type of wistful nostalgia that's as American as apple pie.

47. “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” by John Mellencamp

Song year: 1986

John Mellencamp's single “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” is an homage to the early history of rock and roll that revels in the journey from rock and roll dreams to stardom.

Mellencamp namechecks several luminaries of rock history while wrapping everything in a patriotic and incredibly catchy chorus.

Top Songs for the 4th of July, Final Thoughts

In a nation as diverse as the U.S.A, it's no surprise that rock, rap, and country music provide a soundtrack to celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our pop music is part of the great American melting pot.

With the smell of backyard burgers and fireworks in the air, we hope our list of the best songs for the 4th of July sends you back for another slice of American pie!

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