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Music

These music stars are singing the praises of Clinton and Trump

While KatyPerry and Lady Gaga have been vocal about their support for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has Ted Nugent and the Naked Cowboy on his side. Here are the stars that are using song to sway the vote.

The pull of celebrity status has often swayed voters. And this time, one of the candidates is actually a reality TV star.

In a preliminary rough count, Hillary Clinton seems to be the clear favorite among musicians. Whereas Wikipedia lists nine singers and musicians who have endorsed Trump, the list for Clinton is much longer, with 36 DJs and instrumentalists, 33 rappers and 250 singer-songwriters and vocalists.

Some switched allegiance to Clinton after having advocated her rival, Bernie Sanders, in the primary election campaign. His ardent supporters included Vampire Weekend, David Crosby, Simon & Garfunkel and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Stevie Wonder in concert (picture-alliance/AP Photo/J.Mone)

Stevie Wonder is a Hillary fan

Many musicias haven't just expressed their political leanings with words - but also with their art. A video of Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" features 35 stars all singing in support of Clinton. They include Aisha Tyler, Alan Cumming, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Jane Fonda, Kristin Chenoweth, Mandy Moore, Renee Fleming, Rob Reiner and Sia

Stevie Wonder, an occasional guest at the White House during the Obama administration, delivered this tribute to the Democratic nominee on her 69th birthday on October 26.

Adamant in her support, 32-year-old singer-songwriter Katy Perry has said, "I do believe this woman believes in unconditional love. She sees equally, all parts." Thirty-year-old Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta alias Lady Gaga tweeted, "Nothing can keep a strong woman down. VOTE for the first female U.S. president in history. Shake it up America, this country needs a little rock n' roll." Hip hopper Pharrell Williams, 43, concurs on the gender issue: "It's time for a woman to be in there. Women think about things in a holistic way, it's not so individual."

Other Clinton endorsers include Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Ice-T, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Morrissey, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Usher, will.i.am, 50 Cent and Kanye West. Clinton - seriously or not - has even suggested the latter as a running mate, adding, "I've told Kanye that I think he might want to wait. Because I'll be running for re-election."

Lady Gaga (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Nelson)

Gaga for Hillary

Trump's outspoken advocates

That broad base of musical celebrity support can be seen as reflecting the Clintons' long-time cultivation of ties with Hollywood, but not only. As for Hilary Clinton's opponent, while the list of musicians supporting Donald Trump is far shorter, like the candidate himself, it's colorful.

Singer Wayne Newton, otherwise known as "Mr. Las Vegas," is a long-time friend. Speaking of Trump, the 74-year-old crooner is quoted as saying, "He’s an incredible, caring human being. And if we ever needed those qualities in the White House, it's now."

Despite Trump's promise to shake up the system, a number of his musician friends and supporters are in their older years, including the 82-year-old Pat Boone, the second biggest charting artist of the late 1950s (after Elvis Presley). The ardent Christian, Republican and long-time political activist was named a national co-chairman of Mr. Trump’s advisory committee on seniors issues. Boone cites Trump's "vast business experience and proven executive experience" and cautiously adds thatthere is a chance that Trump will "seek to do the will of God if elected."

Loretta Lynn (AP)

Loretta Lynn prefers Trump but likes Obama, too

Country music legend Loretta Lynn, 84 also chimed in her support of the real estate tycoon in his presidential bid, explaining to "Time" magazine, "What he says he's going to do, I think he can do." Lynn also suggests that her opinion mirrors that of her audiences, telling the Reuters news agency, "When you get up there and try to say you want to see Hillary Clinton win, that wouldn't go over so big." But the "Queen of Country Music," awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013, isn't completely partisan. "I like Obama, and I like his wife. I liked Bill Clinton, too," she has said.

Not just the oldies

Roughly half the age of Loretta Lynn and Pat Boone, 45-year-old southern rocker Kid Rock told the music magazine "Rolling Stone" that he's "digging Donald Trump," adding "Let the business guy run the country like a business. And his campaign has been entertaining as sh--."

Twenty-eight-year-old pop singer Aaron Carter, for his part, endorsed his candidate in February this year, tweeting, "Does America want to have a president who FOLLOWS or someone who leads?" In October, however, after the release of a tape of sexually explicit and predatory remarks made years earlier by the Republican nominee, Carter withdrew his endorsement.

Endorser's regret was also felt by Azealia Banks. Once convinced that "Trump is the only one who truly has the balls to bust up big business," the 25-year old female rapper offered an additional, if cynical argument: "Donald Trump is evil like America is evil and in order for America to keep up with itself it needs him." After that "October Surprise" tape release, however, Banks reconsidered her position in a Facebook post, claiming that she felt "dumb for ever having added [her] two cents to this election mess."

Robert John Burck, naked cowboy (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Horsten)

The Naked Cowboy makes his statement

Another black rapper, 37-year-old D’Juan Montrel Hart, better known as Young Dro, voiced his support of the Republican nominee in more terse words:  "I feel good about politics and the way it's going down," he said. I hope Donald Trump do win."

One Trump supporter, Robert John Burck, otherwise known as the Naked Cowboy, was himself a candidate for president in 2012. For years, the performer has been a fixture on New York's Times Square, sporting only his guitar and briefs. 

Somewhat more loquatious is the 67-year-old hard-rocker Ted Nugent, who offered "20 Reasons to Vote for Trump" and appeared in a campaign ad. Echoing an often-heard argument in favor of his candidate, the outspoken guitarist and NRA board member has remarked, "Donald Trump's message sings to Americans because he doesn't play politically correct brain-dead games. He calls them like he sees them."  

What's playing - or not - at Trump rallies

As with most things Donald Trump does, it is plausible that he selects his own playlist. Unusual for a modern presidential bid, it includes a number from the classical repertory, "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot." While some of his followers may cringe at the schooled singing, they probably concur with the message: "Fade, you stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!"

Ted Nugent lives in Hamburg (picture-alliance/jazzarchiv)

Ted Nugent doesn't mince words

Once included on Trump's playlist was music by Adele, R.E.M., Neil Young, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones. After Trump came onstage at the Republican National Convention in July to the strains of Queen's "We Are the Champions," the rock group declared on Twitter that this was an "unauthorized use against our wishes."

The other aforementioned artists all officially demanded that the candidate remove their music from his rallies, sometimes using terminology that cannot be quoted here. R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills added, "The Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him." Inspired by these actions, star musicians Cyndi Lauper, Usher, Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Michael Bolton and The Wilson Sisters then took a humorous but unambiguous stand against politicians exploiting unauthorized music in "Don't Use Our Song"

Trump's rallies also feature music by his "good friend" Elton John, who seems not to reciprocate the warmth, however: "It's nothing personal," the singer told the Guardian last January, but "I'm not a Republican in a million years. Why not ask Ted f---ing Nugent?"

Adele (picture alliance/AP Images/J. Strauss)

Trump is a big Adele fan, but, it seems, not vice-versa

Ripe for parody

Likewise, Barbra Streisand also didn't exhibit warmth toward Trump, though she did sing a faux-duet with the Republican nominee - aka late-night TV show host Jimmy Fallon.

As for who has been actively singing on behalf of Donald Trump's candidacy, no joke, there were The Freedom Kids, warbling strangely authoritarian lyrics at Trump rallies. That, however, was short-lived. In what seemed like a leitmotiv from the controversial billionaire's career, one of the girls' fathers, Jeff Popkick, eventually sued the Trump campaign, explaining that it promised to let him sell CDs at rallies but didn't follow through.

But does rejection, or outright dislike, of Hillary translate into support for The Donald? Forty-year-old radio host, TV personality and social media celebrity Mark Kaye leaves the issue open in his "Hillary Clinton Song".

As for who will be singing a song of triumph - or  the blues - after November 8, we don't have much longer to wait.

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