Known for: Raised in North Sacramento, Greenwood became an award-winning singer-songwriter whose "God Bless the USA" has been a patriotic favorite for more than two decades.
Background: Greenwood was raised on a chicken farm by his grandparents and attended Norte Del Rio High School. A musician for much of his young life, he skipped his high school graduation ceremony because he had a show to play at the Golden Hotel and Casino in Reno. Wanting to pursue a solo career, he eventually became a regular on the Las Vegas casino circuit. Greenwood was signed in 1981 by the Nashville-based MCA label, and his first hit was "Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands." In 1984, he released "God Bless the USA," which was played at that year's Republican National Convention. The song became increasingly popular after the 1991 Gulf War and the 9/11 attacks. It is now regularly played during fireworks, at parades and other events.
A highlight: Greenwood has won two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association. He also won the CMA Song of the Year honor in 1985 for "God Bless the USA." and the Top Male Vocal Performance in 1983 for "I.O.U."
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.