Lee Greenwood Announces Retirement

While country singer Lee Greenwood released 22 albums throughout his career, with another 40 singles, he will always be remembered for his signature song “God Bless the U.S.A.” Not only did the song become somewhat of a standalone anthem for America, but artists like Dolly Parton and Beyoncé also covered the song. As for Greenwood, after 40 years of performing his timeless song, the singer announced his retirement from the music industry. 

Videos by American Songwriter

Last month, Greenwood celebrated turning 81 surrounded by friends and family. With such a prosperous career over the decades, the singer decided to announce his big news while on The Brilyn Hollyhand Show. When asked about his future and rumors circulating his retirement, the singer set the record straight. “It’s not just a rumor,” he said. “It will be my last year to tour.”

Family First

Although Greenwood plans to retire, he admitted there are no set plans yet. When discussing the reasons behind his decision, the icon noted his age and health.”I just turned 81,” he said. “This is a factor. I’ve had some surgeries. I have titanium knees, I have a titanium cage in my back with 10 screws. I just don’t think I can do this much longer with the two boys in college.”

Besides wanting to enjoy the later years of his life, Greenwood praised his wife, Kimberly Payne, who married him 31 years ago. Knowing the cost of fame, the pair have spent a great deal of time apart over the years. Greenwood noted that “she has yet to have my total time.” He added, “It’s only fair, I think, that I back away at this point and have no distractions but her and I and give these last few years that I will live to her and my two sons.” 

[RELATED: Lee Greenwood Announces Box Set, ‘All Time Hits & American Anthems’]

Lee Greenwood Talks Inspiration Behind Famous Song

Sharing his gratitude for fans who supported him throughout the decades, Greenwood joked about how they continue to come to his shows. “Here I am at the end of my career, and they still come, and they still hear me sing the same 40 songs that I’ve sang for 40 years,” he marveled.  

First breaking into music back in 1962, Greenwood didn’t write “God Bless the U.S.A.” until 1983. Touring at the time, he explained the inspiration behind the hit. “I wanted to have something that would unite Americans from coast to coast. I wanted to instill pride back in the United States.”

(Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Unreleased Paul McCartney Tunes Included in New Compilation for Yoto Children’s Audio Players