Playlist: The United States of Rock – 50 Songs For 50 States

American playlist - flag picture
(Image credit: Scott Rowley)

To celebrate US Independence Day – the anniversary of the signing of the document that saw the US chuck those pesky tax-demanding Brits out for good – Classic Rock Editor Sian Llewellyn has compiled this extensive playlist of all-American rock music.

Made up of 51 songs – because the USA is made up of 50 states and one district (Washington D.C. is a federal district under the authority of Congress, established by the founding fathers to sit outside of all of the country’s states so that one state would not be more powerful than all the others) – The United States of Rock is a tour of America, state by state, in alphabetical order, that takes in many of of the nation’s great musical artists (Bruce Springsteen, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash), bands who owe a lot to the US (the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Heart) and a whole load of new, cult and surprising names, from RHCP to Big Wreck, Nerf Herder and Wolfmother.

“As a bit of a America-nerd I just compiled this for a laugh,” says Sian. “A few years ago there was a Radio 2 programme where Tim Rice ‘visited’ each state of the US and talked through its musical history and included a load of cool songs, whether it was an artist from the state or a song that simply referenced it. So I just got it in my head to do a 51-song playlist. My criteria was that the song title had to mention the state.

“Some states I was spoiled for choice to pick a song, others (hello Rhode Island, South Dakota) not so much. To that end, I’m not all that keen on Senseless Beauty’s Fear And Loathing In Iowa City, but hey, it’s better than having to listen to Slipknot…”

It’s like a road trip for your ears – enjoy.

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