As our US neighbours celebrate Independence Day 2014 with fireworks aplenty, our Gutter Girls pick their favourite anthems from American artists, past and present, to soundtrack 4th Of July . . .

No American Anthems list would be complete without The Boss; Bruce Springsteen is the epitome of working class, blue collar America. Taken from the album of the same name, “Born In The USA” was released in 1984 (the album celebrates its 30th Birthday this year) and is often confused as a nationalist anthem but, in actual fact, deals with the negative aftermath of The Vietnam War on Americans. Nevertheless, it unites people (American or not) in its all-powerful chorus like no other song, “Born In The USA!!! I Was Born In The USA!!!”

Abbey Fleming

“Hotel California” is a song very much representative of the high life in LA; a description given by the band themselves. As a rock band from CaliforniaEagles have symbolised what life in their home state is really like. Lyrics including “warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air” paired with the chilled out rhythm of the verse allows listeners to envision themselves standing on that ‘dark desert highway’ that the band sing of. The  catchy chorus combined with Don Felder and Joe Walsh’s instantly recognisable guitar solo helped score the song a top 50 spot on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’  as well as winning the band a Grammy and going platinum;showing that Eagles‘ idea of California is one that has been appreciated worldwide.

No-one says “All-American band” better than The Beach Boys; renowned for their outstanding vocal harmonies, the band, from Southern California, encapsulate the sun and surf of The USA better than anyone else, before or since. Taken from their signature 1966 album, “Pet Sounds”, “God Only Knows” may come second to hits, “California Girls” and “Good Vibrations”, but there is no denying its lasting legacy.

“baby band” in comparison to some of the American heavyweights mentioned previously, The Killers have gone from playing local gay bars in their native Las Vegas to playing to thousands of fans across the globe; including a sold-out slot at Wembley Stadium last summer. By no means is this an anthem that deals with their homeland, but it IS an anthem just the same; it never fails to unite a crowd, big or small, together in a war-cry chorus of “I Got Soul, But I’m Not A Soldier” cementing its place as a worthy modern-day US Anthem. This video was directed by Dutch photographerAnton Corbijn and feature a half-naked Brandon Flowers in the shower . . . ’nuff said.

Laura Maxwell

Despite my ancestry not quite fitting the bill, no song can make me feel more empowered than “American Girl”. I stand a little taller, let my hair swing and, yes, maybe belt out a loud, “Oh yeah'”or “Alright”. Only problem is I’ve seen “Silence Of The Lambs”. When the song plays,  I always half-expect a man to trap me in a moving truck. *shudder*

Released in 1967, this track from The Doors still sounds as refreshing today as it did back then; the urgency in Morrison’s vocals still reasonate with young people today who are eager to “break on through to the other side”. A somewhat unconventional American Anthem, yes, but The Doors were the pulse of the “flower power” era and their legacy lives on today.

Victoria Adams

Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the biggest American bands around and “By The Way” is a song I grew up listening to and one of the first tracks I remember hearing. When I was six years old, The Chili’s were the first band I went to see live and I remember watching the video for “By The Way” on repeat for days prior to attending the gig.  The song has an upbeat, catchy rhythm and an interesting video which sees lead singer Anthony Kiedis being kidnapped by a cab driver in LA before band mates Flea and John come to his rescue. Introducing me to rock music and influencing my current music taste, this tune never fails to lift my mood and bring back nostalgic memories; making it without a shadow if a doubt my number one American Anthem.

The unmistakeable sound of The Mamas And The Papas IS quintessential California; this track, released in 1965, deals with the singer’s longing for the warmth of California during a long, cold winter, something we can all relate to. Trust me, listening to this on a wet and windy Scottish day can transport you to a beach in sunny LA. For that reason alone, it makes our list!

Whether you love them or loathe them, this Bon Jovi anthem never fails to unite a (drunken) crowd! Released in 1986, the track is taken from the band’s third studio album, “Slippery When Wet” and tells the story of Tommy and Gina, a working class couple struggling to make ends meet. Cheesy definitely, but it perfectly captures the American spirit of not giving up or giving in despite the odds being stacked against you. And, if that wasn’t enough, the video features a live performance of the band with BIG 80s hair and leather trousers! How can you not love it?!

Don’t be confused by the potentially offensive title; Green Day released this now-anthem in 2004 as a means of defending the American people who, like the band, did not want to be seen as “an American Idiot” who agreed with then-President George W Bush. Frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the track as a reaction to the controversial Bush administration and certainly didn’t mince his words; “Don’t want to be an American idiot, one nation controlled by the media, information age of hysteria, It’s calling out to idiot America!” made Armstrong’s opinion of post-9/11 USA very clear!

Happy 4th Of July, Y’all!

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