Top 10 Songs About The President



presidentialstandardThat’s it, there’s no way to escape, the presidential election is finally upon us. In honor of the big event, we thought this would be a good time to gather some songs about the president. Not this president, the president. Some president songs are appeals for help or recognition from whoever’s in the big chair, others imagine what it’s like being president. None of these songs names a particular commander-in-chief, but some of them definitely have a particular one in mind, the release date is an obvious clue. In any case, nobody should talk politics on a music site.

But if you haven’t already, make sure you get out and vote.

 

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1. Randy Newman – Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man) (1974)

Millennials seem to hold a negative view of Randy Newman thanks to some pretty funny but mean caricatures on The Simpsons and Family Guy. But he helped bring social and political satire to Rock, like an American Ray Davies, and some of his early stuff is as timely and hard-hitting as ever. In my book this is still the gold standard of president songs. Key lyric: “We ain’t asking for you to love us / You may place yourself high above us / Mr. President, have pity on the working man”.

 

2. Wyclef Jean – (If I Was The) President (2004)

A really great song from the brilliant crossover artist. If the attitude and the groove aren’t enough, the nice little guitar lick at the end is the final straw assuring its rightful place under the big Rock tent. Wyclef took the song’s theme to heart, attempting a run at the Haitian presidency in 2010. Key Lyric: “If I was president / I’d get elected on Friday / assassinated on Saturday / and buried on Sunday”.

 

3. The Psychedelic Furs – President Gas (1982)

This band was pretty big around 1984 but they are all but forgotten today, which is a bit of a shame. I think “The Ghost In You” is an all-time classic, and lead singer Richard Butler still has one of the most distinctive voices in Rock history. This one kicks, too. Key Lyric: “Don’t cry, don’t do anything / No lies, back in the government / No tears, party time is here again / President Gas is up for president”.

 

4. Fitz and the Tantrums – Dear Mr. President (2010)

A great track from their great debut album Pickin’ Up The Pieces. These guys show how you update an old style and make it contemporary and your own. Key Lyric: There is trouble on the streets / Now is the time and the test we must meet / Dear Mr. President / take a look around / Please Mr. President / put your foot down”.

 

5. Extreme – When I’m President (1990)

From their breakout album Pornografitti. Of course, it was supposed to be a joke, because back then people assumed you needed certain qualifications to run for president. Key Lyric: I’ll spend all the money when I stop the arms race / All my brothers in the desert / Gonna have themselves a feast / When that’s done then we’ll start on world peace”.

 

6. Wilco – Christ For President (1998)

This is from Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue album, in which they created the music and melodies for some of Woody Guthrie’s unfinished songs. Jeff Tweedy himself would never have written such a clear and straightforward lyric, but it does have an ironic feel in his hands. Key Lyric: “The only way / We could ever beat / These crooked politician men / Is to cast the moneychangers / Out of the temple / Put the Carpenter in”. 

 

7. Marilyn Manson – President Dead (2000)

I suppose you can’t talk about presidents without talking about dead presidents. This song is exactly 3:13 long because frame 313 of the Zapruder film capturing the JFK assassination is the exact gruesome moment when the fatal bullet hit Kennedy’s head. Now that’s what I call attention to detail. Key Lyric: “President Dead is clueless / and he’s caught in a headlight, police-state god / and his skull is stained glass.”

 

8. Janelle Monae – Mr. President (2008)

Some heartfelt stuff from the brilliant Ms. Monae, another artist who can gather some old sounds, bring them together and make something new and exciting. Some sweet little guitar playing on this one too. Key Lyric: “Please Mr. President / Where’s all the money you spent / Food is fallin low / And they have nowhere to go / Quit slowin me down”.

 

9. Big Country – The President Slipped And Fell (1999)

A fun little number from the Scottish rockers, more like a laundry list of random observations than anything else, although its release date makes me wonder if they were referring to a specific scandal. Key Lyric: “A man at the altar with his 23rd bride / A million small investors who were taken for ride / A billion dollar budget for the special effects / And a holy man told us not to have sex”.

 

10. Neil Young – Let’s Impeach The President (2006)

OK, so this one’s obviously about a specific president, but since all sides now seem to agree that the Iraq war was a mistake, maybe it’s not so partisan anymore. It’s like an artifact from a more innocent time. Key lyric: “Let’s impeach the President for lying / And misleading our country into war / Abusing all the power that we gave him / And shipping all our money out the door”.

 

 

 

 

 

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