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Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood

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Also Known As: Lee Melvin Greenwood Died:
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Lee Greenwood's long run of mainstream country hits peaked commercially with 1984's "God Bless the U.S.A.," which became a conservative anthem for the Reagan years and beyond. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Sacramento, Greenwood first entered the music business in 1962, nearly two decades before his country success. At age twenty he moved to Las Vegas and played the lounge circuit with a pop group called the Apollos, later renamed the Lee Greenwood Affair. Around this time he turned down an offer to join the Young Rascals, soon to begin scoring hits. Greenwood's own success would have to wait until 1979, when Mel Tillis' manager Larry McFaden took him on after catching his act in Reno. Signed to the MCA label, Greenwood adopted a vocal approach and production style often compared to Kenny Rogers; in fact his first hit single, 1981's "It Turns Me Inside Out," was a song Rogers had rejected. The next few years brought further hits, both solo ("Dixie Road," "Somebody's Gonna Love You") and with Barbara Mandrell ("To Me"). The proudly patriotic "God Bless the U.S.A." was the only non-romantic song to appear on his third album You've Got a Good Love Comin'. The song took on a life of its own; it was...

Lee Greenwood's long run of mainstream country hits peaked commercially with 1984's "God Bless the U.S.A.," which became a conservative anthem for the Reagan years and beyond. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Sacramento, Greenwood first entered the music business in 1962, nearly two decades before his country success. At age twenty he moved to Las Vegas and played the lounge circuit with a pop group called the Apollos, later renamed the Lee Greenwood Affair. Around this time he turned down an offer to join the Young Rascals, soon to begin scoring hits. Greenwood's own success would have to wait until 1979, when Mel Tillis' manager Larry McFaden took him on after catching his act in Reno. Signed to the MCA label, Greenwood adopted a vocal approach and production style often compared to Kenny Rogers; in fact his first hit single, 1981's "It Turns Me Inside Out," was a song Rogers had rejected. The next few years brought further hits, both solo ("Dixie Road," "Somebody's Gonna Love You") and with Barbara Mandrell ("To Me"). The proudly patriotic "God Bless the U.S.A." was the only non-romantic song to appear on his third album You've Got a Good Love Comin'. The song took on a life of its own; it was played at the 1984 Republican National Convention and revived during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and again in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Beyoncé later covered it after the death of Osama bin Laden. Another fan of the song, President George Bush, appointed Greenwood to the National Arts Council in 2008. Greenwood's career became synonymous with that tune and he attempted a number of follow-ups, including a full album American Patriot in 2009. Though his style of slick pop country went out of commercial style after the '90s, Greenwood continued to record and remained a popular live attraction.

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