Independence Day (Martina McBride song)

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"Independence Day"
Martina McBride - Independence Day cover.png
Single by Martina McBride
from the album The Way That I Am
B-side "True Blue Fool"[1]
Released April 25, 1994
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 3:25
Label RCA Nashville
Writer(s) Gretchen Peters
Producer(s) Paul Worley
Ed Seay
Martina McBride
Martina McBride singles chronology
"Life #9"
"Independence Day"
"Heart Trouble"
Music video
"Independence Day" at

"Independence Day" is a song written by Gretchen Peters, and performed by American country music singer Martina McBride. It was released in April 1994 as the third single from her album The Way That I Am. The song peaked at number 12 on Hot Country Songs.[2] Peters later recorded it herself on her 1996 album The Secret of Life. It was first offered to Reba McEntire, who turned it down.[3]

In 2003, it ranked 50th in CMT's 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music. The following year, it ranked #2 in CMT's 100 Greatest Videos in Country Music. The song was also featured in CMT's Controversy in terms of release and included interviews from "The Today Show" reporter Tiki Barber, Brad Paisley, McBride herself, and former National Organization for Women president Patricia Ireland. In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #77 in their list of the 100 greatest country songs.[4] The song has sold 550,000 copies in the US as of July 2015.[5]

Songwriter Gretchen Peters received the Country Music Association's Song of the Year award in 1995 for "Independence Day."[1]

Lyrics and video[edit]

The song is sung from the point of view of a daughter who recounts her mother's response to domestic abuse. The song's music video was somewhat controversial at the time of its release, because of its graphic depiction of domestic violence and how everyone in town seemingly knew about it, but did nothing to help stop it. The ending of the video is particularly intense, as it shows the young girl's home burning to the ground, implying that the mother had been responsible for the fire, and the abusive father perished in the fire. McBride has said the mother does not die in the fire, as she has now gained her independence from an abusive relationship. In the official music video, the girl is at the 4th of July parade when she sees two clowns pretending to hit one another and the sight hits too close to home. Suddenly, she no longer sees the parade as fun and returns home. The home is immolated by the time she gets back and she is shown towards the end of the video crying in the back seat of a police cruiser as she is being taken away to the county children's home. The music video was filmed by the American director team Deaton-Flanigen Productions, consisting of William Deaton III and George Flanigen IV.

The lyrics have a double meaning in that the woman in the story is finally gaining her "freedom" from her abusive husband. Thus, it is her "Independence Day." The title also refers to the fact that the events noted in the song happened on the United States' Independence Day, or July 4.

According to National Public Radio as broadcast on 4/3/17 the song is about Francine Hughes, an American woman who, after thirteen years of domestic abuse, set fire to the bed of her live-in ex-husband Mickey Hughes, on March 9, 1977. Mickey was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting fire.[citation needed]

In media[edit]

Beginning shortly after September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, Sean Hannity began using part of the chorus as an opening bumper for his Premiere Radio Networks radio talk show. The song is about domestic violence, not patriotic values, according to the writer of the song, Gretchen Peters, who does not agree with Hannity's use of the song. Since she cannot stop his use, she collects royalties from him every time it is played and uses those royalties to donate to her causes [6]

Hannity chose the elements that could be seen as applicable to the people, culture, and geopolitics surrounding the attack and the American response: "Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing. Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning. Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong, roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it's Independence Day."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 15
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 12


Year Ceremony Award Result
1994 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year[9] Nominated
1995 Grammy Awards Best Country & Western Vocal Performance - Female Nominated
1995 Grammy Awards Best Country Song Nominated
1995 Country Music Association Awards Song of the Year[10]
1994 Country Music Association Awards Video of the Year [11]

Cover versions[edit]

In 2002, singer Taylor Horn covered the song for her debut album taylor-made at the age of nine.

In 2003, 1980s pop superstar Pat Benatar performed the song in a duet with McBride on the CMT television series Crossroads.

On American Idol, Carrie Underwood, Lil Rounds, and Tristan McIntosh have each performed the song on the show. Underwood also released the song as a B-side track with her single of "Inside Your Heaven".

In 2011, Little Big Town performed Independence Day as a tribute to McBride, who was being honoured as part of ACM's Girls Night Out - Superstar Women of Country show.