Presidential Campaign Songs

To more quickly hear the 20 individual Presidential Campaign Songs and Vote in a “Primary” for the Best One of Four Categories by October 30, 2012 and then in the “General Election” by Monday, November 5, 2012 go directly to this page: http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/24/vote-here-now-for-president-with-the-best-campaign-music/. To read the individual stories each Presidential Campaign Song from McKinley to Obama follow the links below for each individual President.

Since the start of heated presidential campaigns, following the virtual crowning of George Washington as the first President in 1789, music in the form of songs for individual candidates has been part of the American Presidential Pop Culture. Through most of the 19th century, old songs with familiar tunes were usually given new lyrics to support – or oppose a particular candidate. Starting at the turn of the 20th century, campaign songs became increasingly unique, with lyrics specific to the candidate and the issues set to originally-composed music. Sometimes it played on popular advertising and products of the era. Sometimes, they were written more with an intent to sell sheet music than elected a President. By the mid-20th century, an increased number of popular songs, often from Broadway shows and Hollywood movies were appropriated. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a last gasp of fresh, original presidential campaign songs, but since the 1980s candidates have instead taken music that already had a “brand,” or public association with which they wanted to associate themselves in the public mind – whether through the style or music or the image that the music seemed to convey. Here, in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2012, you will find new articles added and, eventually, a complete look at all the songs which elected Presidents – from William McKinley in 1896 to Barack Obama in 2008.

Barack Obama.

Yes. We Can, 2008

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/19/yes-he-did-originality-returns-with-2008-obama-campaign-music/

George W. Bush.

We The People, Centerfield & Only in America, 2000 and 2004

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/15/the-twinges-and-twang-of-george-w-bushs-2000-2004-campaign-music/

Bill Clinton.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, 1992, 1996

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/06/bill-clintons-song-he-never-stops-thinking-bout/

George H. Bush.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy & This Land is Your Land, 1988

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/13/the-echo-dissonance-of-george-bushs-1988-campaign-music/

Ronald Reagan.

California, Here I Come & I’m Proud to be an American, 1980, 1984

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/11/the-reagan-country-song-a-california-classic-by-abba-his-1980-1984-campaign-theme-music/

Jimmy Carter.

His Name Was Jimmy Carter…and He Was Running for President, 1976

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/10/jimmy-carters-green-country-branded-1976-campaign-song/

I’m Feeling Good About America, 1976

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/08/16/the-last-original-campaign-song-jerry-fords-bicentennial-tune/ 

Richard M. Nixon.

Buckle Down With Nixon, Nixon’s The One, Nixon Now, 1960,  1968, 1972

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/04/nixon-then-nixon-now-his-changing-tune-connie-francis-nixon-campaign-songs-1960-1968-1972/

Hello Lyndon!, 1964

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/04/13/hello-lyndon-how-carol-channing-helped-lbj-win-the-election/

Kennedy, Kennedy  & High Hopes, 1960

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/24/sinatra-at-jacks-back-the-john-f-kennedy-1960-campaign-song/

They Like Ike, 1952

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/08/02/ike-irving-mamie-merman-evolution-of-a-catchy-campaign-tune/

Harry S. Truman.

The Missouri Waltz & I’m Just Wild About Harry!, 1948

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/08/fighting-bigotry-shaped-trumans-1948-campaign-tunes-carmen-miranda-sang-one/

Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Happy Days Are Here Again, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/10/01/fdrs-trademark-sound-his-4x-campaign-song-his-color-family-home-movies/

Herbert Hoover.

Hail Herbert Hoover!, 1928

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/28/the-engineered-sound-of-herbert-hoovers-1928-campaign-song/

Keep Cool & Keep Coolidge, 1924

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/27/cool-but-contemplative-jolson-returns-with-coolidges-1924-campaign-song/

Warren Harding.

Warren Harding, You’re The Man for Us, 1920

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/26/the-first-president-to-win-with-actors-al-jolsons-1920-campaign-song-for-harding/

We’re Ready For Teddy Again, Get on a Raft With Taft & Wilson, That’s All, 1912

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/12/when-three-presidents-ran-against-each-other-a-whiskey-jingle-won-the-election/

Hooray For Bill McKinley!, 1896

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/09/14/the-first-president-captured-on-film-mckinleys-1896-campaign-song-commercial/

3 replies »

  1. There was another campaign song for Harding called “O, Harding!” I came across it in a film I showed my U.S. History students 15 odd years ago. Can’t seem to find a copy of it, or who sang it. The one that you have posted on here though is a catchy little tune though.

    • I am so sorry for the delay in responding – but I nevertheless appreciate your writing. In fact, I think there might have been several Harding songs, from what I saw in the small songster booklet, but few that garnered attention as did the one written and performed by Jolson. Then, as now, people just go starry-eyed in the presence or in hearing news about movie stars! Thank you for writing.

  2. How incredibly generous of you to share my Coolidge campaign song story (and there are six more articles coming before Election Day – FDR, Truman, Nixon, Reagan, H. Bush, W. Bush and Obama, all can be found on the front page under the “Presidential Campaign Songs” tab). I really appreciate your help and your kind thumbs-up. Cheers, Carl

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