In April of 1994, Martina McBride released “Independence Day.” The song never became a number one hit, but it is perhaps her most iconic song to date, and it shouldn’t have been hers in the first place. It was originally offered to Reba.
Written by songwriter Gretchen Peters, over the span of 18 months, the song title works more as a metaphor for a woman gaining her independence from an abusive husband. The song was written from the point of view of the young daughter, an idea that Peters said worked the best for the song, as children have an honesty and direct view of events going on around them.
The song and the video caused controversy, as the video shows the abused mother burning down her home, killing her husband, and thus causing her young daughter to be sent to the care of the county. More importantly, the song brought to light the topic of domestic violence. Some radio stations refused to play the song, which prompted McBride to even make some personal phone calls to try and change some minds. But even that didn’t work.
It was the summer of 1994, and the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson shined a light on domestic violence, and opened Americans and the medias eyes to an all too common evil. With the murder and the trial constantly in the spotlight, McBride saw “Independence Day” climb the charts, and also saw it being picked up by the radio stations that previously refused to air it.
Regardless of peoples views of the song, it earned numerous Grammy nominations, and went on to win the CMA Song of the Year and CMA Video of the Year in 1994. More importantly, it carried an important message that touched people, made people sit up and listen, and brought an important issue to the forefront of everyone’s mind.