If any doubt existed of Greenwood’s “forever imprint” on America, it was dispelled in 2003—the 20 year anniversary of its release—when “God Bless The USA” was voted online by Americans as the “most recognizable patriotic song” in the nation. The song that Lee Greenwood wrote bested competition that included “God Bless America” and the “National Anthem” as a modern national anthem of the common man.
Like many great careers, Lee’s had humble beginnings on a farm near Sacramento, California. He began honing his musical abilities in Jr. High School, learning to play most of the instruments in the orchestra by age 14. Both of his parents were musicians, and Lee followed in their footsteps from an early age. He was quick to acquire the musical and business skills that would prove necessary for his life as an entertainer.
He formed his first band, the Moonbeams, while still in Jr. High School. By the time he had graduated high school, Lee was already a seasoned performer. His career became the focal point in his life, so much so, that he turned down a music scholarship to the College of the Pacific, abandoned a promising professional baseball career, and even skipped his own high school graduation because he was booked to perform a standing engagement at the Golden Hotel & Casino (now Harrahs) in Reno, Nevada.
For the next several years, Lee was faced with a series of near misses. At one point, Felix Cavaliere, a musician from New York City, approached him about forming a new group called the "Young Rascals" but Lee passed on the opportunity to stay in Las Vegas. The Young Rascals went on to record "Good Lovin" which became a major # 1 hit and a string of other hits.
Reaching out for his own recording opportunity, Lee moved to Los Angeles to record his first solo album on Paramount. This attempt was a successful project but was never released. After a two and half year struggle, Lee returned to Vegas to recover lost economy. Instead of allowing his trials to bring him down, Greenwood found inspiration in coming so close to success. In 1978 he found the courage to leave the security of the Vegas lounges and welcomed the opportunity to fly to Nashville to write and record a demo session with the help of the Mel Tillis Band. The results of this long-shot opportunity led to his contract with MCA and his producer Jerry Crutchfield, then head of MCA Publishing. Their first session together yielded hit songs like "It Turns Me Inside Out," "Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hand." "Ain't No Trick," and introduced this dynamic new recording artist to country music.