In Your Ear: Former Sen. Mike Gravel

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The occasional series In Your Ear asks notable guests what they're listening to. This week, Democratic White House Hopeful Mike Gravel opens his music file for listeners and explains his favorites


And now it's time for our In Your Ear, where we ask people of note what they're listening to.

Now, you may recall, a few weeks ago we had Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel on our program to share his political views. Well, of course, we couldn't let him leave without asking him about his musical tastes.

Mr. MIKE GRAVEL (Former Democrat Senator, Alaska): On my car I have one and two - one is NPR and then the other is classical.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. GRAVEL: For a robust personality like me, I need to have nice, quiet classical music and Mozart is my favorite.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. GRAVEL: My favorite singer is Frank Sinatra. I knew him personally. I liked his voice very much.

(Soundbite of song, "My Way")

Mr. FRANK SINATRA (Singer): (Singing) And now, the end is near. And so I face the final curtain.

Mr. GRAVEL: I once asked him, did you know "My Way" was going to be such a hit? He said, Mike, you know, nobody knows what's going to be hit or not. You know, you go ahead and record something. If you think it sounds good and it flops, or it's just mediocre and then you record something and my god it just takes off. Which just - goes back to politics a little bit. We don't know how human beings respond to certain things that hit them as a stimuli.

(Soundbite of song, "My Way")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew. When I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. EDITH PIAF (Singer): (Singing) (French spoken)

Mr. GRAVEL: And, of course, I like the power of Edith Piaf. Now I was in the intelligence community serving in Paris, I was the liaison (French spoken). And so that was right at the tail end of her career. And (French spoken). Oh my god. What - this was a life. Well, that applies to every human being. I don't regret a thing in my life. I lived my life. It may not have been great. I may have made a lot of mistakes, but I don't regret a thing - and what my life starts today, is a new era of my life. (French spoken) I wish I could sing, I'd belt it up for you right now.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. PIAF: (Singing) (French spoken)

MARTIN: That was presidential candidate Mike Gravel telling us what's playing in his ear.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: You've just heard Mike Gravel tell us his musical tastes. Now, it's your turn. Tell us what you're listening to in your car, on your MP3 players, in your homes. Does old school Edith Piaf make the cut or are you jamming to the new Gloria Estefan single?

(Soundbite of the new Gloria Estefan song)

Ms. GLORIA ESTEFAN (Singer): (Singing) (Spanish spoken)

MARTIN: Or how about the new Kanye album?

(Soundbite of song, "Stronger")

Mr. KANYE WEST (Rapper): (Rapping) Now that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now 'cause I can't wait much longer. I know I got to be right now 'cause I can't bet much stronger. Man, I've been waitin' all night now. That's how long that I've been on ya.

MARTIN: To express your views about this or any other of our programs, go to our blog at You can also call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Again, that's 202-842-3522.

(Soundbite of song, "Stronger")

Mr. WEST: (Rapping) Don't act like I never told ya. Don't act like I never told ya. Oh. Don't act like I never told ya. Don't act like I never told ya. Don't act like I never told ya. Oh. Don't act like I never told ya.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. Don't act like I never told you.

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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