Neil Diamond – “America” (from The Jazz Singer [1980] & Born In East LA [1987])

I know this song is far from the normal “indie” music that we tend to promote on this site, but today, on the 4th of July, I believe we can make an exception.  Growing up in the United States as the child of undocumented Mexican immigrants, this song always had a certain “holiness” to it in my family.  Even though it was written by a Jewish-American, the amazing Neil Diamond for his 1980 remake of the 1927 The Jazz Singer, it is not surprising that my parents kind of held this song as representative of them.  It is clearly there in the lyrics and the big, loud, bombastic music (very much like the country and it’s people the song speaks about).

Growing up it could have easily fallen into the “cheesy music my parents listen to” but 1) I have always loved cheesy music and 2) the role this song plays in the hilarious 1987 Cheech Marin comedy, Born In East LA, in a central part of the movie also helped cement it’s place with my siblings, not only my parents.

Sometimes things are just cheesy but still feel good and are comforting.  This song, for me, is.




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