19 February 2008
Hannah Strange, Times Online
He battled the Vietcong but now John McCain has apparently come a-cropper against the Swedes.
The Republican candidate, who had already been banned by John Mellencamp, the American rocker, from using his hits 'Our Country' and 'Pink Houses', found out that he has few fans in Scandinavia when he tried to adopt Abba's "Take a chance on me" as his campaign song. After running into difficulties with the Swedish supergroup, McCain lamented to reporters on board his plane that it wasn't as easy to play the song as he thought.
“It gets expensive in a big hurry and if you’re not careful you can alienate some Swedes,” he joked.“If word gets out to Stockholm that we’re using Abba music, then there’ll be a
worsening in U.S.-Swedish relations.”
He'll just have to pray that the conservative wing of the Republican party doesn't similarly reject his advances...
But McCain's not the only candidate whose choices of campaign song have proved problematic:
Hillary Clinton held an online contest to choose her anthem - and proved that the democratic system has its failings when she got landed with the schmaltzy Celine Dion ballad "You and I". After a thorough panning - the Huffington Post declared it the worst campaign theme song - she ditched the Canadian songstress' tune for Big Head Todd and the Monsters' "Blue Sky".
Barack Obama likes to play DJ at his campaign events and reportedly flicks through his iPod for his favourite Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin tune before handing it to a junior staffer to play. But his micromanagement failed to prevent a rather unfortunate gaffe at his New Hampshire primary night rally when, convinced by the polls he was headed for victory, he cued up Stevie Wonder's "Signed, sealed, delivered." And we all know the rest.
(Obama's also picked a few unofficial campaign songs along the way: the surprise YouTube hit "I got a crush on Obama" by Obama Girl - including the catchy line "I saw you float onto the floor at the Democratic Convention 2004, I never wanted you more" - and Will.i.am's slightly more intellectual effort "Yes We Can".)
Mike Huckabee got a public dressing-down from Tom Scholtz of rock band Boston after he played their hit "More than a feeling" at campaign events. Scholtz left no one in any doubt of his feelings about Huckabee, who, he said was "the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for." Adding that he was supporting Barack Obama, Scholtz complained: "By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"