Well there is no better way to start our 2016 Election day here in the United States than by taking a look at some of the most famous songs used by Presidential Candidates during their campaign runs. The use of these famous rock songs would often infuriate the original artists if they did not support the candidates that were using their music. Many artists such as Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and so many more have often sent cease and deist letters to candidates over the unauthorized use of their music. Those cease and desist letters bring up and interesting question. Should Presidential Candidates or anyone running for any type of offices or position be allowed to use music that has been released into the public sphere without receiving permission? Obviously the artists who have written the material being used by a candidate are concerned that the candidates political views will become associated with their own. But is the public smart enough to realize that there may actually be no association? Of course if your Kid Rock and your singing your songs standing nest to Mick Romney on stage, you’re going to be easily associated with supporting the man your standing next too. Regardless of your point of view on the use of music on the campaign trails, there is a long history of candidates using songs or at least attempting to use songs that just seem to fit their message perfectly. Here are 10 of the most famous Rock Songs Used By Presidential Candidates or at least attempted to use, that one may find entertaining.
# 10 – Born in the U.S.A.
President Reagan wanted to use this one badly but Bruce and his management team said no way! Lucky for the President he did not use the song because it would have been ridiculous for a United States President to use a song as a campaign anthem that depicts the mistreatment of Vietnam War Veterans by the United States Government in the 1960’s. However it did not stop President Reagan’s famous blunder of trying to match his politics with the persona of Bruce Springsteen. In one oh his speeches, Reagan praised Bruce by saying “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts. It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. At the time in 1984, there was no bigger rock star in the world than Bruce Springsteen, so you can’t blame Reagan for trying. He just should have listened to the lyrics.
# 9 – Soul Man
Sam and Dave’s iconic soul classic was used by Bob Dole in his Presidential Campaign against Bill Clinton in 1996. However, the Dole camp changed the lyrics to “I’m a Dole Man.” And that’s just wrong! The Sam and Dave camp thought it was wrong also and forced Dole to stop using it.
# 8 – Rudi Can’t Fail
This great song by The Clash off their London Calling album was actually used by you guessed it former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani in his failed 2008 Presidential bid. Just another case of a candidate not listening to the actual lyrics of the song.
# 7 – High Hopes
Bruce Springsteen was not the only New Jersey son to be pegged for a Presidential Campaign song. In 1960, Jack Kennedy called on Frank Sinatra to use his hit High Hopes. Yes in 2016 we can defiantly look back and see how corny that choice was. And don’t go asking why Sinatra is on a rock list. Sinatra was rock and roll in so many ways. You either get that or don’t. Hmm, doesn’t Bruce have a song called High Hopes. Must be a Jersey thing.
# 6 – I Won’t Back Down
George W Bush tried using music from Sting, John Mellencamp and Tom Petty for his year 2000 Presidential Election campaign. All three objected, but it was Tom Petty who sent the cease and deist letter.We wonder what Bush thought of Sam Smith?
# 5 – We Take Care Of Our Own
President Obama utilized Bruce Springsteen’s 2008 release “We Take Of Our Own,” in various spots on the campaign trail. Bruce Springsteen fully supported President Obama’s use of the song.
# 4 – Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
Okay this one really made sense. Perfect title for Obama’s victory speech.
# 3 – Dream On
Donald Trump used one of Aerosmith’s most famous songs during his campaign. However Steven Tyler, said NO NO NO! and asked the Trump campaign to stop using his music.
# 2 – Don’t Stop
A song about a break up became one the most heavily used rock songs in political history. At every Bill Clinton rally and speech, the former President of the Unites States used this Fleetwood Mac Song to promote his future agendas for the country. This one worked quite well.
# 1 – Starman
On the night Bernie Sanders lost the Iowa caucus, he gave his post caucus speech and closed out the night with David Bowie’s “Starman.” It was easily the most riveting use of rock music ever played on the campaign train. Sanders used the song often to close out his rallies. This one fit perfectly!