25 Pre-Screened Songs to Avoid for Presidential Rallies

Portrait of Bing Crosby circa 1945. Swinging on a Star, written by jazz and film critic Gary Giddins, is out now.

To avoid future song blunders, we are offering these ideas free of charge to candidates from either party.


“Golden Blunders,” sang the Posies, “come in pairs.” 

As we’ve reported, this is true of Trump’s recent golden song blunders, which came in a pair of songs used recently at his events, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son.”

Both were ridiculously bad choices for so many reasons, as would be obvious from screening each song first, by listening to it, or reading the lyric. Titles alone won’t do it. “Fortunate Son” might have seemed like the ideal song based on that title. It isn’t.


So in the spirit of civic responsibility we are offering our help. As a resource of song knowledge, we can save valuable song-screening time by providing lists of pre-screened songs, each of which, for various reasons should be taken out of consideration.


In no way do we mean to imply these are bad songs in any way. Many are extremely popular songs by some of our greatest artists. Even The Beatles have two on the list.

But for many reasons determined by our team of experts, and by a newly created algorithm which can weed out any noticeable irritant in a song, be it linguistic, melodic, sonic, rhythmic, cultural or something else altogether, each song listed is verified as a song to be avoided absolutely for use at any presidential campaign rally.

25 Songs to be Avoided at Campaign Events

  1. Culture Club, “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” 
  2. Green Day, “American Idiot”
  3. The Beatles, “Helter Skelter”
  4. George Michael, “Father Figure”
  5. Ringo Starr, “You’re Sixteen”
  6. Phil Collins, “Sussudio”
  7. The Dead Kennedys, “Kill The Poor”
  8. Randy Newman, “Half A Man”
  9. Frank Zappa, “Dinah Mo Humm”
  10. Michael Jackson, “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”
  11. Nickelback, “Something In Your Mouth”
  12. Aerosmith, “Dude Looks Like A Lady”
  13. Jefferson Starship,” “We Built This City”
  14. The Carpenters, “Rainy Days and Mondays”
  15. Smiths, “Suffer Little Children”
  16. The Beatles, “Revolution #9”
  17. The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”
  18. Paul Anka, “Having My Baby”
  19. Sublime, “Date Rape” 
  20. Maurice Chevalier, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”
  21. Rolling Stones, “Brown Sugar” 
  22. Dean Martin, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
  23. Serge Gainsbourg, “Lemon Incest”
  24. Marilyn Manson, “We Are Chaos”
  25. Bing Crosby, “White Christmas” 

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