Add Bernie Sanders to the list of politicos digging into pop music’s greatest hits catalog for an ad campaign boost.
The latest is Bernie Sanders, who unveiled an ad on Thursday featuring Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.” No voiceover, just the song (combining lyrics from two different verses) played out against footage from Sanders’ campaign stops primarily in Iowa:
Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together/ I’ve got some real estate here in my bag . . . . Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They’ve all come to look for America All come to look for America /All come to look for America
According to Variety, the 1968 song is being used with the permission of Art Garfunkel “but a spokesman for the candidate said it was not meant as an endorsement from the duo.”
Via Twitter, the Sanders campaign explained the new ad thusly:
“This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump. This campaign is about you.”
On the other side of the 2016 campaign world, Donald Trump got two “cease and desist” letters in 2015 from Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler’s camp to stop using “Dream On” during his presidential run.
There’s a long history of politics and top pop/rock tunes mixing it up. Just a few:
You might recall Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” as his campaign’s rallying cry in 1992 (with the band’s blessing). George W. Bush got a “cease and desist” order from Tom Petty for using “I Won’t Back Down” on the 2000 campaign trail without the singer’s permission.
Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and Ben Harper’s “Better Way” were faves of Barack Obama during his White House campaign run in 2008. And Who can forget Heart’s “Barracuda” at the Republican National Convention in 2008 when John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate?
And of course,there wasFrank Sinatra’s reworking of “High Hopes” as and ode to his most famous pallie, John F. Kennedy, during the senator’s run for the White House in 1960.