Independence Day (Martina McBride song)

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"Independence Day"
Single by Martina McBride
from the album The Way That I Am
B-side"True Blue Fool"[1]
ReleasedMay 2, 1994
LabelRCA Nashville
Songwriter(s)Gretchen Peters
Producer(s)Paul Worley, Ed Seay, Martina McBride
Martina McBride singles chronology
"Life #9"
"Independence Day"
"Heart Trouble"

"Independence Day" is a song written by Gretchen Peters, and recorded by American country music singer Martina McBride. The song was officially released in May 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, Martina 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]

"Independence Day" won the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in 1995, making Peters only the second woman to win the award and the fourteenth songwriter to win the award with a solo composition.[1]


In the song, a daughter (Heidi Butler Prine) recalls a tragic incident she experienced as a child. Her mother (Darcie Jones) was involved in a domestic abuse incident with her alcoholic father (Aaron Wrench). On Independence Day, the daughter walks to the town fair and hears rumors going on about the father's abuse. Apparently the whole town knew about the abuse, but did nothing to help stop it. That day, the mother burns down their house, presumably with the husband and herself inside it, and the daughter is sent to a county home. The music video was produced by American director team Deaton-Flanigen Productions, consisting of William Deaton III and George Flanigen IV, and premiered on CMT on May 20, 1994.

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.

Critical reception[edit]

In 2024, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #45 on its 200 Greatest Country Songs of All Time ranking.[6]

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. Writer Gretchen Peters objected to Hannity's use, arguing the song was about domestic violence, not patriotic values. Since she could not stop his use, she collected royalties from him every time it was played and used those royalties to donate to her causes, until Hannity's program dropped the song in mid-2014.[7]


Credits from album liner notes.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[9] 15
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 12


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[11] Platinum 1,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result
1994 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year[12] Nominated
1995 Grammy Awards Best Country Vocal Performance - Female Nominated
1995 Grammy Awards Best Country Song Nominated
1995 Country Music Association Awards Song of the Year[13] Won
1994 Country Music Association Awards Video of the Year[14] Won

It received the RIAA Gold Certificate on December 12, 2018.[15]

Cover versions[edit]

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

In 2003, Pat Benatar performed the song in a duet with Martina McBride on the CMT television series CMT Crossroads.

On American Idol, Carrie Underwood, Lil Rounds, and Tristan McIntosh have each performed the song on the show. Carrie 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 Martina McBride, who was being honoured as part of ACM's Girls Night Out - Superstar Women of Country show.

In 2019, Martina McBride performed the song as the opener to the 53rd CMA Awards alongside a host of other women in country music. Those featured were: Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Nettles, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, The Highwomen, Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, Terri Clark and Sara Evans.

In October 2019, Kelly Clarkson performed Independence Day during the Kellyoke segment of her daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show.[16]

In 2021, the band American Aquarium recorded the song on their album Slappers, Bangers and Certified Twangers Vol. 2.


  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  2. ^ Archived 2021-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Archived 2008-03-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 2014.
  5. ^ Matt Bjorke (July 13, 2015). "The Top 30 Digital Country Singles: July 13, 2015". Roughstock.
  6. ^ "The 200 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 24, 2014.
  7. ^ "Independence Day by Martina McBride - Songfacts".
  8. ^ The Way That I Am (CD). Martina McBride. RCA Records. 1993. 66288.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2576." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 29, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  10. ^ "Martina McBride Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "American single certifications – Martina McBride – Independence Day". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  12. ^ "1994 Academy of Country Music Awards". MetroLyrics. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ "Who's won the most CMA Awards? Get the answer here. Gretchen Peters". Country Music Association Awards. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Who's won the most CMA Awards? Get the answer here. Martina McBride". Country Music Association Awards. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Gold & Platinum". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  16. ^ "Kellyoke | Independence Day (Martina McBride)". YouTube.