Lee Greenwood: American Patriot Spotlight Exhibition to open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (from the mailbag)


The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil a special
spotlight exhibit dedicated to singer Lee Greenwood on May 10. Lee
Greenwood: American Patriot
, which will be located within the museum's
permanent exhibit on the third floor, will incorporate costumes and other
artifacts spanning Greenwood’s 50 years of musical activity. The exhibition will
run through April 25, 2014.

Lee Greenwood: American Patriot
traces the artist’s personal and professional life from his musical childhood in
California to his award-winning music career. The exhibit also places a special
focus on Greenwood’s most beloved song, “God Bless the USA,” and his work with
military and veterans organizations.

Melvin Lee Greenwood was born
October 27, 1942, and raised by his grandparents on their farm near Sacramento,
California. He learned to play piano and saxophone as a child and quickly became
a skilled entertainer. By the time he graduated from high school, Greenwood had
learned to play most of the instruments in the school band.

In the early
1960s, Greenwood began working the Nevada casino lounge circuit. In 1979, Larry
McFadden, Mel Tillis’s bandleader, heard Greenwood perform. McFadden arranged
for Greenwood to record some demo sessions in Nashville, and that break led to
Greenwood’s recording contract with MCA Records in 1981 and his work with
producer Jerry Crutchfield.

Greenwood scored 20 Top Ten hits between
1983 and 1990. Among them were the chart-toppers “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,”
“Going, Going, Gone” and “Dixie Road.” He has earned numerous industry awards,
including Male Vocalist of the Year for the Academy of Country Music (1983),
Male Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association (1983 and 1984) and
a Grammy for Top Male Vocal Performance in 1985 for “I.O.U.” He also took home
the 1985 CMA Song of the Year award for “God Bless the USA.”

This year
marks the 30th anniversary of “God Bless the USA.” Composed in 1983, it became
a Top Ten country hit for Greenwood in 1984. The tune is one of America’s most
popular and recognizable patriotic songs, thanks, in part, to its popularity
during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and during the aftermath of the September 11,
2001, terrorist attacks on America. For his patriotic songs and his work with
the armed forces, including more than 30 USO tours, Greenwood has been honored
with the prestigious National Patriot’s Award, presented by the Congressional
Medal of Honor Society. In November 2008, President George W. Bush appointed
Greenwood to a six-year term as a council member on the National Endowment for
the Arts.

In the mid-1990s, Greenwood began performing almost daily at
the Lee Greenwood Theater in Sevierville, Tennessee. The residency lasted five
years. Since then, he continues to tour, record and write new material. His
latest EP, I Want to Be in Your World, was released in 2011 for Tate
Music Group. He also devotes substantial time to numerous charitable

Among the artifacts on display in Lee Greenwood:
American Patriot

  • Awards
    presented to Greenwood from United States military units and veterans
  • Stage wear,
    including a red, white and blue American-flag-design leather jacket, and a
    fringed leather jacket with Native American beadwork
  • Letter from
    President George H.W. Bush, thanking Greenwood for participating in Bush’s 1989
    Inaugural ceremony.
  • Greenwood’s
    Henri Selmer Paris saxophone, made in France
  • Greenwood’s
    Grammy, CMA and ACM awards
  • Greenwood’s
    honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Cumberland University and his honorary
    Doctor of Public Service degree from Lincoln Memorial University

exhibits are narratives that supplement themes or aspects of the museum’s core
exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music. These
short-term, informal displays either provide a closer look at a particular
person, group or aspect of country music, or spotlight recently donated items or
special anniversaries. Rotated often, spotlight exhibits also offer a glimpse
into the museum’s unique collection, which includes recorded discs, historical
photographs, films and videotapes; thousands of posters, books, songbooks,
periodicals and sheet music; personal artifacts such as performers’ instruments,
costumes and accessories; and more.

Other current spotlight exhibits
focus on ABC’s Nashville, Garth Brooks, Jack Greene, Minnie Pearl,
Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Connie Smith and Dottie West.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Country Music Hall
of Fame
® and Museum is operated by the
Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization
chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the
preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in
southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also
operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press,
Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show

More information
about the Country Music Hall of Fame
® and
Museum is available at
or by calling (615) 416-2001.

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