Campaign Sheet Music: Historical Background
Political music was written to stir
the emotions, generate candidate support, and cast doubt on the
opposition. Many of the lyrics in the 1800's were set to popular
tunes of the day such as "John Brown's Body,""Go Tell Aunt Rody," "Yankee
Doodle," and "Battle Cry of Freedom." The following is one example
of words set to an existing tune.
Zachary Taylor, Whig 1848
Rough and Ready - Celebrates Taylor's Military
Words by Alfred Wheeler
Tune: "Yankee Doodle"
Published By: Firth, Hall & Pond, New York, N.Y., 1847
We'll sing a song to suit the times,
With voices bold and steady,
And cheerily we'll tell in rhymes
Of good old Rough and Ready.
His foes may slander as they can,
And bluster at his manners,
Who cares a fig? He's just the man
To lead the Yankee banners.
In Florida he gained a name
That won our admiration,
And loudly has his gallant fame
Been echoed thro' the nation.
There's not a heart in all the land,
That beats not firm and steady,
For the hero of the Rio Grande,
Old gallant Rough and Ready.
At Monterrey he showed the world
That Yankees ne'er are daunted,
The flag of freedom he unfurled,
And on the towers planted;
And there it waves in triumph high
'Mid freemen bold and steady,
A monument to every eye
Of gallant Rough and Ready.
Old Zach's the boy for Santa Anna,
Ampudia or Arista,
And long 'twill be ere they forget
The field of Buena Vista.
Though legions of the foeman swarm,
Against our brave defenders,
Old Rough and Ready they will find
The man who ne'er surrenders.
Success has aye with glory bright
Upon his path attended,
And give him but the chance to fight,
The war will soon be ended.
And never shall Columbia cease
To cherish long and steady,
The man in war and peace,
The same old Rough and Ready.
Now we predict it won't be long,
In spite of Madam Rumor,
Before we sing this very song
In the Halls of Montezuma.
And then we'll shout in chorus strong,
With voices firm and steady,
And this the burden of our song,
Old gallant Rough and Ready.
Then Rough and Ready let it ring,
And set the bells a chiming,
Where'er we go we're bound to sing
His praises in our rhyming.
Original music was also created.
Marches were very popular in the 1800's as was Ragtime in the
campaigns of the early twentieth century.
People's Choice March
Grant's Grand March and the McKinley "People's
Choice March" do not have any lyrics. They were probably used at
political events to rally the crowd. The Harding music had a companion
piano roll and record.
These three examples are courtesy of the Macy Hallock collection.
Warren G. Harding, Republican 1920
Words and Tune By: John C. Madden
Published By: Welden Company, Philadelphia, 1920
Blow those whistles, Toot that horn,
There's a new man on his way to Washington
It's time the news to the world was borne,
You can tell what he will do down there from what he's done,
He's handled mighty well some ticklish jobs,
And he's brot a-bout results exactly right, you know,
Oh "Cits" and soldiers, marines and gobs,
Come get in line for Harding from OHIO.
Cease your worries, Be content,
There's a new man on his way to Washington,
It's time that we had a President,
Who will do the things he should,
Oh! He can deal with Bolshivik or King,
And in such a way that's exactly right, you know,
What Harding's got, Boys is just the thing,
To make a bang-up President from OHIO.
Oh, Harding has always done the proper thing,
Oh, harding, satisfactions's bound to bring,
When duty calls, he never stalls, he always does his level best,
For North or South, for East or West.
Oh! Harding will prove a first class diplomat,
You've never called him yet, but he's been there,
He's the man for the best job in the land, Washington,
Here's a reg'lar son,
For Presidential Chair.