September 6, 2004

Bush campaign music, especially "Hang On Sloopy."

Elisabeth Bumiller writes in today's NYT about the music used by the Bush campaign. I took note the other day of the Kerry campaign's use of the Springsteen song "No Surrender," so let me take a look at the Bush campaign's selections. They've got a new video that uses "Taking Care of Business," and they follow something called the Karl Rove rule, according to campaign strategist Mark McKinnon:
"We go by the Karl Rove rule," Mr. McKinnon said, referring to the president's 53-year-old political adviser. "If Rove has heard it, we can't use it."
Hmmm.... Karl Rove and I are the same age. Same age as Rush Limbaugh too (Rush and I were born on the very same day). Karl Rove doesn't know "Taking Care of Business"? I guess it's not terribly hard to find songs he hasn't heard.

The Bush campaign is really sick of "Eye of the Tiger":
"We finally sent out the mandate that if anybody plays 'Eye of the Tiger' again we're going to come out and kill them," Mr. McKinnon said.
They also play "Hang On Sloopy," supposedly, according to McKinnon because it's "so old it's cool." Wait, I think "Hang On Sloopy" has always been cool. It was cool when it came out, it was cool in the 70s, and it was cool in the 80s. When wasn't it cool? Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is one song that did not have to age to regain coolness.

The Times notes that it's the "official rock song of Ohio State University," and they were playing it in Ohio, which, we all know, is the single most important state in the union. This is an election about what Ohio wants, it seems, so by all means, play them their song.

Wisconsin is a swing state too, not as big as Ohio, but I bet we could make them cater to our taste too. But we don't have an official rock song, so I think we ought to have one. Email me at althouse at wisc dot edu with some ideas for an official rock song for Wisconsin. I don't like our rival Ohio having one and not us. We've already got a better state song, so maybe that means we don't need a state rock song, but it would be interesting to try to think up what the right state rock song would be.
If you're wondering why "Hang On Sloopy" is the state rock song for Ohio, you can read the actual resolution here. The "whereas" clauses include:
WHEREAS, In 1965, an Ohio-based rock group known as the McCoys reached the top of the national record charts with "Hang On Sloopy," and ...

WHEREAS, If fans of jazz, country-and-western, classical, Hawaiian and polka music think those styles also should be recognized by the state, then by golly, they can push their own resolution just like we're doing; and ...

WHEREAS, Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town, and everybody, yeah, tries to put my Sloopy down; and ... therefore be it

Resolved ...
UPDATE: Maybe I'm too hard on the New York Times. I appreciated this article quite a bit, and I loved learning about "Hang On Sloopy," but did you notice the Times referred to it as the "official rock song of Ohio State University," when research shows it's the official rock song of the whole state?

As I write this, I can hear the UW marching band practicing playing "On Wisconsin!"--which is not just our official school song, it's our official state song. For an early post discussing my interest in state songs, go here. You can see all the Wisconsin state symbols there, including the state fossil (trilobite!). I remembered blogging about the state motto, "Forward," and I found the post back here in mid-February. It turns out it's a post about John Kerry being boring by working "Forward" into a speech he gave in Wisconsin.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've gotten some email doubting that "Hang On Sloopy" is really the official rock song of the state of Ohio, so I did a little Nexis search and found plenty of confirmation, including a March 14, 1999 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, written by Joe Dirck. Here are some highlights:
14 years ago I led the successful drive to have "Hang On Sloopy" named Ohio's official rock song.

It started as sort of a joke. The state of Washington was considering making "Louie, Louie" its state rock song, and I suggested in a column in the old Columbus Citizen-Journal that Ohio adopt "Sloopy," which never fails to send Ohio State fans into a frenzy when the OSU marching band plays it at football games.

Well, the thing took on a life of its own. A team of morning radio jocks ran with the idea, and pretty soon there were "Sloopy" rallies and petition drives being held around town. … I picked my sponsors carefully. …

Well, I don't want to brag, but we won. Big. It passed at a festive session marked by the OSU band performing its rendition of "Sloopy" in the hallowed chamber. …

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