Campaign Theme Songs

Political discussions on our faculty listserv have become quite nasty, with the Hilary bashers clobbering anyone who dare challenge them. So, after reading on Wonkette that the founder of the 70s’ rock band Boston, Tom Scholz (who supports Obama), wants the Huckabeast to stop using their song “More than a Feeling” without permission, and John Mellencamp has told Walnuts to lay off his “Little Pink Houses,” I asked my colleagues to list their favorite campaign theme songs.

My buddy in the English department, who hosts a show called “Frank, Gil, and Friends” on the campus radio station, not surprisingly replied:

“Not only did Frank Sinatra record the best campaign song ever, Sammy Cahn’s revision of his own lyric for “High Hopes” (with it’s “K-E-Double N-E-D-Y, Jack is the nation’s favorite guy…”), along with several other political special lyrics (as already noted), Sinatra also produced the two best inaugural galas: 1961’s or Kennedy (in the midst of a huge snowstorm in DC) and 1981’s for Reagan — despite his singing “Nancy (with the Reagan Face)”.

Of course, lest we forget, he also campaigned in ’72 with golfing buddy Spiro Agnew (singing, to the tune of Rodgers and Hart’s “The Lady is a Tramp,” “That’s why the Gentleman is a Champ”).

But, perhaps most significantly (and least known), in 1946, to promote a new health care program in one of the Carolinas or Georgia, he and Dinah Shore recorded the best health care song ever, “It’s all up to you,” which goes, in part:

“And if we do then we will be the state
where the weak grow strong
and the strong grow great.”

If the Clintons had only resurrected it back in the ’90s, I’m not unconvinced that we’d have universal health care now.

Sinatra-ly yours,


PS: The best election-themed song? John Wesley Harding’s “Election Night”

I met you on Election Night
As we cried over our beer
Nothing you could do would cheer me up
We broke up later that year
How come you and I aren’t winners?
Why weren’t we born the other side?
And it’s raining
And It’s raining
On Election Night

You fight, you fight but nothing changes
And when it does the payback’s worse
We arrived here in the limo
We’re going back home in a hearse
You know we’re leaving none the wiser
I guess that we’re just not that bright
So I’ll see you
I’ll see you
Next Election Night

These balloons look so deflated
As they slowly float on down
It’s been 4 years we’ve been waiting
For those balloons to hit the ground
It looks like you backed a real loser
Who thinks that life is black and white
And it’s raining
Yes it’s raining
On Election Night”

Another colleague, a quiet fellow from the School of Technology, came up with a Queen greatest hists list:

The best campaign theme song?

“Since all the winning campaigns celebrate with “We Are the Champions” by Queen

And all defeated listen to “My Melancholy Blues” by Queen

I suggest the following:

For Hillary:

“Gimme The Prize” by Queen

or “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Z (substitute word heaven with White House)

For Baraka:

“Who Needs You” by Queen

For all politicians still in the race:

“Dreamers Ball” by Queen

For all politicians who were, are or will be in the race:

“Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen

For all voters and listeners of debates:

“Radio Ga Ga” by Queen


Keeping in the same vein, I suggested that Walnuts switch to “Back in Black” by AC/DC. I’ll stop my ears and let Hilary have her Celine Dion. But if Obama is really about change, he should use “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. But that would mean having to abandon his promises to the farm lobby to do for ethanol what Earl Butts did for high fructose corn syrup.

More suggestions:

“Since we have moved on to AC/DC, how about “Highway to Hell”? Open to whichever candidate would like it.” [looks like Rudy 9/11iani has that one locked up]]

“Well, musically I would have to go with everyone who loves the Chairman of the Board, though you gotta love Public Enemy, but hey, it’s too much fun to play along, so how about “Kick out the Jams” by MC5? Or “We Can Be Together” by Jefferson Airplane? (I love the thought of some flunky choosing either of these based on the titles 🙂 Then again, I think the clear winner is “Alabama Song” by Brecht and Weill.

At the time of Jerry Garcia’s death, former Massachusetts Republican Governor Bill Weld mused that his favorite Grateful Dead song was “Ripple”. Very lovely and mellow.
I surmise that he liked it because of these lines, apropos of politicians everywhere:

“You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone,
If you should stand, then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way, I would take you home.”

I think the American people are leading the politicians to take our children home from Iraq. Let’s hope the politicians follow…”

3 thoughts on “Campaign Theme Songs

  1. Funny post–one question first: why do you call McCain “Walnuts?” (It’s funny, but I don’t get the joke. I can haz xplanation now?)

    Celine Dion is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad. HRC could solidify her support with the 55+ crowd and up her cool a LOT if she picked up Jimi Hendrix’s Star-Spangled Banner, I think. No words to get in the way, but about the best ever arrangement for a curious but very recognizeable tune, don’t you think?

  2. The term Walnuts refers to McCain’s chipmunk cheeks. I didn’t coin it — first saw it on Wonkette, then in various satirical videos on Youtube.

    I’d like to see HRC adopt Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” so that maybe she’ll get some.

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