Politicians & Their Campaign Songs


by Joseph Sarrington Smith

You’re a politician. You need to sell yourself somehow. You travel around the country. You talk to people and you shake a lot of hands. You must win that election. But something’s missing. You need your own theme tune. What a curious thing this is. The ritual of having to find that one song that lyrically encapsulates everything you stand for, whilst simultaneously having to be catchy and fun. You must give people hope; a reason to be optimistic about the future. Don’t screw it up, the public will never forgive you.

I still vaguely remember the Labour Party choosing ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by ‘D:Ream’ as their song for the 1997 UK General Election. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight did that statement really turn out to be true? Answers on a postcard please!

Having researched Presidential campaign songs, I was most amused to see that Ross Perot decided to use ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline as his song in 1992. I’m not entirely sure what he was thinking. That’s a huge risk, surely.

But I was even more amused to see that The Rolling Stones, Adele, Aerosmith, Neil Young and R.E.M. have all asked Donald Trump to stop using their music at his campaign rallies. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (a subtly horrifying choice the more I think about it) and ‘Start Me Up’ (no thanks) had been used at some of his events. Other songs that could be heard included ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’. It certainly will be if we’re not careful…

A few months ago, I saw the most unsettling video on Youtube. Three cheerleaders (and these girls looked no older than 10) doing a song and dance routine at one of Trump’s rallies whilst the crowd seated behind them looked on, smiling and clapping. Honestly, it was like watching a Hieronymus Bosch painting coming to life.

Contrast all this with Hillary “Party Girl” Clinton whose choices for 2016 have included Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Beautiful Day’ and ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry. They’ve become firm favourites in Pantoland. But will it be a fairytale ending?

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