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Write Patriotic Songs

Win  Presidential Campaign Elections

How would you like to follow me as I write a patriotic song and consider its use as a campaign song in a presidential election?  View a video of the complete song 
 ?Our Flag Stays Flying Free?

Here is a standard version sung unaccompanied.

An inspirational phrase starts most songs and tends to come out of the blue. However, this one left an "audit trail". I was considering a web page where I list the presidents of the USA and point out to students that to be the leader of their country is an aspiration for all. This is the land of opportunity where people can dream big and achieve their greatest goals. Thinking about this crystallized the phrase:

?I want to be the President and lead the USA?

Repeat it over and you realize it suggests the tune of ?John Brown's Body. This old song has a fascinating history. Somewhat lost in the mists of time it emerges in the mid nineteenth century as a camp-meeting hymn ?Oh brothers, will you meet us on Canaan's happy shore?".

It then seems to be connected during the American Civil War to a jovial Scotsman, John Brown, who coincidentally had the same name as the abolitionist John Brown who led an attack on Harper's ferry The original lyrics were created by the marching soldiers and have many variants. The most famous is Julia Ward Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic,"

With a background like that it is an inspiring tune and worthy of the best expressions of patriotism that a songwriter can muster.

Letting the inspiration flow and with sincere sentiments in mind this first draft developed.

I want to be the President and lead the USA.
I want to be in residence and live the White House way.
I'll stand beneath the stars and stripes most solemnly to pray
Our flag stays flying free!

Being reasonably satisfied with that for now I feel a little of the history of the USA being asked for, and the beginning is a good place to start.

The Pilgrim Fathers showed us how
To win the land with horse and plow,
To build the country we love now,
And value simple ways:
Our flag stays flying free!

The obvious next jump is to the Founding Fathers.

The Founding Fathers taught us more,
Uniting hearts with pride to soar,
And turning to the world to roar:
?We are a nation now!?
Our flag stays flying free!

Wishing to continue the ?Fathers? theme the future beckons and provides a little alliteration.

The Future Fathers of our race,
And Mothers with a comely grace,
Will venture out to conquer Space,
And live in harmony:
Our flag stays flying free!

As mothers are in many ways the bedrock of a nation and modern women can combine motherhood with careers they were an overdue inclusion. 

I thought twice about using ?race? as some folks get hot under the collar about associations with this word but the meaning here is inclusive as it suggest a melting pot of nations and a growing common identity. It can also refer to a race as in ?striving to achieve a goal?. Not to mention it rhymes with space!

This is a rough draft and at this stage the chorus can be borrowed from the old song. But with the refrain "Our flag stays flying free?, added.

Glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
Our flag stays flying free!

I considered this alternative but it seemed a bit over the top.

I really want to be the President
I really want to be the President
I really want to be the President
And lead the USA.

Now that the first draft is complete it can be left for a spell and returned to in a fresh mind.

OK back again

I want the song to flow smoothly, and as I have a fondness for alliteration where appropriate I will use it where I see that it being helpful to the mood.

I feel the title needs improvement and as the refrain is a good hook it is crying out to take over.

Our Flag Stays Flying Free

Yelling, ?I want to be the president? sounds a bit crass, surely there should be some magic involved like being chosen or called by fate. ?Born to be? suggests conviction and destiny, and has a nice alliteration.

The second line gives me the chance to indulge in an orgy of alliteration. There is a play on words with the two meanings of ?way?. As in a ? path or walk way? or ?a manner of walking?. A President striding confidently forward to lead the nation is a strong image. The changes need a grammatical alteration.

Born to be the President and lead the USA.
Born to be in Washington and walk the White House way.
To stand beneath the stars and stripes most solemnly to pray
Our flag stays flying free!

The rest of the verses are sincere and simple: suiting the appropriate humility and respect for the past that someone embarking on the huge responsibility of the top public office should have.

As it stands the song is a good patriotic expression. The melody in the secondary verses needs to be altered but is still similar to our traditional tune.

Warming to the theme of growing up to be a president I decide to alter the chorus.

Born to be the nation's President,
Born to be the nation's President,
Born to be the nation's President,
And lead/love the USA.

I offer the choice of "lead" or "love" and perhaps in a choir the males could sing ?lead? and the females ?love? in a friendly competition. The leader of a country should have a love for it. Keeping up the traditional origin of variations you could sing the ?Our flag stays flying free? as an alternative to the last line.

A theme has emerged of the idea of every child in America being born with a right to become the President if his fellow citizens acclaim him or her worthy of the supreme office. The song has the final form:

Our Flag Stays Flying Free

By William Clark

Born to be the President and lead the USA.
Born to be in Washington and walk the White House way.
To stand beneath the stars and stripes most solemnly to pray:
Our flag stays flying free!

Chorus

Born to be the nation's President,
Born to be the nation's President,
Born to be the nation's President,
And lead/love the USA.

The Pilgrim Fathers showed us how
To win the land with horse and plow,
To build the country we love now,
And value simple ways:
Our flag stays flying free!

The Founding Fathers taught us more,
Uniting hearts with pride to soar,
And turning to the world to roar:
?We are a nation now!?
Our flag stays flying free!

The Future Fathers of our race,
And Mothers with a comely grace,
Will venture out to conquer Space,
And live in harmony:
Our flag stays flying free!


Video Our Flag Stays Flying Free

See the words and hear the tune. 

With the patriotic song complete this leads me to think of Presidential campaign songs

Presidential Campaign Songs.

OK,  now to think about how the song could be personalized and help a candidate win an election. 

America has a long tradition of razzmatazz in electioneering that mainly began in 1840 with the successful election campaign of military hero William Henry Harrison. Songs came fast and furious as the contenders slugged it out in the ?Log Cabin Campaign?. The song "Tip and Ty", with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too", caught the popular imagination. Alexander Coffman Ross wrote it to the tune of "Little Pigs"

Irwin Silber, wrote that the song "firmly established the power of singing as a campaign device in the United States, and that this and the other songs of 1840 represent a "Great Divide" in the development of American campaign music.

The North American Review at the time opined that the song was, "in the political canvas of 1840 what the 'Marseillaise' was to the French Revolution. It sang Harrison into the presidency."

We have a great tradition to follow so let us try to emulate the glories of the past.

The title could be changed to Walk The White House Way giving a bit of swagger and style.

The chorus seems like the place most suited to incorporating election slogans using the Presidential candidate's name to fix it in voter's memories. The last line can emphasize the purpose of the election: to choose a leader who heads for the White house.

[Name ]to be President
[Name] to be President
[Name] to be President
And walk the White House way

To suit the melody the ideal name should have four syllables: strong/weak strong/weak as in ?Glory glory?. Let us try out the contenders for the 2008 election and see how their names could have been used in the line.

The current president's name has five syllables ?Bar/ack O/ba/ma? so it would be necessary to do something like repeat his first name twice. It is a little unfortunate that the name ?Barack? and the word ?barrack? makes it open to misinterpretation. Enthusiastic supporters singing ?Barrack barrack to be President? could be misinterpreted.

An alternative would be to modify the melody by splitting the first note and stressing the second syllable contrary to its regular stress pattern. Bar/ack O/bam/a. So not an ideal fit but are voters all that fussy? By modifying the melody through splitting the first note and adding some words you could use ?O/Bam/a he will be the President?.

Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate's running mate. How would her name fit the rhythmical pattern?

Unfortunately, for our purposes, there is an extra syllable in ?Hillary? but we could use ?Clinton? repeated or shorten the first name to ?Hill'ry? or split the note.

For the Republicans, John McCain was the name to apply. This fits but requires an extra one-syllable word to fill the melody so could be ?John McCain he will be President? or "...to be the President"

The name that seems ideally suited to this song belongs to the former Governor of Alaska and John McCain's running mate for vice-president, Sarah Palin. It fits perfectly and has the bonus of the ?P's? alliteration. Being a former beauty queen she also knows how to walk with style.

Could ?casting the runes? be out and ?casting the tunes? be the new way to predict the Presidential election campaign outcome!

The great thing about the American way of election is that, though a very serious and important matter, it can also be a lot of fun.

May the best candidate win.

If you would like to try out the various contenders names for the 57th November 6, 2012 presidential election you will find a prospective candidates list here.

Fit them in and start singing. You might change history!

Score: Walk The White House Way 

Video ?Our Flag Stays Flying Free

Vocals example sung by Michelle can be heard on these videos:

Presidents List Part One  Presidents List Part Two


 

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American Flag Info - USA Flag Site.org

John Brown the abolitionist

John Brown

Original words to John Brown's Body click to enlarge

John Brown's Body

Say Brother score sheet click to enlarge

Say Brothers

Tip and Ty election song click to enlarge

Tip and ty





Copyright William Clark 2011 n