Lee Greenwood sings “God Bless the USA”
Melvin Lee Greenwood was born on October 27, 1942 in Southgate, California and was made famous by what is now an American classic, “God Bless the U.S.A.” Greenwood grew up on a poultry farm a few miles south of Los Angeles and started singing in his hometown church at the age of seven.
In 1962, Lee established his first band which was called “The Apollos” and later became known as “Lee Greenwood Affair.” This group was based out of Las Vegas, NV and performed their “pop” music in various casinos and nightclubs throughout the city. After the group disassembled in the 1970s, Greenwood made a living dealing blackjack and performed in the evenings around town. In 1969, Lee joined the Chester Smith Band giving him his first appearance on television.
After a decade of this lifestyle, Greenwood was discovered by Larry McFaden, a gentleman who played bass for country artist Mel Tillis. Following the production of a few demo tapes and mentoring by McFaden, Greenwood was signed to MCA records out of Nashville in 1981 and McFaden went on to be his manager following the deal. His first single with the label was “It Turns Me Inside Out,” which reached the top-20 on the country charts. This single was written for Kenny Rogers, but due to the volume of songs Rogers had been offered, he passed on the cut.
Greenwood went on to record “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands,” which secured a top-ten spot on the charts. His 1980’s song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” gained renewed interest after the dreadful terrorist attacks of 9-11 and stands near the top of the list of classic recurrents. In November 2008, Greenwood was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve a six-year term on the National Council on the Arts. Today, Greenwood keeps a steady tour schedule and continues to spur patriotism with live appearances of the song.