Every four years, the U.S. holds a presidential election, and every four years, musicians ask Republican candidates to stop playing their songs at rallies. This year, so far, Newt Gingrich has been asked by Survivor to stop playing “Eye of the Tiger” and Somali-born musician K’naan has asked Mitt Romney to stop playing “Wavin’ Flag.” In 2011, Tom Petty had Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., stop playing “American Girl.”
In campaigns past, David Byrne had Gov. Charlie Crist stop using “Road to Nowhere” in his attacks on Marco Rubio, Jackson Browne had Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and the Ohio Republican Party stop using “Running on Empty” to attack then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. The singers from Heart stopped then-Gov. Sarah Palin from using “Barracuda.” In 2000, Sting asked George W. Bush to stop playing “Brand New Day.”
The good news for Democrats is that they usually don’t have such problems, since so many entertainment industry figures are Democrats. (Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow, anyone?) President Obama’s re-election campaign even has an official soundtrack, it was announced today, to be featured at campaign events across the country in the months ahead. An Obama aide said the tunes would energize the crowd before a presidential appearance and keep everyone excited while Obama works ropelines and mingles with fans after delivering remarks.
The playlist is also being streamed on Spotify, the online streaming music service, for supporters to listen and share from home.
“After taking staff and volunteer recommendations, this music is a beginning list for supporters to share with their social networks,” a campaign official said.
Some observations on the full list (at the bottom):
- Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” is of course the song which Obama sang the opening lines to at the Apollo Theater fundraiser last month (Green also performed live). Obama singing them has also become a ringtone. It’s an interesting pick given that it seems to acknowledge that not every Obama supporter has been delighted 100 percent of the time – but hey, let’s stay together whether times are good or bad, if you’re happy or sad.
- Darius Rucker is still around!
- Bruce Springsteen’s ” We Take Care of Our Own” is the first cut off his brand new album, “Wrecking Ball,” which has yet to be released. The populist/working class themes sound like they were written to be the soundtrack of Obama’s campaign – not to mention they take a swipe at the Bush administration (for its response to Hurricane Katrina: “From the shotgun shack to the Superdome/We yelled ‘help’ but the cavalry stayed home.”)
- Several musicians on the list have Chicago ties, including native Jennifer Hudson (who performed at Obama’s 50th birthday bash) and Chicago-based Wilco and The Impressions.
- What’s NOT on the list? Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!” which has played at several recent Obama events and did famously after his 2008 South Carolina victory speech. Same for U2′s “The City of Blinding Lights” and Aretha Franklin’s “Think.”
Full track list for the “Obama Album”:
- Different People – No Doubt
- Got to Get You in My Life – Earth, Wind & Fire
- Green Onions- Booker T & The MG’s
- I Got You – Wilco
- Keep on Pushing – The Impressions
- Keep Reachin’ Up – Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators
- Love You I Do – Jennifer Hudson
- No Nostalgia – AgesAndAges
- Raise Up – Ledisi
- Stand Up – Sugarland
- This – Darius Rucker
- We Used To Wait – Arcade Fire
- You’ve Got the Love – Florence and the Machine
- Your Smiling Face – James Taylor
- Roll with the Changes – REO Speedwagon
- Everyday America – Sugarland
- Learn to Live – Darius Rucker
- Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
- Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
- My Town – Montgomery Gentry
- The best thing about me is you – Ricky Martin ft. Joss Stone
- You are the Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne
- Keep Marchin’ – Raphael Saadiq
- Tonight’s The Kind of Night – Noah and the Whale
- We Take Care of our Own – Bruce Springsteen
- Keep Me In Mind – Zac Brown Band
- The Weight – Aretha Franklin
- Even Better Than The Real Thing – U2
- Home – Dierks Bentley
-Jake Tapper and Devin Dwyer