Patriotism Took a Hit This July 4th, Along With Airplay for Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn
Fewer U.S. citizens seem to relate to Lee Greenwood's sentiment "I'm proud to be an American," the first line in the iconic chorus of his 1984 patriot single "God Bless the U.S.A." And radio responded appropriately during the Independence Day run-up by reducing the airplay of some of the genre's iconic patriotic songs.
A Gallup poll released over the holidays indicated that fewer than half of Americans are extremely proud of their citizenship. Some 47 percent of respondents self-identified as extremely proud, the lowest figure in the 17 years that Gallup has tracked the question. Also setting a new low was the 72 percent combination of extremely proud and very proud participants.
Simultaneously, seven flag-waving titles experienced a notable drop in spins across Nielsen Music-monitored stations from July 1-4 compared with the same time period in 2017. "God Bless the U.S.A." slipped 33 percent in airplay, representative of the 38 percent total shrinkage among the seven songs. Willie Nelson's "Living in the Promiseland" — its immigrant theme a hot-button topic in the current climate — had the largest decline at 63 percent, while Waylon Jennings' "America" showed the smallest drop, 28 percent.
The seven titles (and their relevant stats) are:
• Lee Greenwood, "God Bless the U.S.A.": 579 spins in 2018, down 33 percent from 859 spins in 2017
• Brooks & Dunn, "Only in America": 380 spins, down 45 percent from 688 spins
• Toby Keith, "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)": 305 spins, down 33 percent from 457 spins
• Aaron Tippin, "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly": 240 spins, down 41 percent from 408 spins
• Darryl Worley, "Have You Forgotten?": 34 spins, down 33 percent from 51 spins
• Waylon Jennings, "America": 56 spins, down 28 percent from 78 spins
• Willie Nelson, "Living in the Promiseland": 13 spins, down 63 percent from 35 spins