Power up the disco

If, as it looks like it might be, the Presidential election is over a bit early, it might be time to power up the hifi and have a bit of a dance. But to keep the Presidential theme going, here are some suggestions, including the good, the bad and the quite frankly ridiculous.

Nixon didn’t stand a chance.

Uber-optimism from Bill Clinton.

In many ways Americans and Europeans are very similar. In many ways, we’re not.

Anyone have any other favourites for the juke box?

P.S. I am deeply sad that I couldn’t find a copy of 1996’s “Dole Man” (yes, you guessed it). The best I could do was this comedian’s effort.

  • Dewi

    Nick – stop being facetious – some of us geeks take this seriously…..

  • Dread Cthulhu

    ‘course, we even have some of the same problems in the US as NI, including black-beret wearing, club-wielding hoods standing at the polls…


  • I quite like the Sinatra belting of Sammy Kahn/Jimmy Van Heusen’s High Hopes. It made rather more sense than the original, and was far better than Click with Dick and Here Comes Nixon which were the competition.

    Similarly, when in 1964 Jerry Herman modified the theme from Hello, Dolly for LBJ, it was far better than Go with Goldwater.

    The great Eubie Blake did I’m Just Wild About Harry for Truman in 1948; and Irving Berlin, no less, cooked up I Like Ike.

    But, for me, the greatest is a non-campaign song. It’s the late John Stewart (originally of the Kingston Trio) and his Bloodlines album, which includes:

    It more than Indiana,
    It was more than South Dakota,
    It was more than California,
    It was more than Oregon,
    It was a race against time,
    It was always on our mind:
    And he died on the road …

    He, of course, was RFK, forty years ago.

  • ABC

    Nixon Now wasn’t bad….

    Gore’s choice of BTO – You Aint Seen Nothin Yet was good.

  • May I be permitted a reminder?

    Oscar Brand did a CD for Smithsonian Folkways, Presidential Campaign Songs: 1789 – 1996.

    Brand was updating his 1952 Election Songs of the United States. We have to allow him a bit of slack here, because (I reckon) the “campaign song” did not properly emerge until the second-half of the nineteenth century. Before that, it’s more akin to the broadside ballad tradition.

    I guess others have found useful references on the Net:

    1. songfacts.com did a run-down on the material being used by all the 2008 candidates.

    2. Time magazine did a “special” (sorry: I haven’t got a date of its origin) A Brief History of Campaign Songs, which is still available on line.

    3. Fred Rasmussen did a nice column for the Baltimore Sun last week, “They’re not writing campaign songs like these any more”.

    Then, slightly off-topic, there’s the 1996 Bear Family collection, Songs for Political Action, put together by Ron Cohen and Dave Samuelson. That contains material from the Henry Wallace campaign of 1948. Wallace, FDR’s Veep in 1941-5, ran as a Progressive in 1948, attracting about 2½% of the vote, but also support from Pete Seeger and other leftist singers. It’s often forgotten that, because — unexpectedly, and to the chagrin of the Republicans — Wallace did so poorly, Truman beat Dewey, and so generated that famous Chicago Daily Tribune front page. If the Right and the Red-baiters had not been so effective in damning poor old Wallace, history would have been different: another example of “Be careful what you wish for — you may get it.”