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Lady Lullaby Blog

Lullabies for babies, grown-ups and everyone in between!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Caution: Do Not Use Lullabies For Political Campaigns

Music serves different purposes for the different parts of our lives. It’s the background score for all of us from the cradle to the grave and every moment in between. Music serves to soothe us, to heal us emotionally, to inspire us religiously, and this week it serves —hopefully--- to motivate us to action.

You won’t hear lullabies being used for campaign songs. Why is that? The people who plan these things don’t want to soothe and calm us right now, they don’t want us to fall asleep---they want us to get up and vote and make phone calls and go door to door, to get out there and cheer for the guy with the best message and the best song.

“Music connects on so many levels,” says James Elliott, chairman of the songwriting program at Belmont University in Nashville. “There’s patriotism, there’s maybe an element of nostalgia, pride, and just a love for country and a love for fellow man.” Music can stimulate all of that, and politicians on both sides are well aware of it.

“Since the nation's founders rocked out to “God Save George Washington,” music has been an integral part of our political system,” writes Mike Burr for Prefix Online Magazine.  “Songs have drawn attention to problems in society, served as rallying points for the citizenry and opened discussions on topics that were otherwise unapproachable.”

In the past years, after “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” caught the attention of the nation in 1840, songs have become an important part of the campaign process. Most songs weren’t written specifically for the campaign---candidates just pick something they think expresses their message. Mike  Burr picks “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie as the most important patriotic song in our nation’s history. George H. Bush used that one in 1988. George W. Bush’s song pick didn’t work out so well: Tom Petty threatened to sue him if he didn’t stop using his song “I Won’t Back Down.”

Texas billionaire Ross Perot used the Patsy Cline hit “Crazy” for his campaign. Other political songs range from ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me” to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” and of course, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” Campaign songs come from all genres, all political orientations, and all age groups.

The one thing they have in common is that they are definitely not lullabies. We’ll get back to that next time---after the election is over.

Sweet dreams,


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