The Election Years
Ah, the American elections. Dividing the UK into two very distinct categories: those who couldn’t give a running bugger and well-meaning saps who are very interested but would kind of like it to be over now so we can go back to worrying about our own country being mostly on fire.
I proudly consider myself in the latter camp and with an “Obama Is My-bama” bumper sticker attached firmly to my forehead, myself and my running mate Tim Worthington put together a short “TATP Years” style mix for the last election. Its not quite as packed as a usual Years but we figured you might get a kick out of a few pop songs about – ahem – “rocking” the “vote”. Please note: any accidental pictures of members of Sleeper holding placards and looking earnestly into the camera that sneak into the article are purely by error. Honest.
Rowan Atkinson – “Stand Up And Be Counted”
Alice Cooper – “Elected”
Initially the lead single from Cooper’s sixth album “Billion Dollar Babies”, although the song has its roots in a markedly-less metal tinged track from the band’s 1969 debut release “Pretties For You” entitled “Reflected”. Much more interesting to TATP is the 1992 cover version performed by everyone’s favourite rubber-faced comedy character (after Phil Cool, of course) Mr Bean who was joined on vocal duties by the soon to be former (for a bit)-Iron Maiden frontman, Bruce Dickinson along with backing band Smear Campaign.
Recorded to raise money for Comic Relief during one of its “off years”, this caught the Bean zeitgeist at its peak (Indeed, several months earlier a peak of 18 million had tuned in for the character’s fifth TV outing “The Trouble With Mr. Bean”) and got to a very reasonable No.9 in the charts. This electoral theme even extended to the B-side entitled “The Manifesto” in which Mr Bean lists a number of things that will change under the Bean Party banner.
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – ‘No Matter Who You Vote For (The Government Always Gets In)’
A nineties reunion single it may have been – and originally written with the even more polarised 1982 election in mind – but the collective satirical silliness of Neil Innes, Vivian Stanshall, Roger Ruskin Spear, Rodney Slater and ‘Legs’ Larry Smith was forged in the sixties, when ‘they’re all as bad as each other’ was the favoured stance of the day, and how right it’s been proved to be too. And let’s leave those silly comments box arguments about what the artist credit should ‘really’ be in the exit poll box marked ‘RA RA PILOT’, please…
Jamie Wednesday – “Vote For Love”
Easy Star All-Stars – “Electioneering”
Initially by indie rock funsters Radiohead, this Noam Chomsky-inspired attack on the relentlessness and compromise of politics was rather fittingly released to the world on the 16th June 1997, just over a month after Tony Blair and his New Labour pals had come to power. Although some might say that the album it knocked off the top spot – Hanson’s “Middle Of Nowhere” might more accurately describe the current Labour position today. Little bit of politics there. Also: Thatcher.
XTC – “Here Comes President Kill Again”
The Move – “Vote For Me”
How come The Move‘s fourth single isn’t a well-loved pop classic to rank with Blackberry Way and Fire Brigade? Is it, like the similarly obscure Wild Tiger Woman, a lovably sprawling un-radio-friendly mess? Not at all – it wasn’t a hit because it didn’t come out. The band had incurred the libelous wrath of Harold Wilson while promoting previous single Flowers In The Rain, and after losing a court case over the matter, it didn’t seem a good idea for the next offering to be one poking fun at politicians. Especially not if it was due to be backed by the brilliant but ideologically dubious ode to mental instability Cherry Blossom Clinic…
The Divine Comedy – “Absolute Power”
Tracy Chapman – “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”
Billy Bragg – “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards”
But sadly we didn’t have time for…
Paris Hilton – “Paris For President”
You can thank the internet for this one. The comedy video site “Funny Or Die” to be exact, which invited the ever-popular home movie enthusiast to appear in a clip as herself as retaliation to a derogatory remark made about her in then-recent John McCain campaign video, which she happily did adding that her personal mention means that “she must now be a candidate in the presidential race”. This quickly became one of those delightful internet virals and spurred the ‘humourous’ “Paris For President” campaign, which received its own song and music video last month. Naturally, it’s bloody awful. Although a follow up video in which Paris interviews Martin Sheen to ask for tips on how to be President was pretty good if you ask us.
Just be safe and don’t vote for *any* white people…