As the votes for a president on the other side of the planet are counted, when you’re watching the talking heads at work and participating in the array of Crikey’s awesome election drinking games, why not check out some tunes to match the mood? Crikey shines the spotlight on the respective campaign playlists:

While Barack Obama has an official election campaign soundtrack — Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement — John McCain’s playlist proves far more elusive. In fact, it is easier to find the list of rejected songs than those that have actually been used. John Mellencamp asked the McCain campaign to stop using two of his songs, the Foo Fighters objected to the use of their track My Hero, and Jackson Browne, Bon Jovi and Heart also took a dim view of the use of their songs. The latter — Heart’s Barracuda ­­– was Sarah Palin’s official anthem, a nickname from her feisty college basketball days. (McCain might have used Heart’s Magic Man, but drug references probably disqualified it.)

So, what has McCain actually used? Good question. He has definitely used two tracks as his official campaign song: first it was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, before he settled on Abba’s Take a Chance on Me. One would’ve thought he’d go for something a bit more assured.

For all you Republicans out there, your official — well, kind of — John McCain 2008 U.S. Election Day playlist is:

  1. Heart — Barracuda
  2. John Mellancamp — Our Country
  3. Van Halen — Right Now
  4. Foo Fighters — My Hero
  5. Abba — Take a Chance on Me
  6. Bon Jovi — Who Says You Can’t Go Home
  7. Jackson Browne — Running on Empty
  8. John Mellancamp — Pink Houses
  9. Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode
  10. Gretchen Wilson — Redneck Woman (I’m serious, they actually used it)

The liberal music community have been queuing up to have their work aligned with Barack Obama’s historic election campaign. The leading voice of this fraternity has been the fiercely patriotic Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, who’s been spruiking the Illinois senator’s campaign at every opportunity, whether during his concerts or warming up the crowd at Obama rallies. The Boss has an interesting history with such matters; in 1984 he reacted angrily to Ronald Reagan’s use of Born in the USA, an anti-Vietnam War song the late President attempted to use in his re-election campaign.

Springsteen’s The Rising — a reflection on the September 11 terrorist attacks — has become Obama’s unofficial theme song, and has been performed by the veteran performer at a number of Obama-Biden campaign rallies. As if Obama needed any more money, Springsteen and Billy Joel played a benefit together in New York in October.

So, the official donkey playlist — mostly taken from his soundtrack — for all you Obama-ites is:

  1. Bruce Springsteen — The Rising
  2. Stevie Wonder — Signed, Sealed, Delivered
  3. Billy Joel — River of Dreams
  4. John Mayer — Waiting on the World to Change
  5. Jill Scott — One is the Magic Number
  6. Jackson Browne — Looking East (he approved this one)
  7. Sheryl Crowe — Out of our Heads
  8. Dave Stewart — American Prayer
  9. Lionel Richie — Eternity
  10. James Brown — Funky President

Any songs we missed? Email us at [email protected]

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey