Annoying Campaign Songs

Jim Nayder of Chicago Public Radio's The Annoying Music Show offers a sampling of presidential campaign songs that won't necessary persuade an audience to lend them their ears.

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(Soundbite of song, "I Like Ike")

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) I like Ike, I shout it over a mic or a phone, or from the highest steeple.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Okay, okay, maybe it's not Stephen Sondheim, but "I Like Ike" is one of the great political songs of all time, maybe because it's not like Stephen Sondheim. Simple, easy to repeat, and catchy. But as music goes, most presidential campaign songs aren't.

Here to give us a tour through the presidential campaign music hall of fame, or not so famous, is Jim Nayder, host of the "Annoying Music Show" out of WBEZ in Chicago.

Well, Jim, how are you?

JIM NAYDER: Scott, I'm feeling Obama-califragilisticexpialidocious.

SIMON: Well, there are other candidates, Jim, and we're going to talk about them and their music too. But this year supporters are able to write songs for their favorite candidates and post them all over the place, right?

NAYDER: Absolutely. We've been sent tons of songs and Obama's folks have been certainly active in that. And one song…

SIMON: Wait, when you say folks, you mean his supporters, not necessarily his people.

NAYDER: Exactly.

SIMON: All right. His supporters, not his peeps.

NAYDER: Exactly, not his peeps. And he did send over a song that they were hoping would help with the ethnic voters.

(Soundbite of Campaign Song)

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) Como se dice, come se llama, Obama, Obama. Como se dice, como se llama, Obama, Obama.

SIMON: Jim?

NAYDER: Yes Scott?

SIMON: I got to tell you, that reminds me a little bit of Deval Patrick's campaign song.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NAYDER: Yes. Yes. You know, this song inadvertently solved the nation's immigration controversy because it's motivated millions of illegals to tunnel and jump fences back home just to get away from it.

SIMON: Just to get away from that beat. All right, you've got some other music for us to hear.

NAYDER: I was wondering, Scott, do you read the newspapers?

SIMON: As little as possible.

NAYDER: Yeah. Often when I hear WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY I think, my god, someone please buy them a newspaper subscription. When's your birthday?

SIMON: You know my birthday. It's March 16th.

NAYDER: March 16th, all right. Expect the Chicago Tribune around that time, maybe Sun-Times. Anyway, you know, the question of negative ads has come up and most think it's a modern day political strategy, but negative campaigning really goes back almost two centuries.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #3: (Singing) Who rules us with an iron rod? Who moves at Satan's beck and nod? Who heeds not man, who heeds not God? Van Buren.

SIMON: Martin Van Buren, huh?

NAYDER: Exactly. Makes that Xerox comment pretty tame, doesn't it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Now, is that a recording done on a wooden disc or how do you get a copy of a Martin Van Buren campaign song?

NAYDER: Yes, yes. That's an Edison White Pine recreation disc. Yeah, I think that's done by the New Hampshire Three Tenors or something. I don't - yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: What about some contemporary Republican candidates?

NAYDER: Well, the evolution of this next song or should I say Intelligent Design is much like the, I like school of writing.

(Soundbite of song, "Stuck on Huck")

Unidentified Man #4: (Singing) Agree with me, join this force, endorse the next pres, like Chuck Norris. I'm stuck, stuck, stuck on Huck, stuck on Mike Huckabee. I like Mike, like a lightning strike, an American epiphany.

SIMON: Oh, well, this explains the way his campaign's taken off.

NAYDER: Any song that can get Chuck Norris in it with stuck on Huck and American epiphany, that's some good writing there, boy.

SIMON: It's very earnest. I like it. It's very sincere.

NAYDER: Stuck on Huck, I just read a…

SIMON: He's a good bass player, isn't he?

NAYDER: He is, actually, he is. And he used to weigh, I just read this on this Internet, 780 pounds, I think.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I think it was more like, I don't know, 250 or something like that. But yes, he lost enough weight for - to cover Little Timmy, your assistant.

NAYDER: Oh wait a minute, Scott. That's my cell phone. Sorry, wait one second. Hello? Yes, Rudy, yes. No I can't, I'm on Scott's show right now. Okay, later. That was Rudy Giuliani. He's calling all the time, so much time on his hands.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I have my ring on silent but I see the phone kind of dancing across the table right now.

NAYDER: I'm shutting mine off, okay. Sorry about that. Scott, we don't want to leave out a favorite daughter from Illinois, of course, Hillary Clinton. And although she may be slightly behind in the delegate account, she's way ahead when it comes to annoying campaign songs.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Hillary for you and me, bring back our democracy, make this country proud and free, let's stand up for Hillary, Hillary for you and me.

SIMON: Well, it's one man's opinion that at least it's better than, don't stop worry about tomorrow.

NAYDER: Well, I just don't think the strategy of having Hillary Clinton channel Michael Jackson through the June Taylor Dancers is going to work for her.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Now this is a privately produced tribute, right?

NAYDER: Yes, you can see that on YouTube as well, but I wouldn't if I were you.

SIMON: So you're getting lots of campaign songs sent to you by people?

NAYDER: Yes, yes they are. I think that that's the one thing about this campaign that's made it so exciting is it's Internet driven in many ways: money, music, the drugs, I mean it's just, it's all there for you if you need it.

SIMON: Jim, it's always a pleasure to talk to you.

NAYDER: Scott, I knew Jerry Lewis, and sir, you are no Jerry Lewis.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I beg to differ. You know, Jerry Lewis and I have the same birthday?

NAYDER: That proves he's not your father, which is the only proof.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: It doesn't prove that at all.

Jim Nayder, host of the "Annoying Music Show."

(Soundbite of Campaign Song)

Unindentified Man #5: (Singing) Presidentially yours. Presidentially yours. Those are the words everyone…

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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