About this playlist

America – the USA – is the cradle of all Western popular music. The first pop to be widely recorded was jazz, born in the wild brothels and bars of New Orleans’ Storyville district, then more widely disseminated by the likes of Jellyroll Morton and Louis Armstrong. From there the US was responsible for the birth of a multitude of musical styles – blues, rock’n’roll, surf music, punk, hip hop, house, techno, and on and on. It’s a country whose size takes in many more styles than can be fitted in a 50 track playlist but our American Anthems give a rich, varied flavour of what makes it, arguably, the world’s key musical hub.

When we hear the phrase ‘American Anthems’, we think of the open road, the sound of the highways, of pedal-to-the-metal in a Ford Trans-Am crossing endless prairies and deserts with the radio on. So, of course, we have on board The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steppenwolf, Canned Heat, Don Maclean, Grand Funk Railroad, America and the rest. But what makes the US truly exciting is its diversity. Musical juxtaposition is where the true essence of America lies – Jerry Reed’s ‘Are You From Dixie (‘Cause I’m From Dixie Too)’, a good ole boy ode to the Deep South, is perched next to the dispossessed urban rage of NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’; or how about the squeaky clean but superbly catchy manufactured pop of Britney Spears’ debut, ‘…Baby One More Time’ sat next to the bellowing, politicized ‘60s proto-punk of Detroit’s MC5? The segues between such songs are where we truly find the essence of America.

By the same token, our playlist finds time to take in the birth of house (Frankie Knuckles) and techno (Rhythim is Rhythim – AKA Derrick May), blues (Howlin’ Wolf’), rock’n’roll (Little Richard, Chuck Berry) and much more, with especial attention played to tunes that seem to be imprinted on the American psyche, whether that be the sweaty teen jock-rock of KISS and Brownsville Station, or the seminal, countercultural edge of Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe & the Fish. Hit play and take a trip across the Big Country.

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