In an NJ.com post today, Brent Johnson wondered what Gov. Christie’s campaign song will be, assuming he goes ahead with his still-not-officially-confirmed run. Johnson came up with a few serious candidates, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” and some not-so-serious ones (“The Impossible Dream,” Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man”).
Nowadays, of course, a candidate will adopt a song that’s already very well known. But it wasn’t always that way. Campaign songs were written for that purpose, and were usually never heard from again.
That was the case the last time a New Jerseyan won the position. Woodrow Wilson, the former New Jersey governor and Princeton University president who was in the White House from 1913 to 1921, used as his 1912 campaign song “Wilson, That’s All,” co-written by Tin Pan Alley writers Ballard MacDonald and George Walter Brown.
The song recycles a popular advertising slogan of the day: “Say Wilson, that’s all,” used by Wilson Whiskey. The second verse even plays on the connection: “When a fellow meets a fellow/And he says to him, ‘What’s yours?’/He says, ‘I think I’ll have to drink/To the Democratic cause.’ ”
Folksinger Oscar Brand recorded the song for his 1999 album, Presidential Campaign Songs, 1789–1996. Check it out below.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014 And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.
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