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The Americans – Byron MacGregor

Bryon MacGregor The Americans“The Americans” by Bryon MacGregor may be one of the most bizarre one-hit wonders ever. It’s essentially a patriotic testimonial from a Canadian news anchor who applauds the pluck and moxie and charitable nature of Americans compared to many other countries across the world.

It’s a spoken-word piece with “America the Beautiful” as the background. And it was a huge hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1974. That made Bryon MacGregor a one-hit wonder. In fact, it makes him a patriotic one-hit wonder along with “Dawn of Correction” by The Spokesmen and “An American Trilogy” by Mickey Newbury.

Here’s the story behind the patriotic song: In 1973, newsman MacGregor read a newspaper editorial supporting America that was written by Gordon Sinclair of CFRB in Toronto. The reading was part of a public affairs program. No music. No drama. Just a fairly straightforward reading of another man’s opinion.

The commentary and message essentialy went viral (if such a thing was possible in the early 1970s) and MacGregor was asked to record “The Americans” with “America the Beautiful” as the background music. Amazingly, the song has sold more than 3.5-million copies. That makes “The Americans” a triple-platinum single. Best of all, MacGregor donated all of his royalties to the American Red Cross.

Swirl that scenario around your mind for a few moments.

Think about lyrics like these:
This Canadian thinks
It’s time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous
And possibly the least appreciated people in all the earth

Or these:
I can name you five thousand times
When the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble
Can you name me even one time
When some one else raced to the Americans in trouble

Does this qualify as a jingoistic rant if the rant is by a Canadian?

Does the song make you want to pump your chest as an American?

What do international readers make of this song? Please weigh in.

Listen to more patriotic one-hit wonders

Listen to “The Americans” by Byron MacGregor

Read lyrics to The Americans by Byron MacGregor

The United States dollar took another pounding on German
French and British exchanges this morning
Hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany
It has declined there by forty-one percent
Since 1971 and his Canadian thinks
It’s time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous
And possibly the least appreciated people in all the earth
As long as sixty years ago
When I first started to read newspapers
I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse
Who rushed in with men and money to help
The Americans did
They have helped control floods on the Nile
The Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger
Today the rich bottom land
Of the Mississippi is under water
And no foreign land has sent a dollar to help
Germany, Japan and to a lesser extent
Britain and Italy
Were lifted out of the debris Of war by the Americans
Who poured in billions of dollars
And forgave other billions in debts
None of those countries is today paying even the interest
On its remaining debts to the United States
When the Franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956
It was the Americans who propped it up
And the reward was to be insulted
And swindled on the streets of Paris
I was there
I saw it
When distant cities are hit by earthquakes
It is the United States that hurries in to help
Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples
So far this spring, fifty-nine American communities
Have been flattened by tornadoes
Nobody has helped
The Marshall Plan
The Truman Policy
All pumped billions upon billions
Of dollars into discouraged countries
Now newspapers in those countries
Are writing about the decadent war mongering Americans
I’d like to just see one of those countries
That is gloating over the erosion of the United States Dollar
Build its own airplanes
Come on, let’s hear it
Does any other country in the world
Have a plane to equal the Boeing jumbo jet
The Lockheed Tri-star or the Douglas-10
If so, why don`t they fly them
Why do all international lines
Except Russia, fly American planes
Why does no other land on earth
Even consider putting a man or a woman on the moon
You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios
You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles
You talk about American technocracy and you will find men on the moon
Not once but several times and safely home again
You talk about scandals
And the Americans put theirs right in the store window
For everybody to look at
Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded
They are here on our streets
Most of them unless they are breaking Canadian laws
Are getting American Dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here
When the Americans get out of this bind, as they will
Who could blame them if they said
The hell with the rest of the world
Let someone else buy the Israel bonds
Let someone else build or repair foreign dams
Or design foreign buildings
That won’t shake apart in earthquakes
When the railways of France, Germany and India
Were breaking down through age
It was the Americans who rebuilt them
When the Pennsylvania Railroad
And the New York Central went broke
Nobody loaned them an old caboose
Both are still broke
I can name you five thousand times
When the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble
Can you name me even one time
When some one else raced to the Americans in trouble
I don’t think there was outside help
Even during the San Francisco earthquake
Our neighbors have faced it alone
And I’m one Canadian who’s damned tired
Of hearing them kicked around
They will come out of this thing with their flag high
And when they do they are entitled to thumb their nose
At the lands that are gloating over their present troubles
I hope Canada is not one of these
But there are many smug self-righteous Canadians
And finally, the American Red Cross
Was told at it’s forty-eighth annual meeting
In New Orleans that it was broke
This years disasters
Have taken it all
And nobody but nobody has helped

Buy The Americans by Byron MacGregor

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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One Response to "The Americans – Byron MacGregor"

  1. hm insulators says:

    Just got done with lunch while reading the newest edition of Joel Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” that just was published and found this: Another version of it by Gordon Sinclair was a smaller hit (Number 24) at the same time. Wonder how often that happens: two versions of the same spoken word “song” hitting the chart at the same time. Sinclair was also a one-hit wonder.

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