Lee Greenwood Makes ‘Big Decision’ About Career: ‘Don’t Think I Can Do This Much Longer’

Lee Greenwood Makes ‘Big Decision’ About Career: ‘Don’t Think I Can Do This Much Longer’

Country music singer Lee Greenwood confirmed in an interview published Monday that the Grammy-winning artist’s 2024 tour will be his last.

“There are rumors of you potentially retiring at the end of 2024. Are those rumors true?” 17-year-old podcast host Brilyn Hollyhand asked Greenwood prior to his Nov. 9 concert in Montgomery, Alabama, Fox News reported.

“It’s not just a rumor. It will be my last year to tour,” Greenwood responded, though he doesn’t know yet where his final performance will be.

The “God Bless the U.S.A.” singer told Hollyhand, who is a co-chair of the Republican National Committee’s youth advisory council, it won’t be “one of those farewell and then come back next year, ‘Hey I’m back,’” types of tours either.

“I just turned 81. This is a factor. I’ve had some surgeries. I have titanium knees. I have a titanium cage in my back with 10 screws. I don’t think I can do this much longer with the two boys in college,” Greenwood  further explained.

Greenwood also wants to spend more time with his wife of 31 years, former Miss Tennessee Kimberly Payne.

“It’s only fair, I think, that I back away at this point and have no distractions but her and I and give these last few years that I will live to her and my two sons,” he added. “So that’s a big decision, and I know it is.”

Asked what message he has for his fans, Greenwood answered, “I’m so grateful for the years that they’ve come to my shows continually.”

“Here I am at the end of my career, and they still come, and they still hear me sing the same 40 songs that I’ve sang for 40 years — and some different ones,” Greenwood recounted with a smile.

The artist’s signature song is the 1984 hit “God Bless the U.S.A.,” though ironically that’s not the one for which he received a Grammy. That was his 1983 song “I.O.U.”

“God Bless the U.S.A.” was nominated for best country song of 1984, and Greenwood for best male vocal performance, but he did not take home the prize for either.

However, the song has stood the test of time.

It first charted in the top 10 (reaching No. 7 on Billboard’s country singles chart) in 1984.

That same year, it was used in a tribute film about then-President Ronald Reagan at the Republican National Convention in Houston.

At the 1988 RNC convention, Greenwood actually sang “God Bless the U.S.A.” with Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan at his side.

Thirteen years later, the singer offered an emotional rendition of the song at Yankee Stadium during the World Series just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The ballad rode a wave of patriotic sentiment at the time reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot Country 100 chart.

Then 15 years later, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump adopted “God Bless the U.S.A.” as his walk on song during his 2016 campaign and still uses it at his rallies.

Greenwood performed the song at Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

The tune hit No. 22 in digital download sales in July of that year.

Finally, in July 2020 it rocketed to the top of the Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart, over 35 years after first being released.

In a 2016 interview, Greenwood talked about the motivation behind “God Bless the U.S.A.”

“I wanted to write it my whole life,” he told The Boot. “When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said, ‘I have a need to do this.’ I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said, ‘We just need to be more united.’”

“When I put it onstage … I think it was the fall of ’83,” Greenwood recalled. “I put it in the middle of the show, just as a brand-new song. Wow, it was like the audience jumped up, and they were applauding … I did it for about two weeks like that, and then I had to put it at the end of the show as an encore; I couldn’t follow it.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated Greenwood won a Grammy for his 1991 duet “Hopelessly Yours” with Suzy Bogguss. He was nominated, but did not win the award that year. 


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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