Musical Platforms

Tired of politics as usual? Try singing along to one of these …
  • Photo: Lisa Lake/Getty Images
    Alice Cooper
  • Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns
    Re-Flex
  • Photo: Michael Ochs Archives
    Sun Ra
  • Photo: John Shearer/WireImage.com
    Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra
  • Photo: Mark Mainz/Getty Images
    Amy Grant and husband Vince Gill
  • Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com
    The Who's Pete Townshend
  • Photo: Michael Ochs Archives
    Eric Clapton
November 13, 2012 -- 5:01 pm PST
By Bill Forman / GRAMMY.com

Who said popular music and politics don't mix? 

Definitely not Phil Ochs, the Clash, Public Enemy, Rage Against The Machine, Steve Earle, or Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. 

While some may argue that the collision of these two worlds only serves to diminish both, it's a safe bet that musicians and politicians will still be pushing each other's buttons long after the onset of the zombie apocalypse.

Just look at some of the historical highlights, from the White House's attempt to deport John Lennon and Washington wives prompting Senate hearings on heavy metal lyrics to campaign song cease-and-desist letters. Silversun Pickups sent Mitt Romney a cease-and-desist order this summer for his use of "Panic Room" on the campaign trail. Sam Moore did more of the same to Barack Obama in 2008, demanding that he stop playing the Sam & Dave classics "Hold On! I’m Comin'" and "Soul Man."

Of course, we all need that perfect song that helps carry our political (and musical) message. The following may not be ideal candidates but they might make for an entertaining post-election diversion, regardless of your party affiliation.

Candidate: Re-Flex
Campaign Song: "The Politics Of Dancing"
Party Affiliation: New wave
Party Line: Politicians are now DJs, whatever that means
The Message: "The politics of dancing/The politics of ooh feeling good"


Candidate: Cream
Campaign Song: "Politician"
Party Affiliation: Rock
Party Line: Politicians can be surprisingly generous with both their time and resources
The Message: "Hey now baby, get into my big black car/I wanna just show you what my politics are"


Candidate: Alice Cooper
Campaign Song: "Elected"
Party Affiliation: Shock rock
Party Line: Electoral politics are the natural follow-up to songs about dead babies and blown-up schools
The Message: "I'm your Yankee Doodle dandy in a gold Rolls-Royce/I wanna be elected”


Candidate: Sun Ra
Campaign Song: "Nuclear War"
Party Affiliation: Cosmic jazz
Party Line: Bandleaders from Saturn say the darnedest things
The Message: "If they push that button, your a** has got to go/What'cha gonna do, without your a**?"


Candidate: Dead Kennedys
Campaign Song: "California Über Alles"
Party Affiliation: Punk
Party Line: Then California Gov. Jerry Brown would have made an interesting president
The Message: "You will croak, you little clown/When you mess with President Brown"


Candidate: Amy Grant
Campaign Song: "Politics Of Kissing"
Party Affiliation: Contemporary Christian
Party Line: With liberty and smooches for all
The Message: "Balance of power baby/To hold or not to hold/That's the politics of kissing"


Candidate: The Who
Campaign Song: "Won't Get Fooled Again"
Party Affiliation: Rock
Party Line: Karl Marx was wrong, and so are the rest of you
The Message: "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss"

(Bill Forman is a writer and music editor for the Colorado Springs Independent and the former publications director for The Recording Academy.)

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