Between 1981 and 1991, Lee Greenwood charted 31 singles on the Billboard Country Singles chart, including seven trips to the pinnacle of the list. So, success is nothing new to the California native, but he admits promoting his newest project is somewhat different.
“It’s going to be a lot different for me,” he says of his book “Does God Still Bless The USA?” “I don’t consider myself an author, and we’ve been about a year writing this. Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do is to put words and thoughts into pages — a lot of pages, as to where a song might be a couple stanzas with lyrics.”
But, he admits he had some help in putting the book together, including co-author Rita Tate and his wife Kimberly, who was an English major in school. “It’s been a labor of love, and we’re excited to have gotten it done.”
The book, a collection of Greenwood’s thoughts on what has made America great, and how times have changed in the U.S.A., became even timelier after the recent controversy at a Massachusetts school surrounding his song “God Bless The U.S.A.”
“Things unfold sometimes that draw you into the limelight or into the news. We were in Napa, and my press agent called and said ‘You really need to give some kind of response.’ This school system in Boston changed the title of my song to ‘We Love The U.S.A.’ In my press release, I said that I have no problem with anybody not being a Christian but still loving the country, and saying ‘We love the U.S.A.,’ but you can’t do that to my song — because of copyright laws. They decided after the parents had made that an issue to sing the song as it was written, [but ultimately] they decided to take the song out of the program. That outraged the parents even further, and they put pressure on the school system. Stuff like that ripples through our society.”
Greenwood admitted that it was events like that that inspired to put his thoughts to paper about the changes going on in the United States.
“That was kind of the basis of why I have written the book. You take events like Tim Tebow and how he has brought faith to the forefront, or Kirk Cameron’s new movie “Monumental” — which like my book, deals with tradition against progressivism, and where we are as a country. Are we still united as one nation? And a Christian nation?”
Greenwood also discusses the term “heroes” in the book, and what that term means to him. “My hero growing up was the Lone Ranger. He always did things right — never really shot anybody, just knocked them off the horse. It wasn’t something with a lot of blood, like kids see today. The real heroes are out there in the field fighting. We put a lot of excerpts in the book from soldiers’ and soldiers’ families, many of whom are deceased because of war. We felt it was important to mention a lot of them in the book. My heroes range from people that have been in the White House to your community leaders — policemen, firemen, and just take care of themselves, their neighbors, and their country.”
Also included with the book are two downloads of Greenwood’s music, including a new cut of “God Bless The U.S.A.” When asked about how the song’s impact has affected him, he said “It’s kind of surreal. The song stands alone by itself. We cut thirty-two albums, and that’s a lot of music. It’s so far to one side. When people respond to that song, they’ve almost forgotten my country career as an artist. I’m grateful that it has touched a lot of hearts because that was one I really had a passion for.”