For years, political campaign organizers have used pop music to punctuate their rallies and speeches with familiar hymns. It’s such a common practice that the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has a list of guidelines for proper use so that artists get paid and can give their approval before being associated with a campaign.
The use of these songs is generally done in two ways: either they become a clever anthem that speaks to a generation of untapped voices – like Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” by will.i.am or the use of presidential hopeful Bill Clinton. of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” – or they are hilariously unconscious choices that spell out the true motives of a campaign better than Bad Religion or Rage Against the Machine ever could. Conservatives used “Born in the USA” when they really shouldn’t, but there are other really goofy uses of popular songs in politics. Here are some of the best worst picks from these songs:
1. Ross Perot and Patsy Cline
The failed third-party presidential candidate and philanthropist from Dallas has done a lot for his city and his country. A local play that premiered earlier this year at the Coppell Arts Center titled Perot! american patriot showed a side of Perot that doesn’t immediately come to mind, even in the communities he helped build. He built a gigantic tech company from the ground up, spent millions to free two of his employees from an Iranian prison and donated a small fortune to build cultural facilities, civic groups and educational entities. .
The less successful parts of his failed campaign for president in 1992 as a third-party candidate often overshadow his accomplishments and generosity. It didn’t help that the song he personally chose for his campaign was Patsy Cline’s tearful country classic “Crazy.” Perot even kicked off his campaign with the song, which was performed by a full jazz band from Dixieland. It was an unusual and ambitious choice, but it only fueled the narrative used against him as a wild-eyed industrialist who only ran because he had the kind of bread needed to fund a presidential campaign. . If Perot hadn’t chosen the song, we’re sure Ted Cruz would have for his own doomed presidential campaign.
2. Donald Trump and Pharrell Williams
If you’re surprised that former president and possible future criminal Donald Trump used an artist’s song without paying for it or even asking permission, then you really don’t care. Trump has built his career by not paying for things – including contractors, partners and even his own employees. How does a guy who doesn’t pay his own people the money they deserve ALWAYS find a way to bankrupt an Atlantic City casino? Trump literally had to eat money because it’s the closest he’s ever gotten to trying anything green.
The list of artists who have complained and threatened to take legal action against Trump for using songs at rallies is long: Adele, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Neil Young, Brian May of Queen, Eddie Levert of O’Jays. The dumbest example, however, was when Trump used Pharrell Williams’ catchy summer hit “Happy” in 2018. Trump’s folks chose to play “Happy” at a rally in Illinois on October 27, 2018, just hours after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Williams demanded that the campaign stop using her song with a cease and desist letter. Trump, who would rather cut a limb (or hire someone to do it for him and not pay him) than admit he made a mistake, defended the use of the song to Laura Ingrahm from Fox News, saying “gatherings are meant to be fun.”
3. Bob Dole and Sam & Dave
Few musicians have had such an impact on industry and culture as the soulful duo of Sam Moore and David Prater. They introduced future geniuses, working with artists such as Isaac Hayes and Booker T. and the MGs, and they influenced some of the biggest names in modern music. The couple bridged a deep racial divide with their ability to speak to any music lover.
Their music also gave us one of the most hilarious attempts by a politician to sound cool, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Hillary Clinton danced “The Macarena.” US Senator Bob Dole ran against President Bill Clinton in 1996 after Clinton’s first term. He must have known that Clinton’s team success with the Fleetwood Mac song would be hard to beat, but Dole gave it a try with Sam & Dave’s mega hit “Soul Man.” But Dole didn’t just embrace the song as is — which would have been pretty funny. Instead, he incorporated Weird Al-ed “Soul Man” into a campaign song called “I’m a Dole Man”. The song didn’t even have any lyrics beyond the chorus, with the words “I’m a Dole man” being played over and over until he reached the podium and started speaking. It’s still a miracle that “Weird Al” Yankovic didn’t threaten to sue Dole for smearing the song parody’s good name.
4. Saddam Hussein and Whitney Houston
Even unchecked dictatorships are not immune to this tendency to hijack the work of musical artists to tell a truly different story. In fact, the use of Katy Perry’s music in the politically spoiled 2014 film The interview starring Seth Rogen really wasn’t such a big joke. Murderous dictators love pop diva ballads for a weird reason.
Hussein’s 2002 “election” (or whatever you call a rigged system where the “winner” has complete control over the voting process) had a campaign theme chosen by his party: the successful Whitney revival Houston in 1992’s “I Will Always Love You,” released as a single for her film The bodyguard. Just imagine a bully walking onto a stage in front of a crowd of sycophants and hearing Houston’s heartbreaking love song blaring from the speakers. Hussein must have been a huge whiner.
5. Angela Merkel and the Rolling Stones
The former German leader may have ushered in a new era of empowering women in politics as her country’s first female chancellor, but she is still as vulnerable to mistakes as the rest of us.
Merkel’s first campaign in 2005 was a success, but she hit a huge snag when her team chose the Rolling Stones’ “Angie” as their campaign theme only because the song and the candidate have the same name. If they had listened to the song instead of just reading the album cover of the 1973 single, they would have understood why some of the song’s lyrics weren’t so suitable for the campaign. Among those unhelpful words: “Angie, you’re beautiful, yeah, but isn’t it time to say goodbye?” and “Without love in our souls and without money in our coats, you cannot say we are satisfied.” You know, someone screwed up when a Helen Reddy song is the smartest choice.