Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Patriotic Songs: Top 50

Patriotic Songs:

Top 50

In honor of America’s Independence Day, here’s the DMDB’s aggregated list of 24 best-of lists focused on patriotic songs. A word to anyone who thinks any song on this list is too jingoistic, controversial, modern, or inappropriate: Patriotism comes in many forms.

It should also be noted that many of the sources behind this list did not point to a particular version of a song so the song’s composer(s) and the year the song was published are listed instead of a specific artist.

Click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. “The Star-Spangled Banner” (lyrics: Francis Scott Key, music: John Stafford Smith; 1814)
2. “God Bless the U.S.A.” (Lee Greenwood, 1984)
3. “America the Beautiful” (lyrics: Katharine Lee Bates, music: Samuel A. Ward; 1910)
4. “This Land Is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie, 1940)
5. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (lyrics: Julia Ward Howe, music: William Steffe; 1862)
6. “God Bless America” (Irving Berlin, 1918)
7. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (lyrics: Samuel Francis Smith, music: Thomas Arne; 1931)
8. “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (John Philip Sousa, 1897)
9. “Yankee Doodle (Went to Town)” (lyrics: Richard Shuckburgh, music: traditional, 1754)
10. “The Marines’ Hymn (From the Halls of Montezuma)” (lyrics: W.E. Christian, music: Jacques Offenbach; 1917)

11. “You’re a Grand Old Flag” (George M. Cohan, 1906)
12. “Anchors Aweigh (U.S. Navy Song)” (lyrics: Alfred Hart Miles, music: Charles A. Zimmerman; 1906)
13. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” (lyrics: Patrick Gilmore, music: unknown; 1863)
14. “Wild Blue Yonder (Air Force Theme)” (Robert MacArthur Crawford, 1938)
15. “The Army Go Rolling Along (The Caissons Goes Rolling Along)” (Edmund L. Gruber/Robert Danford, music arranged by John Philip Sousa; 1908)
16. “Yankee Doodle Boy” (aka “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy”) (George M. Cohan, 1904)
17. “Hail to the Chief” (lyrics: Sir Walter Scott, music: James Sanderson; 1812)
18. “Born in the U.S.A.” (Bruce Springsteen, 1984)
19. “Over There” (George M. Cohan, 1917)
20. “The Ballad of the Green Berets” (Robin Moore, Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler; 1966)

21. “Hail, Columbia (The President’s March)” (Philip Phile, 1789)
22. “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” (Alan Jackson, 2001)
23. “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” (Thomas A’Becket Sr., 1843)
24. “Dixie” (aka “I Wish I Was in Dixie” or “Dixie’s Land”) (Daniel Decatur Emmett, 1861)
25. “Living in America” (written by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight, performed by James Brown; 1985)
26. “Semper Paratus (‘Always Ready’)” (Capt. Francis S. Von Boskerck, 1888)
27. “Courtesy of the Ready, White, Blue (The Angry American)” (Toby Keith, 2002)
28. “Ragged Old Flag” (Johnny Cash, 1974)
29. “Only in America” (Brooks & Dunn, 2001)
30. “Taps” (arranged by Daniel Butterfield, 1860)

31. “Red, White & Blue” (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 2003)
32. “American Soldier” (Toby Keith, Chuck Cannon; 2003)
33. “Home” (written by K. Garrett and Craig Wiseman, performed by Dierks Bentley; 2011)
34. “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” (Aaron Tippin, Casey Beathard, and Kenny Beard; 2001)
35. “The Liberty Bell” (John Phillip Sousa, 1894)
36. “The Battle of New Orleans” (Jimmy Driftwood, 1959)
37. “Some Gave All” (Billy Ray Cyrus & C. Cyrus, 1992)
38. “This Is My Country” (music: Al Jacobs, words: Don Raye, 1940)
39. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (words: James Welden Johnson, music: J. Rosamond Johnson, 1900)
40. “A Change Is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke, 1964)

41. “There’s a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” (Paul Roberts & Shelby Darnell, 1942)
42. “American Pie” (Don McLean, 1971)
43. “Home on the Range” (music: Daniel E. Kelly, words: Dr. Brewster M. Higley, 1873)
44. “America” (Neil Diamond, 1980)
45. “The Liberty Song (In Freedom We’re Born)” (music: William Boyce, words: John Dickinson, 1768)
46. “Philadelphia Freedom” (music: Elton John, words: Bernie Taupin, 1975)
47. “If You’re Reading This” (Tim McGraw, Brad Warren, Brett Warren, 2007)
48. “America” (Paul Simon, 1968)
49. “It’s America” (Brett James and Angelo Petraglia, performed by Rodney Atkins, 2008)
50. “Have You Forgotten?” (written by Wynn Varble & Darryl Worley, 2003)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 7/4/2013; last updated 7/6/2021.


  1. First of all, I just have to say how much I absolutely love this website. The time, love, and passion that has been poured into the research is inspiring.

    I just have one critique of this particular list, and that is that Bruce Springsteen himself commented on the fact that "Born in the USA" is not a patriotic song at all. Here's some commentary from the song's Wikipedia page:

    "Born in the U.S.A." has been called one of the most misunderstood songs in history by NPR, the BBC and others. It has been treated as a flag-waving paean to America by politicians like Ronald Reagan, Pat Buchanan, reacting to the dominant tone of the song's chorus, without seeming to acknowledge the bitter critique of American policy and society present in the lyrics as a whole. The song presents a veteran as a tragic figure alienated upon his return from the war.

    In the Donald Trump era, “Born In The USA” was heard at rallies of President Trump and outside the hospital where he was being treated for Covid19 in October 2020. It resulted in Josh Terry writing: “That 'Born in the U.S.A.' has been used for decades in political rallies for right-wing causes for four decades is confusing. Springsteen himself has gone on record calling the President "a flagrant, toxic narcissist," a "moron," and a "threat to our democracy." But more than the Boss' own views, the song is the furthest thing from a nationalist anthem.”

    1. Lee, I'm with you 100% on your observations about "Born in the U.S.A." In fact, on my page devoted to the song (you can click on the song title in the list to see the page) I even talk about the misunderstood patriotism about the song. It's one of the shortcomings of how I create most of the lists on this site. I try to aggregate multiple lists to see what songs show up over and over. It makes for at least a somewhat objective approach - at least more so than if I just made the list myself. However, if multiple people list "Born in the U.S.A" as a patriotic song it makes the cut on a list such as this even though it really isn't about patriotism at all.

  2. An Idea for a blog post: Listing the #1 song about each of the 50 states