Today is Flag Day! Though it's something of a second-tier holiday in the United States, it does mark an important event in the history of the country. On this date in 1777, the Second Continental Congress (the same one that drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence nearly a year earlier) officially adopted the flag of the United States of America. Flag day wasn't established until a proclamation by Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and even then, there wasn't an official Act of Congress establishing the holiday until 1949.
There are a handful of states and localities where Flag Day is formally celebrated with parades and events, but generally it passes without much bluster. However, if you really want to get into the spirit of Flag Day, you should have an all-flag music day. What are the best flags in music? Check out the list below.
The definitive California hardcore band, Black Flag not only delivered punishing slabs of speedy punk but also brushed up against metal, jazz and noisecore styles. The group is best known for launching the career of its iconic frontman Henry Rollins, their classic album Damaged and their manic almost-hit "TV Party."
Perhaps the most political of any of the current bands on the punk rock circuit, Pittsburgh-based Anti-Flag have put out 10 full-length albums' worth of blistering punk power and left-wing stances. Lead by frontman Justin Sane, the group is known best for their 2006 album For Blood and Empire but most certainly hit their peak with the well-balanced and experimental The Bright Lights of America.
Wire's Pink Flag
This classic British band emerged from the U.K. punk scene in the late 1970s and raised a lot of eyebrows with their blend of punk minimalism and new wave experimentation. Wire's 1977 debut Pink Flag is on of the most aggressive and fascinating albums from punk's first wave. (As an aside: What is with punk rock's obsession with flags?)
K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag"
Of all the songs associated with the currently-in-session 2010 FIFA World Cup, K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag" (which is not an official World Cup song but rather a Coca-Cola advertising jingle) is the one that really should become a hit. Somali rapper K'Naan is a rare talent, and his signature tune (re-worked a bit for the World Cup) is both inspirational and catchy-as-hell.
Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta"
One of the best one-hit wonders of the late 1990s, Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" is a whirring buzzsaw of alt-rock guitar, pogo beats and frontman Sean Nelson's unique vocal delivery and literate, playful lyrics. The chorus "I'm not sick, but I'm not well" became a minor anthem when the song hit big in 1998.
Wu-Tang Clan's Iron Flag
Perhaps the Clan's most underrated album, Iron Flag dropped in December 2001 and was full of some of the group's most aggressive raps in the group's career (Ghostface is especially hungry, especially on the single "Uzi (Pinky Ring)"). It's also got some great production from the RZA, who expanded his palette for burners like "Chrome Wheels" and the title track.
Dido's "White Flag"
OK, so the symbol of the "White Flag" is one of surrender, but the chorus has Dido singing "There will be no white flag above my door." So she's sticking to her guns and toughing it out! Also, it's just a really pretty song.
What's your favorite flag-related song, album or artist? Let us know in the comments!