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July 4 music: What will you listen to this weekend?

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Born-in-the-USA_l I’d argue that a well-chosen soundtrack is as important to any celebration of our nation’s birthday as fireworks or charcoal-grilled foodstuffs. After all, a barbecue without banging tunes is nothing but a woefully missed opportunity. But which tunes are right for a July 4 playlist?

There are countless directions one could go here. Sirius XM satellite radio is launching all sorts of special programming this weekend: the Uncle Sam Radio station will feature America-themed songs by everyone from Simon and Garfunkel to James Brown to Tom Petty, while E Street Radio will broadcast Bruce Springsteen concerts from Independence Days past (as well as one being recorded tonight), to name just two. My girlfriend and I, meanwhile, spent some time this week putting together a Michael Jackson mix for our own July 4 shindig — not technically holiday-themed, I’ll grant you, but can you name another artist whose career says more about late-20th-century America? There’s also the evergreen “patriotic songs” option, whether you go for “The Star-Spangled Banner” or, say, “This Land Is Your Land,” which will always be the real national anthem to me. Or maybe you’d just prefer to repurpose a barbecue mixtape that has nothing to do with July 4, like the one I assembled for Memorial Day last year.

So let’s hear it: Which songs, if any, will be blasting at your July 4 festivities? There are still a few hours left to make last-minute tweaks to your playlist…

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Michael Jackson’s musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him
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