As I am now blogging about Jazz, I run across tidbits. Doing the research for this subject covered so many genre and viewpoints that I decided to keep it for my blog.

When you are running for office, there are a ton of things that you have to do.  Some take really heavy lifting, some take a lot of brain power and others need commitment.  Things like shaking hands and kissing babies, should come naturally.  But the problem is, campaigns are sale pitches, and politicians are not always good salesmen, so picking the song doesn’t seem like a big deal.  You would think that it is a natural outgrowth of the candidate, something that they like, something that kinda says what they believe or what they want to do.  Not always so.

Some of the good ones were

  • You Gotta Be by Des’ree was released in 1995 and peaked on the charts at number 5.  It may be the only smooth jazz song ever used in such a way.  Back in 2003 when the Presidential primary candidates were being interviewed, Carol Mosley Braun said it as her campaign song.
  • We Take Care of Our Own – Bruce Springsteen – Barack O’Bama for 2012 campaign.  We were at war and it has a good line about ‘wherever the flag flies, we take care of our own.”
  • Don’t Stop Believing – Fleetwood Mac – Bill Clinton used it successfully for his second run for office.  And we all know what a jazzy president he was, saxophone and all.
  • Soul Man – Sam and Dave – Bob Dole had the decency to go to the remaining member of the duo, Sam and have him sing the modified the lyrics as “I’m A Dole Man” instead of flat out stealing it.

Others were puzzling at best, like This Land is My Land by Woody Guthrie was used by George H.W. Bush.  Amazing that a Republican would want to hear a communist’s song every time he was introduced at an event.  Go figure.  Or Crazy by Patsy Cline as a reaction by Ross Perot to the critics of his campaign. I guess this mental face slap at his detractors didn’t work to his advantage.

  • Coming to America – Neil Diamond – Michael Dukakis was trying to say something about his immigrant roots.
  •  Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival  –  was John Kerry’s attempt to take away some negativity of his ‘rich boy’ persona.

Some artists do not like having their music picked.  Several who have reclaimed their songs away from politicians who wanted to use them are:

  • Heart sued Sarah Palin who used Barracuda a few times because it was her high school nickname. Heart won.
  • Twisted Sister denounced Paul Ryan’s use of We’re Not Gonna Take It, with a letter from their lawyer and a press release.  He had to take not using it from that point forward.
  • Tom Petty threatened to sue George W. Bush for using his song Back Down.  Fortunate for George he backed down before things went to court.
  • Panic Switch by Silversun Pickups nearly got Mitt Romney sued. I had no idea that Mitt was into heavy metal, but once Silversun Pickups’ lawyer asked them to stop, they did.  He probably picked it because it has a long instrumental lead in, full of energy, but I can’t imagine he listened to the lyrics all the way through.  Especially the line about ‘being in bed with what was mine,” which hints about an ex wife or lover and was repeated several times.  Or the line, “Do you think I’ll sleep with the Panic Switch?”  Well yeah, if you run for President, you get custody of the big panic switch that is attached to all the nukes, so I bet you will be sleeping with it.  In this case, I suspect that the job of selecting a song was left to some young intern or volunteer who knew one of the Romney kids.  I don’t think a candidate would pick a song that repeats the line ‘Waiting fading floating away’ over and over near the end?  Doesn’t sound like a good sentiment for a campaign to me.

So my question is, why hasn’t anyone used “Fly Like An Eagle”?  It is our national bird and one of the chorus says ‘feed the babies that don’t have enough to eat, shoe the children with no shoes on their feet, house the people living on the street’.  Isn’t that what politicians should be doing, solving problems like that?  Guess the word revolution makes it unusable.

Maybe it’s the voters who need a song?  May I suggest we use the first stanza of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep –  “Rolling In The Deep”   –  check out the lyrics

There’s a fire starting in my heart, Reaching a fever pitch, it’s bringing me out the dark

Finally I can see you crystal clear, Go ‘head and sell me out and I’ll lay your shit bare

See how I leave with every piece of you, Don’t underestimate the things that I will do. 

Off to the polling place anyone?


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