It’s the eve of the most important election in a generation. It seems like a straight choice between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May for Prime Minister. But what about if some of your favourite celebrities threw their hat in the ring too.? Here’s eleven of music’s best (and worst) attempts at political careers, by artists who quickly realised the transition from Wembley to Westminster isn’t an easy one.
Bez: The Happy Mondays maracas man was hoping for more votes than he had songwriting credits in May 2015 when he ran as We Are The Reality Party candidate in Salford, promising free beer and a “vision for global democracy.” He received just 703 votes and lost out to Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP, who received 21,364.
Dave Rowntree: The Blur drummer ran as the Labour candidate for Westminster in 2010. He couldn’t quite find the magic to whip up enough votes to win, but at least he wasn’t off writing operas or stood knee-deep in cheese like his other bandmates. He tried to stand again in Norwich in 2015 but fell at the final round of noms. He’s now a Labour councillor for University Ward, Norwich, but his journey to the Commons seems over, for now. Guess we don’t all go hand in hand after all…
Peter Wishart: Celtic rocker Wishart – formerly of Scottish groups Big Country and Runrig – stood as a candidate for the SNP in 2001 and good lord he actually won. The toffs in the House of Commons seemingly weren’t too keen on letting the Pete in, abolishing his constituency soon after, but Wishart got the last laugh by getting elected for a second time in 2005. Rock on, Runrig!
Rhys Hutchings: Goldie Lookin’ Chain were anything but serious during their short stint near the top of the charts, but Hutchings, aka Dwain Xain Zedong, aka P.Xain, aka Zardoz, is now a pillar of the community. He was elected as a Labour Councillor in Newport in 2012 and also had several recipe books published. All this from a man who once penned a tune called ‘Your Mother’s Got A Penis’.
Waka Flocka Flame: “I’m dead ass running for president in 2016,” the Atlanta rapper tweeted on November 6 2012. Turns out he wasn’t kidding. Launching his official campaign in April, Waka revealed plans to immediately legalise weed, ban dogs in restaurants and impose harsh restrictions on people with big feet. We’re not sure either Hilary Clinton or Trump were particularly worried though…
Screaming Lord Sutch: This veteran of 40 elections (he’s lost every single one) released a load of horror-themed singles in the early 1960s, including “Jack the Ripper” which has been covered by equally untameable bands The White Stripes and Black Lips. Popularly known for forming the Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983, Sutch was the lovably eccentric Mad Hatter of politics.
Krist Novoselic: Krist Novoselic was well known for his activism even while he was in Nirvana. It was still a shock, however, when the grunge titan campaigned to become a county clerk of Washington State in 2009. He pulled out in the end when he realised just how fucking awesome he’d have been compared to the lily-livered saps that ran the place, not wanting to make them look bad. Probably.
Wyclef Jean: Haiti-born Jean has been the perfect gentleman to his home nation over the years, raising over a $1m in aid through his earthquake relief charity, Yele Haiti. In 2010 he filed for candidacy in the Haiti Presidential Election, even releasing the song “If I Was President” in support of his campaign, but was ineligible to run due to being out of the country for five years. Dang.
Martha Reeves: She was dancing in the street in 2005 when elected to Detroit City Council, but the Grammy-nominated soul singer was “glad it was over” in 2009 when she was unceremoniously dumped by the people. Reeves earned less than 1% of the vote on re-election, and promptly went back to her “first career” as a good-time Motown mama.
2 Chainz: College Park, Georgia could soon be in the hands of the rapper, who recently announced his intention to run for office there: “I’m really gonna do this little mayor thing. I’m trying to make sure I have the right qualifications.” If he’s as straight-talking in politics as he is on the mic (sample lyric: “she got a big booty so I call her Big Booty”) he gets our vote.
Sonny Bono: Perhaps the most successful singer ever to take a punt at politics, Sonny, sideman to Cher, gave up singing when it occurred to him that – unlike his musical partner – he didn’t look that good dancing on a boat in a leather one-piece. He was elected Mayor of Palm Springs in 1988 and went on to become a California Congressman in 1995. Well, music’s loss is… actually, no it isn’t.