5 songs you probably didn′t know made waves during an election campaign | High Five | DW | 22.04.2016
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High Five

5 songs you probably didn't know made waves during an election campaign

From Adele to U2, songs by top artists have been "borrowed" by politicians looking to make a strong impression. Often, the musicians aren't happy about it.

Nowadays, not even election campaigns can do without pop music. Pick a song with a heart-wrenching melody and lyrics you can misinterpret to your advantage, and off you go, fishing for sympathy during rallies.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his use of "Beautiful Day" by the Irish band U2 in his 2005 election campaign is a good example. The hit song with its soaring melody and optimistic lyrics was all he needed. The Labor politician seemed well on his way to winning a third term in office. While U2 was never officially asked for permission, the band and its politically active lead singer Bono never really spoke out against the use of the song either.

The case of US presidential campaigner Donald Trump is quite a different story. Trump loves to stage his performances with pomp and musical entertainment. However, most musicians he chooses as unofficial campaign supporters are anything but enthusiastic.

No permission

The multi-billionaire rolled out to the crowds on an escalator in June 2015 to announce his candidature to the tunes of Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free World." The lyrics criticize the social policies of the Republican administration of George W. Bush. Young announced Trump was not authorized to use the song - and gave his opponent Bernie Sanders permission to use it instead.

R.E.M got really angry when Republican Ted Cruz and Donald Trump played "It's the End of the World as We Know It" last year at a joint event. "Go f... yourselves, you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men," was band leader Michael Stipes' reaction on Twitter. "Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign."

Trump has also played Aerosmith's "Dream On" and the Everlast classic "Jump Around," but all he got were declarations to cease and desist.

If all else fails, Trump could still play arias like "Nessun Dorma" from the opera Turandot - lots of emotion, and since the composer died more than 90 years ago, he can't put up a fight.

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