Lee, who was born in South Gate, California in 1942, has been active in music since the early 1980s. He has recorded more than twenty major-label albums and has charted more than thirty-five singles on the Billboard country music charts.
Lee began playing the saxophone when he was 7 years old, and at the age of nine became a member of a dance ensemble. In 1969, he joined the Chester Smith Band and appeared on television for the first time. A short time later, he worked with the country musician Del Reeves.
He founded his first band, Apollo, 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. The group recording didn't do wellAfter the band broke up in the 1970s, Greenwood moved back to Las Vegas, where he worked as a blackjack dealer during the day, and as a singer at night.
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 to a recording contract and McFaden became his manager.
His first single, "It Turns Me Inside Out," made it to a spot in the top 20 of the country charts. Greenwood had written this song for Kenny Rogers, but Rogers turned it down. Then, "Ring On Her Finger, Time on Her Hands" landed him in the country top 10.
Besides his single, "God Bless the USA", Greenwood also has had seven Number One hits in his career: "Somebody's Gonna Love You," "Going, Going, Gone," "Dixie Road," "I Don't Mind the Thorns (If You're the Rose)," "Don't Underestimate My Love For You," "Hearts Aren't Made to Break (They're Made to Love)," and "Mornin' Ride."
His 1983 single "I.O.U." was also a Top Five hit on the Adult Contemporary charts, and a #53 on the Billboard Hot 100. A 2001 re-release of "God Bless the USA" became his highest charting pop hit, reaching #16 on the Hot 100.
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