Feb 052008

I received a link to this video yesterday from John Kerry. (Is anyone else on John Kerry’s mailing list? He bugs the shit out of me. I suppose I should just opt out…) I thought it a brilliant use of a viral video for political marketing where, when it comes to Obama’s vital need of young voters, the medium is much the message.

But it got me thinking about the use of music, specifically contemporary music, in politics. I was moved by the use of Don’t Stop by the Clinton campaign back in the day. I was amused at the misuse and flap over Born in the USA. I’ve heard that Hillary is using American Girl.

Can you think of any others?

Is this Obama video the first use of original music in American politics?


  11 Responses to “Use of Music in Politics”

  1. I’m assuming you mean the first use of original music in a campaign in the video age. Before recording and radio, campaigns had their own songs all the time.

    Assuming that’s what you’re asking, I’m currently stumped for a predecessor.

  2. As any Randy Newman fan knows, Huey Long wrote/commissioned the song “Every Man A King” for his own campaigns, and as everybody who went to high school in Texas and therefore had to take a Texas Government class their junior year knows, border radio star W.T. “Pappy” O’Daniel swept into office based largely on enthusiasm for his western swing band the Light Crust Doughboys, starring Bob Wills.

    And who can forget Jimmy Thudpucker’s campaign song for California state rep Ginny Slade?

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    When I was a kid, I found a beat-up 45 from one of the Nixon campaigns called “Nixon Now (More than Ever).” It sucked.

  4. BigSteve

    Jimmy Carter was backed by Phil Walden, and there was an association with southern rock through him, but no use of any particular song, I don’t think.

  5. meanstom

    Philadelphia Phillies fans of the Hall: you’re gonna let Obama and will.i.am hijack Dave Cash’s premature rallying cry from the mid-70s?

    I take it Bill Clinton’s sax playing on Arsenio does not qualify, right?

  6. alexmagic

    Bill Clinton should have used “Takin’ It To The Streets” for his campaign song. Everything would have fallen into place on that one: “you don’t know me but I’m your brother,” doobie references and I bet he would have loved touring around on his campaign with Michael McDonald, the two of them jamming to “What A Fool Believes”

  7. Pappy O’Daniel used “Man of Constant Sorrow” to win the electorate over in “Oh Brother Where Art Though?”

  8. Mr. Moderator

    I like your Clinton thoughts, Alexmagic, and Shawkilroy, good call! Meansom, I hadn’t thought of the Dave Cash connection. Oh, what a half-season that was!

  9. alexmagic

    Stone Gossard was clearly moved by this thread: http://lists.pearljam.com/Roust/rock_around_barack.m4a

    That’s…that’s unfortunate.

  10. 2000 Man

    It’s not often a video comes along and makes me wish I were watching We Are the World, but every now and then…

  11. sammymaudlin

    Hey man, WE broke this story!

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