Martina McBride had a major hit 25 years ago, with her women's anthem, "Independence Day." The song, from her sophomore The Way That I Am album, has become a regular on radio every July 4th, which the singer isn't entirely in favor of.
"I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest," McBride told Rolling Stone of the song's usage. "I have always had such a connection to the real meaning of the song, and it's – 'annoying' isn't the word – interesting that some people just don't understand what the song is about at all."
The song, about a woman who burns her house down to escape an abusive relationship, has a powerful message that McBride almost didn't get to share.
"It was interesting because we received initial pushback on the song, and I was so confused by that," McBride said. "I was like, 'Why wouldn't they play this song?; My record promotion people came to me and said, 'It probably isn't going to work; there's a lot of radio stations that just aren't going to play it.'"
McBride decided to call radio stations on her own, trying to figure out why the song wouldn't be played.
"They were like, 'I don't think this needs to be on my radio station. I don't think people need to be hearing this,'" McBride recounted. "And I'm like, 'Well, it's on your news every hour. This is topical.' And then I had one music director who said, 'You know, if that [music] video is on, and my young daughter walks through the room, I have to have a discussion with her and explain it to her.' And I thought to myself, 'Well, maybe that's not such a bad idea. What's wrong with that?'"
The cookbook author does recall one time when "Independence Day" made sense – her performance at Farm Aid in 2001, only two weeks after the Sept. 11 tragedy.
"We were all so raw, we'd never been through anything like that before," McBride recounted. "The decisions that we were making — that I was making — were based on emotion, and trying to have solidarity and pulling together as a country. When I realized that the words to that chorus, 'let freedom ring,' kind of mirror what we were all feeling at the time, I made that decision to do that. But looking back, I never want to take away from what the song is really about."
Photo Credit: Getty images / John Shearer