Melvin Lee Greenwood is an American country music artist. Active since 1962, he has released more than 20 major-label albums and has charted more than 35 singles on the Billboard country music charts. His 1983 single I. O. U. was also a hit on the adult contemporary charts. Greenwood was born in South Gate, California, a few south of Los Angeles. After the separation of his parents, he grew up near Sacramento on the farm of his maternal grandparents. At the age of seven, he started singing in church, in 1969, he joined the Chester Smith Band and had his first television appearance. A short time later, he worked with the country musician Del Reeves and he founded his first band, The Apollos, in 1962. The band, which changed its name later to Lee Greenwood Affair, played mostly pop music and appeared mostly in casinos in Las Vegas, a few records were recorded in Los Angeles with the Paramount label. After the band broke up in the 1970s, Greenwood moved back to Las Vegas, where he worked as a blackjack dealer during the day, in 1979, he was discovered in Reno, Nevada, by Larry McFaden, the bandleader and bassist of Mel Tillis. After making some demo tapes, Greenwood was signed in 1981 by the Nashville division of the MCA label, the first single, the Jan Crutchfield-penned It Turns Me Inside Out, made it to a spot in the top 20 of the country charts. The song had been written for Kenny Rogers, but Rogers turned it down due to the volume of songs he had been offered at the time. Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands landed him in the country top 10, each song was marketed heavily, particularly in the South Florida market by MCA Account Service Representative Brad Fitzgerald, among others. He is known for writing and recording God Bless the USA in the early 1980s, the song gained renewed popularity following the launch of Operation, Desert Storm in 1991, and again,10 years later, following the September 11,2001 attacks. In fact, God Bless the USA re-entered the top 20 of the charts in late 2001. Since then, Greenwood has played at public events and commemorations of the attacks. He performed on the Make America Great, welcome Celebration the day before Inauguration of Donald Trump. God Bless the USA was used by Donald Trump as one of his songs in his campaign to become president of the United States. In November 2008, President George W. Bush appointed Greenwood to a term to the National Council on the Arts
Greenwood in 2005
Greenwood performing "God Bless the USA" at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March 2013.