A stronghold of election season is always the soundtrack. In honor of the national conventions being held this summer, we thought it would be cute to highlight some of the most interesting campaign songs from years past. Keep in mind this was blissfully pre-Trump, when we still had a sense of humor about things involving politics: a moment in time.
1. The Goldwaters, "What Have You Done" - not a campaign song, but a cut from an amazing novelty record called The Goldwaters Sing Folk Songs To Bug The Liberals.
2. The National, "Fake Empire" - Barack Obama, owner of his storied secret presidential record collection, played this at campaign events.
3. ABBA, "Take a Chance on Me" - John McCain's initial campaign song, until ABBA served him a cease and desist letter. Yikes.
4. Heart, "Barracuda" - John McCain bounced back from the ABBA legal troubles with this sick jam when announcing his infamous running mate, whose high school nickname was Sarah Barracuda. Spoiler alert: Heart also requested use of this song for McCain's campaign stop.
5. Sam & Dave, "Soul Man" - Bob Dole modified this for his 1996 presidential bid to jam as "I'm A Dole Man." We played the original Sam & Dave version on the radio out of respect for the artist and our listeners alike.
6. Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Stop" - Bill Clinton bumped this as the soundtrack to his 1992 presidential bid. Unlike the Republicans who frequently find themselves with cease and desist letters for use of a song, Slick Willy was able to convince the disbanded group to reunite to perform this song at the inaugural ball in 1993.
7. Simon & Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"- Our guy Paul Simon played this at the DNC to try to convince Bernie Sanders supporters that now was the time to get behind Hillary Clinton as the candidate. We can confirm, writing from the future of a bleak 2017, that this did not work, despite Simon's best efforts.
8. The Rolling Stones, "Angie" - Angela Merkel unironically used this as a campaign song in Germany, apparently because it has her name? That's all it takes? That's basically like me using Billy Joel's "Laura" as a campaign song. Billy can't stand Laura, she's calling him in the middle of the night, it's not good. But it has my name, so it works? Sorry for all of the question marks, I'm still working through this one.
9. Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the U.S.A." - The Most Misunderstood Un-Patriotic Song of All Time, used frequently for campaigns and various #merica events. Most notably, Ronald Reagan proudly played this song for his campaign. He clearly did not listen to the bootleg from Arizona State on Election Day 1980 where Springsteen laments the future of the United States directly following Reagan's election, but we can't rely on our presidents to examine the primary sources anymore.
10. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" - This song is pretty much certainly about venereal disease as a revenge tactic and yet Al Gore thought, hey, sounds pretty good as a campaign song.
11. Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor basically has a standing lawsuit with Republicans over this song. So far Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee have all been served papers over their use of this song.
12. Patsy Cline, "Crazy" - Ross Perot sure was crazy, right? He served us a clapback by playing this after we deemed him as such.
13. Tom Petty, "Won't Back Down" - A rare bridging-the-aisle audio choice. George W. Bush got a cease-and-desist for playing this bad boy, and Ron Paul and Tom Foley experienced similar issues. Republican-turned-Dem Jim Webb used this song to help him win a Virginia senate seat, Hillary Clinton used this jam a few times, and it was a stronghold at Democratic National Conventions of years past.
14. Pete Seeger, "This Land is Your Land" - Who hasn't used this as part of their campaign? The real question is: who has understood this to be the hateful Native-erasing song it truly is? That answer is everyone. Awkward.
15. Radiohead, "Electioneering" - Casey's holding this as his campaign song, should he ever run for office.