Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Campaign songs

I know this is slightly shameful to admit, but I get cheerful whenever 'Things Can Only Get Better' comes on the radio, as a memory of Happy Times. What's more, I bet I'm not alone.

Every election campaign has its share of special songs, whether from the CD which is playing in the car when driving around, or the song which is on the radio all the time during April and playing from every house when you go round delivering leaflets. I remember singing the Red Flag as a mournful dirge gathered with the other activists in a community centre when we lost control of the council for the first time in 20 years in 2000, and singing a joyful, raucous version in the Town Hall two years later when we regained control.

I particularly like it when there are amusingly inappropriate songs on during election time. I spent a decent part of 2001 going round suburban Reading with the radios playing 'F**k You (I Don't Want You Back)', happily not an omen for Martin Salter's re-election campaign (I don't know if it was Martin who arranged for the single F**k U Right Back to be released, but it wouldn't be surprising). In 2005 one of my favourites was 'Out of Touch' ("you're out of touch, you're out of time"), a song which fortunately turned out to be at most half true. When I was trying to work out what the campaign song would be for the 2006 locals (as I had been mainly listening to the same jangly guitar songs as for the General Election), our regional organiser suggested that there was some song called 'Crazy' which seemed to fit us quite well. I'd not heard it at the time, but since it spent all summer at number one, Labour Party Regional Organisers clearly know their stuff when it comes to tipping songs.

There is one song which I don't recommend for elections, though. At a party after the 2004 elections, I was chatting to some of our defeated candidates (we had had a terrible set of elections, so there were a lot of them). All of a sudden, an activist who will remain nameless decided that what was needed was some of Queen's Greatest Hits, and a few seconds later, the stereo started booming out:

'Another One Bites the Dust'.

So those are some of my favourites, leave your favourites, or the songs you remember campaigning to, in the comments.


At 12:48 am , Blogger Adele said...

We listened to things can only get better at the 2006 locals and won 4 seats back off the lib dems!

I like Billy Bragg's power in a union.

At 2:33 am , Blogger el tom said...

"Go(r)don Brown, texture like sun"

You know that'll be the campaign song. It has to be.

At 10:01 am , Anonymous jdc said...

"I know this is slightly shameful to admit, but I get cheerful whenever 'Things Can Only Get Better' comes on the radio, as a memory of Happy Times."

You mean that time I thrashed everyone at pool in the Magdalen Arms, and cleared the table in less time than it took the song to finish?

My favourite was Clinton's re-election I think, wasn't it "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow"?

At 12:18 pm , Anonymous pregethwr said...

Albert Owen shamelessly used 'Is this way to Amarillo' in Anglesea in 2005.

Worked quite well as all the children would follow the car and get ballons, stickers etc

At 4:45 pm , Blogger Tom Freeman said...

I have a blissful memory of being at the 1997 Cambridge count (which took absurdly long to even get started, but luckily there was a side room with a TV), wandering around, chirpily whistling the Red Flag.

Got quite a few Tory scowls for that. Heh.

At 12:05 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When we walk/down the street/we don't care/who we meet,

'Cause we've got love!"

Don't know? Don't ask.


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