Megadeth co-founder Dave Mustaine is marking the 45th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a heavy metal guitar version of his own that will appear in “America,” Dinesh D’Souza’s follow-up to “2016: Obama’s America.”
Hendrix debuted his version of the song, also known as the U.S. national anthem, in the summer of 1969 at the now-historical Woodstock music festival, where it was panned by some for its irreverence and heralded by others as an instant classic. Still others assumed it was an anti-Vietnam War statement, but Hendrix simply saw it as patriotic. “We’re all Americans. … It was like, ‘Go America!’ ” he said a few weeks after Woodstock.
Hendrix and Mustaine are both considered grand masters of the electric guitar. Mustaine, an early member of Metallica, landed at No. 19 in Guitar World’s list of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time, and Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner was named the greatest guitar performance of all time by the same magazine.
“Jimi recorded his version at a different time in the history of our nation,” Mustaine said. “Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated, the nation was mired in war and chaos and that is reflected in his guitar.”
The right-leaning film follows D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” which is the second-highest-grossing political documentary in history after Michael Moore’s left-leaning “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Lionsgate is opening “America” wide on July 2, nearly 10 years to the day after the same company opened “Fahrenheit.”
In “America,” produced by Oscar winner Gerald Molen, D’Souza attempts to dismantle what he considers anti-American arguments oftentimes expressed by the political left. Slavery, wars, capitalism, Christopher Columbus, the treatment of Native Americans and other topics are addressed. Mustaine’s new version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was created specifically for the movie while several other existing songs were also licensed, including one from Imagine Dragons and “Home” by Phillip Phillips.
The filmmakers also thought they had access to a patriotic song from Rodney Atkins, a country music star who performed two years ago at the Republican National Convention, but one of the songwriters killed the deal for the song, called “It’s America,” because he objects politically to the premise of D’Souza’s movie.
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