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American Anthem

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Gloria Gaynor has said she's pretty sure her signature song, the 1978 disco smash "I Will Survive," was created just for her. But the singer had to go through a lot before she and the song found each other.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


It was a coincidence that the police were there.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

The radio version of this story includes conversations with campers and counselors at girls' rock camps, where "Rebel Girl" has become essential listening. Hear the piece at the audio link .

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


There's a certain kind of song you just want to crank up after a bad breakup or a rough day at work. In 1963, a young singer renowned for a hit about getting ditched at a party unleashed just such an anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Editor's note: This story includes discussions of depression, addiction and suicide.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's International Women's Day today, and we are marking the occasion with a song that urges women to speak up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "QUIET")

CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR!: (Singing) I can't keep quiet. No, no, no. A one-woman riot - no, no, no.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


It was February 1967, and 18-year-old Marine Pfc. Bill Ehrhart was days away from leaving for Vietnam. He had just enjoyed his last weekend off base, and his friends had offered to drive him back to Camp Pendleton, Calif., before sunrise.

"It was goodbye civilian world, next stop Vietnam," says Ehrhart, now a writer and poet.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Disney's Frozen remains one of the greatest box-office successes in history. But in terms of impact and influence, it is perhaps most loved and best remembered for one of its breakout songs.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


By the early 1960s, Nina Simone was well-known to the world as a singer, songwriter and classically trained pianist. But around 1963, as race relations in America hit a boiling point, she made a sharp turn in her music — toward activism.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


George M. Cohan was 64, and had just a few weeks to live, when producers showed him the movie they'd made about his astonishingly productive life.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


It starts with one of the best known guitar riffs in rock and roll. What follows is a down-home ode to the state that is known as the heart of Dixie: folksy colloquialisms, eternal blue skies, family. Pretty simple, right? Maybe not.

YouTube

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action.

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