Political Music

Bill Clinton famously used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” for his campaign theme song. Ross Perot, improbably but intentionally, chose Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Barack Obama went with Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” the first time around. This year, the President has an entire, touch-all-the-bases Spotify playlist, including Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” the Impressions’ “Keep on Pushing,” Sugarland’s “Everyday America” and Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Rocker/rapper Kid Rock has performed his song “Born Free” at Mitt Romney rallies, but if the former Massachusetts governor ends up being the Republican nominee, he’s going to need a Spotify list, too. Ditto Rick Santorum, if he manages to edge out Romney over the long haul.

What either GOP hopeful would choose for himself is anybody’s guess. Perhaps “Money Makes the World Go Round” from Cabaret for Romney and “Onward, Christian Soldiers” for Santorum. But here are some suggestions that actually fit their primary performances.

campign musicFor Mitt Romney:

“Flip Flop and Fly,” Big Joe Turner


“Life’s Been Good,” Joe Walsh (“I have a mansion/Forget the price/Ain’t never been there/They tell me it’s nice”)

“Two Faces Have I,” Lou Christie

“Plastic Fantastic Lover,” Jefferson Airplane (“You aluminum finish/Slightly diminished/Is the best I ever have seen”)


“Something Stupid,” Nancy and Frank Sinatra (“And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid…”)


“Hey Gyp,” The Animals (“I’ll buy you a Cadillac/Buy you a Cadillac”)


For Rick Santorum:

“Another Brick in the Wall,” Pink Floyd (“We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control”)

“Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke (“Don’t know much about history/Don’t know much biology/Don’t know much about a science book/Don’t know much about the French I took”)


“Brainwashed,” George Harrison (“Brainwashed in our childhood/Brainwashed by the school”)

“Political Science,” Randy Newman (“Let’s drop the big one and see what happens”)

“The End of the World,” Skeeter Davis (“Don’t they know it the end of the world?)



And if only to demonstrate that Obama backers a) have a sense of humor and b) their gripes, here are few tunes the President could honestly add to his re-election playlist:

“What Kinda Guy,” Steve Forbert (“I’ll tell ya truly that I sometimes lie/What kinda guy am I really I?/

“Like a Surgeon,” Weird Al Yankovich (“Now I’m trying to avoid/Yah, I’m trying to avoid/A malpractice suit”)

“Diggin’ a Hole,” Marty Winkler (“Tryin’ to keep my toehold/On the ladder of life/Tryin’ to keep from sinkin’/Into confusion and strife/Diggin’ a hole/Deeper in debt each day”)


“Bring the Boys Home,” Freda Payne  (“Enough men have already been wounded or killed”)








Noel Holston

Noel Holston

Noel Holston, originally from Laurel, Miss., is a freelance journalist, songwriter, storyteller and actor who lives in Athens, Ga., with his wife, singer-songwriter Marty Winkler. In a previous life, he was the TV critic at Newsday in New York and, before that, a critic and feature writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Orlando Sentinel.

  1. Because Georgia is having one of these really boring primaries, perhaps some native music would be appropriate. Which candidate  fits with the song? Pin the donkey.
    “Can’t Get No Satisfiaction.” Otis Redding
    “Slippin’ and Sliddin,'” Little Richard
    “Born to Lose,” Ray Charles
    “I Never Promised A Rose Garden,” Joe South
    “Right String Baby, But the Wrong Yo-Yo,” Piano Red
    “Peace in the Valley,” Rev. Thomas Dorsey
    “Sweet Nothins,’ ” Brenda Lee

    1. Noel Holston

      Re: the tunes you suggested. As Dr. Feelgood and the Interns once sang about women, I love ’em all.

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