David Cameron is such a big fan of Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit that he once visited the Shepherd’s Bush Empire incognito to see them.”There’s quite a good way of sneaking in there,” he said. It’s not the first time music and politics have collided in a cringeworthy manner. Here are 24 more painful moments which prove why politics and pop should never mix…
Former BBC political editor Nick Robinson’s iPad once spontaneously fired out Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ during a Daily Politics live broadcast to much embarrassment, interrupting Caroline Flint MP during a heated post-PMQs debate on banking.
You wouldn’t want to be a critic in Russia. Vladimir Putin recently got up at a black tie fundraiser (watched on by new chum Gerard Depardieu) to not only sing but also bash out on a piano (with one finger) the old Fats Domino tune ‘Blueberry Hill’, proving there’s no beginning to his talents. The assembled crowd clapped and cheered enthusiastically hoping they’d not be sent to the Gulag.
Cameron’s love of The Smiths is legendary, and it’s difficult to gauge who is more offended by this, Morrissey or Marr (Johnny not Andrew). Marr took to Twitter to demand the PM stop listening to his former band, while Morrissey published a diatribe attacking Cameron, who he reported with “fitting grimness… hunts, shoots and kills stags.” Dave says he’ll carry on listening regardless.
Back in the 80s politicians used to show their human side by kissing babies. This got a little bit unhygienic so Labour leader Neil Kinnock decided to appear in a pop video instead – as the guy in Tracey Ullman’s ‘My Guy’ video. In hindsight it was actually quite funny, and as stunts go it beat John Selwyn Gummer MP feeding his daughter a beef burger at the height of the BSE scare.
80s PM Maggie was interviewed by Smash Hits magazine in a bid to make her appeal to future voters. When asked for her favourite song she didn’t say anything by Duran Duran or Wham! but rather ‘(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window?’ by Lita Roza, a 1953 novelty hit.
If Dubya’s dancing was hilarious then check out this guy! Former Russian President and vodka fan Boris Yeltsin – who died in 2007 – is maybe more famous for his pissed auntie-at-a-wedding grooving than his politics. On a diplomatic trip to the US, he was apparently once found outside the White House in his undercrackers attempting to hail a cab in order to track down pizza.
When Tom Watson mentioned Drenge in his resignation letter to leader Ed Miliband it was a step too far into WTF?! territory. Whatever next? Michael Gove spotted at a Purity Ring gig? Danny Alexander expressing love for Foxes? Oof, don’t go there.
If all Mitt Romney’s gaffes during the Presidential Election Campaign of 2012 were laid end to end they’d stretch around the world and finish back up in Utah again. None were more excrutiating than the one where, in a bid to ingratiate himself with young black voters, he stood among a group for a snap and bizarrely broke into the Baha Men’s ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’ Has to be seen to be believed.
In 2006 the then-Chancellor Gordon Brown’s confidantes embarked on Project Gordon, to make PM Tony Blair’s replacement more huggable. They failed, and no moment better exemplifies the falsity of their endeavours than when Gordon Brown – sounding not unlike Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now – expressed a love for Arctic Monkeys, whose music “really wakes you up in the mornings”.
When George Osborne went on the Andrew Marr show, the producers decided to invite in the only three men in Britain probably richer than him; the pop group Keane. The band performed ‘Silenced By The Night’, and rather delightfully Osborne – on realising the camera is on him – starts jiggling back and forth on his seat looking like a man trying to circumnavigate a crowded platform.
In 1997 New Labour came to power after 18 years of Tory rule and Cool Britannia was born, with the likes of Noel Gallagher and Alan McGee accepted invitations to meet Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. Swept to power to the strains of D:ream’s Things Can Only Get Better, the Iraqi people who’ve endured a war since 2003 might beg to differ with the sentiments of that song.
The man responsible for trying to outlaw ‘repetitive beats’ (ie rave music) is down with the kids. The former Home Secretary Michael ‘Dracula’ Howard (Anne Widdecombe said he had “something of the night about him”) defended himself in 2012: “My daughter would regularly attend the Glastonbury festival so I was totally in touch with the kind of things that the younger generation wanted to do.”
If you enjoy a wince come midnight on a Thursday then stay up after Question Time and watch This Week, hosted by the former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil. The jovial Scot presides over a show well-known for its embarrassing moments, but Neil rapping lines at Tinchy Stryder was even more cringey than a Quentin Letts political sketch. Your flow blows bro.
The previous French President, Monsieur Bling himself – Nicolas Sarkozy – didn’t so much hang out with pop stars as marry one. He divorced his first wife soon after taking office. A month later, the world’s press went into a frenzy as he started flagrantly stepping out with ex-supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, 13 years his junior and two inches his senior. They were married within a year.
It’s Cammie again. We all know his iPod playlist for the gym looks like all the Shine compilations amalgamated together with some Wagner thrown in, so Dave’s Desert Island Discs was always going to be a nail biting 43 minutes for the indie community. The Smiths were inevitable. REM and The Killers were selected. And Radiohead, much to Thom Yorke’s chagrin, got the dreaded nod.
Red Ed Miliband’s Desert Island Disc choices reflected the tastes of a man who – were he marooned on an island – would probably relish the peace and quiet. Neil Diamond, Edith Piaf and Robbie Williams were chosen; so far so disco at a care home. The South African national anthem was his No. 1 which is pretty odd, and A-ha were pretty much the coolest inclusion with ‘Take On Me’.
When William Hague was Tory leader he once sported a baseball cap with his own name on it having been advised this was ‘street’. He also boasted to GQ that he used to drink 14 pints a day as a teenager, while Nick Clegg once told the same magazine that he’d slept with up to 30 women.
Former US President George Bush Jr. might not have been popular but he was comical on occasion. His malapropisms were legendary, but nothing quite beats his African tribal dancing in the Rose Garden in 2007. And there was the awkward moment when Kanye West said Bush “doesn’t like black people” during a Hurricane Katrina telethon; Bush later called it “the most disgusting moment of my presidency”.
Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson never shies away from talking about music – one of his favourite subjects – and it turns out he’s an old mod and a Small Faces fanatic who once harboured ambitions of pop stardom before becoming a postman and eventually going into politics.
And after a lifetime of name-checking every band in popular culture and having his advances rebuffed, one finally yielded to Dave Cameron’s dubious charms without him having to do anything! Haim played the Andrew Marr show, and at the conclusion of their performance Este Haim shouted “That’s for you D.C., it’s all about you.” Cameron’s thumb soon delivered news of mutual admiration on Twitter.
MP4 are a rock band made up of four British MPs. Parliament-Funkadelic, sure thing! House of Parliament, oh do fuck off. Aren’t these guys meant to be ringing greedy energy providers and giving them hell or representing their constituents in the Commons rather than farting around in a practice room playing Bryan Adams covers?
While 20th Century kids grew up with the threat of nuclear war hanging over them, 21st Century kids feared Sarah Palin becoming president. Palin protested when rapper Common was invited to the White House, but she stated: “I’m not anti rap, in fact I know the lyrics to ‘Rapper’s Delight’.”
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi kept us all amused (outside Italy) but his interest in music was no laughing matter. Berlusconi sang on cruise ships as a teen and released an album of love songs after being booted out of politics for the umpteenth time in 2011. Eccellente!
Whilst giving an interview about carbon tax the Aussie politician Craig Emerson inexplicably started jigging and singing the lyrics to ‘Horror Show’ by the Skyhooks (“No Whyalla wipe-out there on my TV”) for what must have seemed like a good idea at the time. The clip went viral and the rest of the world looked on and muttered to themselves disapprovingly.