The meaning of the song is an upbeat portrayal of the history of immigration to the United States, both in the early 1900s and modern times. It concludes with an interpolation of the classic patriotic ballad “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” which combines a normally potent tune of Diamond alongside his dramatic orchestration and bombastic singing.

Let Freedom Ring in These Lyrics

The song demonstrates that anyone can achieve the status of an American citizen. No matter where a person was born, they still have the opportunity to become an American citizen.

In contrast to countries like France and China, the United States of America is home to a population that frequently marries across ethnic and cultural lines. In addition, the song demonstrates how being an American means having the opportunity to pursue one’s dreams. Because of the options available, anyone in this country has the ability to dream and make their goals come true.

No matter the stage of life or the perspective they are viewed, progress and growth are concepts that significantly impact how people view the American Dream. People from all over the world emigrated to the United States, believing they could have a better life in this country than the one they were accustomed to living in their home nations.

“America” captures the perspective of an immigrant in America in a brilliant manner and portrays the reasons they choose to start a new life in this nation. The desire for a better life, which America can provide to all its citizens without regard to race, socioeconomic status, or gender, is the “dream” that Diamond discusses.

In an interview on America Live, Neil Diamond said: “It was almost 100 years ago that a little girl twelve years old, was put on a train in Kiev, Russia, and made the journey only 1200 miles to Rotterdam, in Holland. She then boarded a ship to make the great voyage to freedom in a place called America. That little girl was my grandmother. She and her daughter Rose, inspired me to achieve everything that I’ve achieved in my life. Her courage will never be forgotten. It sings in every song I sing. This one is for her.”

Reception, Usage and Updates

The song “America” was first sung by Neil Diamond and published in 1980 on the film The Jazz Singer soundtrack album. It was Diamond’s sixth consecutive number one on the Adult Contemporary chart, and it was a top ten hit in the United States in 1981, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been featured in several TV shows, like Scrubs, The Morning Show, The Pentaverate, The Big Bang Theory, Stargirl, and For the People.

During Neil Diamond’s live performances, “Every Rhythm That Flag’s Unfurled” is a very popular number in the United States and other countries. As a result, a giant American flag is frequently hung from the rafters in time with the song’s lyrics, which state, “They’re Coming to America.”

Americans have utilized the song in diverse settings, such as serving as the anthem for the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis in 1988. It also served as a promotional tool for the 1996 Olympics. Diamond also performed it at the re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty, commemorating its 100th anniversary.

Diamond made a few lyrical adjustments to “America” not long after the terrorist incidents of September 11, and he did so throughout live performances. Near the end, the refrain was changed to “Stand up for America” from the earlier “They’re comin’ to America.”

Despite the patriotic content of the music, Clear Channel Communications included it on a list of songs that were deemed improper after the attacks on September 11. The list was contained in a memorandum.

Far, we’ve been traveling far
Without a home but not without a star
Free, only want to be free
We huddle close, hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again
They’re coming to America

Home, don’t it seem so far away
We’re traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, we’ll say our grace
Freedom’s light burning warm
Freedom’s light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Every time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America

They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America today
Today, today, today, today

My country ’tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing today
Today, today, today
Today, today

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Neil Diamond

America lyrics © Universal Tunes

Neil Diamond fans will also be interested in Digging Deeper Into the Lyrics of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond Listeners that enjoy songs from the 1980’s may also be interested in the song Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.

This article was first published February 23, 2023 and last updated May 19th 2023