For the fireworks operators, putting together a Fourth of July playlist seems to be old hat. You mix in some of the orchestral majesty of "Stars and Strips Forever," throw in "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood, work in Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" for class, then add in a pop song by the likes of Taylor Swift or Katy Perry to show your with the times, and call it a night.
But don't we deserve a little better? Aren't there are other worthy songs out there that deserve some shine? Indeed there are. Come on fireworks operators, let's step our game up. Here are some of my personal choices, and I'm sure there are many other worthy contenders.
1. Rick Derringer, "Real American" aka Hulk Hogan's theme song.
I'm just going to lay down my ace card--why the hell is this not song used in fireworks shows? By rights it should be our national anthem, but since it's not, let's give it some love elsewhere. There is simply nothing more American than the thought of Hulk Hogan cleaning the wrestling ring of bad guys while this song blares through the arena (preferably those commies Sgt. Slaughter (circa 1990-1991), Nikolai Volkoff, and the Iron Shiek), with the possible exception of Hulk Hogan shredding his bass guitar in front of exploding fireworks, as shown in the video.
2. Joey Ramone, "What a Wonderful World"
Want to use "What a Wonderful World" but wishing there was a punk rock version to kind of get things going a little more lively? Good news--there is, and it's by one of the legends of punk, Joey Ramone. What makes this song especially punk is he recorded it after he learned the disease that would take his life was fatal. That's punk, and that's American.
3. Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor because, you know, why not?
4. Bruce Springsteen, "We Take Care of our Own" / "Born in the USA (Original Version)"
Were you one of those fireworks operators that got off for years on the fact that you played "Born in the USA" even though most of us know it really isn't a patriotic song? Good for you. Well, if you really had some balls you'd play the original version, recorded in Bruce's bedroom during his sessions for the album that became Nebraska. Try to not reach for your anti-depressant of choice after listening to this one. But if you don't want to go that far you can always play "We Take Care of our Own" which was Bruce's attempt to troll America again. I think most folks were on to him by that point, but good try, Bruce.