Throughout the 40-plus years during which Lee Greenwood has been making music, he has performed in front of everyone from U.S. presidents to sold-out baseball games. Over the years, Lee has solidified his legacy as a true American hitmaker. His biggest hit, "God Bless the USA," has become synonymous with the nation, and has turned into an anthem for generations of citizens. Since its release, it's also been aligned with some of the most significant moments in U.S. history.
While Lee's musical prowess is the stuff that legends are made of, his proud patriotism and the things he sings about have made many fans question where exactly he falls on the political spectrum. In an exclusive chat with Distractify, Lee opened up about some facets of his beliefs regarding politics and what creating a song that has become like a second national anthem means to him.
What is Lee Greenwood's political party? He wants fans to know that he doesn't align with any one party.
Although Lee's music, particularly "God Bless the USA," may be interpreted as aligning itself with one political party, the singer is adamant that "God Bless the USA" was created to unite the nation as a whole.
"I voted for Kennedy and I voted for Reagan," Lee explained, highlighting the diversity in who he has supported over the years. "And so, Democrat and Republican alike. Whenever people say ‘Oh, your song is Republican,’ I wrote ‘God Bless the USA’ for all of America."
In a past interview with Rolling Stone, Lee billed his beliefs as those of a "conservative Christian," but it's clear that he is open to supporting any politician who has the nation's best interests at heart.
Asked about former President Donald Trump's affinity for "God Bless the USA," Lee explained, "It just so happens that our last president, President Trump, felt that it ["God Bless the USA''] represented his feeling for 'Make America Great [Again],' I'll give him that. I didn't say no, I didn't say yes, it's just the way it worked out."
Even prior to Trump's kudos, Lee had already graced the stage during the inauguration of George H. W. Bush, who he calls his "favorite president of all time."
Lee acknowledged that it took time before "God Bless the USA" became the American anthem that it is today.
Although "God Bless the USA" has gone on to become his most famous song, it wasn't always that way. Lee claimed that when his album "You've Got a Good Month Coming" was released at the "height of [his] success in the '80s," "God Bless the USA" was "overshadowed."
However, after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the song achieved more success than Lee could've ever envisioned, going "three times on the national charts" and becoming an anthem for a nation struggling to work through a horrible tragedy.
According to Lee, the success of that track and its alignment with American patriotism is "humbling."
"I tell you that I'm just a writer and I offer up my song as a way to represent the culture of America," the artist said, adding, "I've been a member of the National Arts Council now for a number of years, appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate, and I cherish that responsibility." Furthermore, he maintained that he wants to be remembered as "an entertainer" and "a hard worker."
Today, Lee is still firm in his stance of using his powerful position as a nationally beloved musician to support those in need. On Oct. 12, 2021, he is celebrating 40 years of hits in Huntsville, Ala. by "having 40 artists" perform his songs.
As an act of kindness and respect for U.S. soldiers, Lee wants "to have veterans and their caregivers" fill the crowd at the show, and he has a special way for fans to get involved and help bring that dream to fruition.
After the events of 9/11, Lee said he became "really immersed in helping veterans all I could," and his Huntsville show serves as an extension of that mission. He implores fans to "go to leegreenwood.com, fill out the form, and for $100," they can "send a vet and their caregiver to this show."
"I've been very lucky and very blessed," he said. Now, Lee wants to help extend those blessings to the brave men and women who fought for their nation by giving them the gift of song.