By Jack Sharkey, July 10, 2016

As the summer convention season hits full stride, let's take a fun (and completely non-partisan) look at presidential campaign songs over the past half century.

 

1960 - John F. Kennedy

A fun re-write of the 1950s hit "High Hopes" performed by Frank Sinatra.

 

1964 - Lyndon B. Johnson

Ed Ames performs a re-write of the current Broadway smash-hit "Hello, Dolly!"

 

1972 - Richard Nixon

Wanna bet you'll be humming this to yourself on the drive home tonight?

 

1976 - Jimmy Carter

Oscar Brand sings the last significant presidential campaign song.

 

1984 - Ronald Reagan

Suddenly after that Jimmy Carter song, nobody wrote specialized presidential campaign songs anymore (at least any that were used widely by campaigns). Unfortunately, it seems no one in Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign bothered to actually listen to the lyrics of this Springsteen hit. No matter, Springsteen sent a cease and desist letter and the song was forever no longer linked with Reagan.

 

1988 - George H.W. Bush

No word on how Woody felt about this.

 

1992 - Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton unveiled his presidential campaign song in after accepting his nomination in 1992. That January, Fleetwood Mac performed live together for the first time in thirteen years at his inauguration.

 

2000 - George W. Bush

George W. Bush used Tom Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down" for his campaign theme, until Tom had his lawyers politely insist he stop. Maybe just writing your own campaign theme was just easier.

 

2008 - Barack Obama

Will.i.am threw this little ditty together for Barack Obama in 2008.

 

Next week we'll take a look at some of the memorable songs from losing campaigns.

Jack Sharkey for KEF