Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…

What’s been the political smash of the week? John Howard’s take on Fleetwood Mac or the latest cover of “Your Cheatin’ Heart”?

It’s been Howard. Poor love rat Ross Cameron didn’t even make the Top 10 with his version of the Hank Williams classic. He only came in at Number 12, despite all his dramas.

“Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you.” Ross sure said plenty. Enough to leave his career and his chances of hanging on to his 1.2 per cent marginal seat of Parramatta looking pretty, according to the polls – but not enough to make the big time in the Canberra charts. Perhaps he only really got put on high rotation on 2WS.

Howard it was – a very humble Howard, it seems. “Little Lies”? Great big whoppers, told over and over again for almost three years is more like it.

And looking at the charts, it seems there’s a couple of weird trends developing.

When they hear the name Elvis Costello, most people think “Pump It Up” or “Everyday I Write the Book”. Old, old, old. They should listen to some of his more recent stuff – like the Painted From Memory album with Burt Bacharach.

Not only is it sublime, but there’s also an interesting story that goes with it. After they’d written the songs, the odd couple recorded the album in LA while a group of jazz musos lead by guitar supreme Bill Frisell were putting their own version on wax on the east coast. Both were released simultaneously.

Some of John Howard’s friends seem to have done the same with his version of “Lies” – with a fair bit of success. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone all made the Top 40 singing the same tune.

That brings us to weird trend number two. Fleetwood Mac covers and gansta rap aren’t often bracketed together, but just as one rap track often provokes a riposte from a rival posse, Howard’s “Lies” have generated a response.

The obvious Labor people – Senate leader John Faulkner, Defence shadow Kim Beazley and Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd – have all come out with replies that have cracked the Top 40.

Like Howard’s back up band of Downer, Hill and Vanstone, they’re doing the same song too. And, given the subject matter, they’ve also been joined with simultaneous releases from two independents with integrity in the Reps, Peter Andren and Tony Windsor, in the Canberra charts.

The song they’re doing is rather radical for polite pols. Radical, but timely. It’s an old chestnut from “Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols”, “Liar”:

“Lie lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
Tell me why tell me why
Why d’you have to lie
Should’ve realised that
Should’ve told the truth
Should’ve realised
You know what I’ll do..”

Should realise that a lot of people are going to vote Labor because of this, Prime Minister.

Who’s hot, who’s not: The Rehame Top 40 Pols

RankNameMentionsLast WeekRank
1John Howard565351631
2Mark Latham334031412
3Alexander Downer11115803
4John Faulkner4952970
5Jenny Macklin49311523
6John Anderson39925112
7Tony Abbott3672908
8Bob Brown2604866
9Kim Beazley2303647
10Kevin Rudd21214618
11Andrew Bartlett19412121
12Ross Cameron1767125
13Mark Vaile15418314
14Warren Truss15313919
15Ian Campbell1468633
16Peter Costello1305275
17Philip Ruddock1109330
18Larry Anthony906740
19Robert Hill8311225
20Joel Fitzgibbon7710110
21Sharman Stone758136
22Don Randall702082
23Lindsay Tanner6413120
24Tony Windsor628136
25Natasha Stott Despoja588732
26David Hawker563264
27Julia Gillard556043
28Amanda Vanstone5416416
29Kevin Andrews5311324
30Aden Ridgeway5110110
31Gary Nairn506242
31Trish Draper500194
33Mal Brough493264
33Malcolm Turnbull495384
35Brendan Nelson4810627
36Peter Andren472474
37Sophie Panopoulos4512102
38Ian Macdonald442474
39Helen Coonan439729
39Rod Kemp435349
40Peter Lindsay413959

Christian Kerr can be contacted at christian @crikey.com.au