Retrocon 2024

80s Songs Included In Fireworks Montages

I decided this week to join the League of Extraordinary Bloggers via the CoolandCollected.Com website. (special thanks to ShezCrafti for the referral!) I get blog post ideas all the time and save them for future use, but sometimes it hard to decide which to choose and write about next. So, I thought I'd draw some inspiration from other bloggers who are writing about the same general topics. I'm looking forward to connecting with some new people through the LEB and will be sharing links to other sites as well!

80s Songs Included In Fireworks Montages

This week's League topic is Patriotic pop culture. What movie, TV show, comic book, etc. makes you want to stand up and salute Old Glory? I thought since music is my favorite topic, I'd come up with a list of the 80s songs that always seem to get played while watching fireworks. (In no particular order)

Bruce Springsteen "Born In The USA" (1984)

Springsteen's anthem about Vietnam vets being mistreated upon their return to the USA has probably been one of the most misused songs in patriotic settings. Most of us remember the blowback that President Reagan took for praising Springsteen's music as "a message of hope" in one of his campaign speeches. Now, I think the majority of people get the song's message. Personally, I didn't truly get it until a college history class in 98 when my professor broke the lyrics down for us. It's an amazing song but I've still heard it played in more recent years during Fireworks displays. It usually gets a reaction from the beer-wielding rednecks at the fireworks show, causing them to stand up from their lawn chair in the back of their pickup truck and let out a "WOOOOOOOO!"

James Brown "Living In America" (1985)

The "Godfather of Soul" exploded onto the scene of Rocky IV, like an M80 to toilet water. Used as Apollo Creed's entrance music in the film, it left his opponent Ivan Drago and his Russian crew pretty much speechless during the performance. It's my favorite JB song and really enjoy hearing that once a year during the fireworks show. But, it still kinda leaves me on edge when the song is over, bracing for that fatal Drago punch.

Neil Diamond "America" (1981)  

We always went to a fireworks show where you turned on the local radio station to hear the soundtrack to the show. I've always associated this song with those type of shows I watched as a kid. It was a very popular song, more so for my parents than me, but is still a great patriotic song nonetheless. Immigration in the early 20th century has always been a big part of American history and apparently is communicated best with wide v-neck shirts, large collars and as many sequins as you can handle. 

John Cougar Mellancamp "R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A." (1986)   

Here's another song that I always enjoyed during fireworks shows and still hear now and again on classic rock stations. It almost didn't make onto JCM's Scarecrow album, mainly because he thought it was too upbeat compared to the other tracks. Lucky for him he included it because it became a #2 hit, only behind Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus." (Guess alot of people wanted to "rock" in '86.) Most people in the recording industry are liberal, but JCM put aside his views and allowed republican nominee George H.W. Bush to use it during his first Presidential campaign.
Lee Greenwood "God Bless the USA" (1984)

For me, this song just never seems to age. I've seen it used in countless fireworks shows over the years, growing up in the kid in the north and throughout the last several years living in the south. I feel like it's the one song, other than our traditional anthems, that just makes us swells with patriotism. I associated most with the first time I saw the laser light show at Stone Mountain, GA about 15 years ago. The show projected those "lakes of Minnesota" and "hills of Tennessee" and got plenty of cheers. I believe they still play the segment during the shows today. I found a similar laser show on Youtube that captures alot of what I remember.

Check out these patriotic posts:

Branded in the 80s feels patriotic during the first few minutes of G.I. Joe: The Movie 
Infinite Hollywood remembers "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan as a true pop culture patriot
Adamotomy thinks Bomb Pops are "the bomb"

Post a Comment


  1. You just gave me the playlist for next week's fireworks show. Great list Jason!

  2. Great list, and welcome to The League! I'm having a look around and oh my there is so much awesome on this site. I'm your new biggest fan.

  3. What a soundtrack! Perfect for the RD80s firework display!


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