The PR world can take pride in Lee Greenwood's anthemAmerica is troubled. Ill at ease.
Confidence is low, fear is high, and it's obvious Paris Hilton is not going away gracefully. But bad news on the home front means good news for a performer whose signature song is dusted off periodically for just such occasions. When the chips are down, his stock is up.
Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA is the soothing antidote many Americans, especially those south of the Mason-Dixon, take a dose of when our flag is drooping. He's Viagra for the Stars and Stripes. A few bars of his patriotic tune harden our resolve.
Greenwood is a true-blue US publicist, singing sentimental words of freedom and liberty that comfort America amid the chill of reality. A soothing narcotic against the piercing pricks of a struggling economy, spiraling deficit, Middle East quagmire, and continuing damnation of carbs. His anthem has been especially embraced by Republicans, as they're the ones standing watch as ominous seeds of discontent drift over the walls. Plus, Republicans tend to like country music more than Democrats. I suspect, however, that the latter wouldn't mind Lee blowing a little wind in their sails, too.
I'm reminded of Greenwood's homage to liberty because I saw him singing it on TV this week - it may have been from a previously taped performance, I'm not sure - and it took me back to the mid-1980s, when the Reaganauts embraced the tune during similarly troubling times.
As a student TV-news intern, I was invited to cover a press conference Greenwood was holding to promote a concert tour. The gentleman coordinating media coverage for the tour was probably my first contact with a real, working publicist - and I was impressed by the courtesy he showed a wet-behind-the-ears intern. Got me thinking about PR as a career.
Greenwood must have been thinking the same thing about the long-term PR windfall of his song. Sure, the words are somewhat corny and the melody juvenile, but it's been a trademark tune at football stadiums, air shows, rodeos, and demolition derbies, off and on, for about two decades. He must have known, even then, that his true calling would be as Uncle Sam's musical sideman, taking a curtain call when troubled times demanded it.
God bless you, Lee, for being, as the song (almost) says, "Proud to be a... publicist."
Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer