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The Great American Epic Isn’t A Poem Or Novel – It’s A Song

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Artists like to aim high.  How many times have you heard that someone has made (or, more typically, “is making”) the greatest rock-and-roll album of all time?  (I’m looking at you, Tom DeLonge and Courtney Love.)  And Stephen Crane and Walt Whitman were certainly not the only poets who believed they were writing the great American epic.

Turns out that the great American epic has been written, and it’s a song: “Song for America” by Kansas from their second album, 1975’s Song for America.  It’s a five-stanza, nine-minute overview of America’s history before and after the colonists came -- before “Across the sea there came a multitude” -- written by guitarist Kerry Livgren (yes, the same guy who wrote “Dust in the Wind”).  If you’re familiar with either Crane’s or Whitman’s work, it may well be that you will prefer Livgren’s take on what America was, intended to be, and became.  It’s maybe (maybe) even better than The Eagles’ “Hotel California” and “The Last Resort” combined.  Check it out and see what you think.


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