3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs About the 4th of July

Classic rock is often an emotional style of music. Perhaps more than any other, it’s one you want to gather around like a festive hearth and get arm-in-arm with your friends and sing out lyrics with great passion. And combine fireworks with the tunes and you’ve got a pretty great match made in heaven.

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Here below, just in time for the American Independence day festivities, we wanted to take a look at three songs that pair well with explosions in the sky. A trio of tunes that celebrate the annual holiday and the passion behind it. These are three classic rock Fourth of July songs that will live forever.

[RELATED: 3 Classic Rock Songs that Have Been Overused in TV Commercials]

“4th of July” by The Beach Boys from Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993)

This song was originally written by the drummer Dennis Wilson for the 1971 LP Surf’s Up, but it was never included on that record. Instead, you can find it on the 1993 release Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. Either way, it’s an emotive, introspective track with The Beach Boys’ signature lush sound. On it, lead guitarist Carl Wilson sings,

Born of the age
Flagged hopes
Censored rage
The black clad box
Bombs bursting in air
Bleed white red and blue
Cried dawn’s early light
For the hope

Oh where has it gone
Brothers sisters stand firmly and try
Reaching the spacious ski-ies
Fourth of July

“4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” by Bruce Springsteen from The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973)

This acoustic-driven song has been called one of Bruce Springsteen’s best and a quintessential study of the New Jersey beach and boardwalk culture. On the track, Springsteen sings of the faces hanging around his old haunts in all their mystery and majesty. It’s part carnival and part “Desolation Row” by Bob Dylan. On the track, Springsteen whisper-sings,

Sandy, the fireworks are hailing over Little Eden tonight
Forcing a light into all those stony faces left stranded on this warm July
Down in the town, the Circuit’s full of switchblade lovers, so fast, so shiny, so sharp
As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers on the shore
Chasing all them silly New York virgins by the score

“4th of July” by Paul McCartney from Venus and Mars (Reissue, 2014)

A bonus track from the Wings LP Venus and Mars, this song was originally recorded for the 1975 session but was left off. While this track is pretty and seems almost like the feeling of the fireworks going into the sky pre-explosion as you wait in hushed anticipation, it is also a tune that juxtaposes a certain melancholy mood with the joyous times at hand. On it, McCartney sings as only he can,

Sunset’s painting up the sky
There’s something in my eye why am I crying?
It’s the fourth of July

Friends come up to me and say
“It’s gonna be your day” why are they lying?
On the fourth of July

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