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Are you pumped for National Anthem Day?  Surely you knew about this much celebrated day, didn’t you?

In honor of congress’ passing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” as our national anthem (March 3, 1931), a list of ten of the best rock anthems ever seemed worthy of mention. Keeping the patriotic roots of the day intact, all artists are American-born; therefore you will notice omissions from anthemic juggernauts such as Queen and AC/DC.  Not that Brits and Aussies aren’t cool, but this is America!  F**k yeah!

“Rock And Roll All Night” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]KISS[/lastfm]

Honestly, what’s more American than a pair of crotch hugging leather pants, paired with black and white face paint?  Although KISS has a bevy of rock anthems, this is the only one that was worthy of Olympic grandeur.  Don’t remember the finale to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City?  You’re welcome.

“Killing in the Name of” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rage Against the Machine[/lastfm]

A song that leaves us all warm and fuzzy inside.  Although “Killing in the Name of” isn’t the most patriotic of choices for this tribute (the lyrics do suggest a connection between KKK members and the U.S. police force), it’s a staple for rock anthems within the past 25 years.

Just don’t play it when your mom asks you to clean your room.  Unless her name ends in Kardashian.

(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Beastie Boys[/lastfm]

It’s about that time in the list where you should pop open a cold one.

Triggering bad decisions since 1986, this Beastie Boys favorite features more ruckus than a Wu Tang assassin.  Rarely do bands manage to kickstart their careers with a monster hit and maintain stamina, but the Beastie Boys are well ingratiated with rock royalty.

“Born in the USA” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm]

Sounds patriotic.  Looks patriotic.  Is anything, but patriotic.

“Born in the USA” is saturated with optimum arena conditions — fist pumps, a prodigious chorus, and backdrops of the American flag are all apparent in the song’s aesthetic.  However, the 1984 single is actually an objection to the treatment of Vietnam veterans returning from the war.

Regardless, the song rules.

“Alive” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pearl Jam[/lastfm]

Part I of the “Momma-Son” trilogy (“Once” and the b-side “Footsteps” make parts II and III), where the boy in the song discovers his real father is dead.  If you listen to parts II and III of the trilogy, you’ll learn just how troubled the boy becomes.

Written before Eddie Vedder ever became the lead singer, “Alive” was Pearl Jam’s first US single.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Twisted Sister[/lastfm]

Disregarding Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit would be blasphemous for a list of this nature.  Whether you’re an enslaved teen, a rebellious proletariat, or the guy that scrapes the gum from underneath the tables, this song’s for you.

Watch Dee Snider give a tutorial on how to “stick it to the man” here.

“Free Bird” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lynyrd Skynyrd[/lastfm]

If you don’t like this song, you need to find a soul.  Seriously, you work on that for the next 10-minutes while everyone else delves into rock splendor.

“Paradise City” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Guns N’ Roses[/lastfm]

Guns N’ Rose’s repertoire is searing with rock anthems, so take this selection as an encapsulation of other immortals like “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”  Although, I’m afraid Axl would jeer for not obtaining at least two other spots in the list.

“Livin’ On A Prayer” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bon Jovi[/lastfm]

Tommy and Gina sure made a name for themselves ever since Jon Bon Jovi made them famous back in 1986.  For you underdogs out there, “Livin’ on a Prayer” should be your de facto prescription for the day.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nirvana[/lastfm]

The song that catapulted alternative to mainstream, and changed the potentiality for women’s deodorant forever.  “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is at the top of a tonnage of critic’s list for most influential rock songs of recent memory.  Even Weird Al got his gangly fingers all over it, lampooning the track with “Smells Like Nirvana.”

Besides that, what other ridiculously meritorious song can you name where less than 50% of the population can sing the chorus?

Honorable Mention:

“The Star Spangled Banner” – [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimi Hendrix[/lastfm]

For some of you baby boomers, this is your national anthem.

“America, F**k Yeah”

Even the implacable right-wing proponent is amused by this hilarious gift from the film Team America: World Police.


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