MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Perhaps it's only fitting that a presidential candidate promising a “political revolution” has “revolution” songs.
Most White House hopefuls play recorded music before their rallies to keep the audience engaged and build excitement. But there’s more spin in Bernie Sanders’s soundtrack than most.
Supporters of the senator from Vermont who arrive at events early are likely to hear “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” by folkster Tracy Chapman. And “The Revolution Starts Now” by country rocker Steve Earle. And “Revolution” by reggae legend Bob Marley & the Wailers. And “Revolution” by Celtic punk band Flogging Molly.
In the latter song, the lead singer screams: “I spent 27 years in this factory. And the boss man says, ‘Hey, you’re not what we need.’ The penguins in the suits, they know nothing but greed. It’s a solitary life when you’ve mouths to feed. But who cares about us?”
The band is very much on message for a candidate who promises to take on the “billionaire class.”
Other songs on the Sanders playlist also give audience members a sense of where the self-described democratic socialist is coming from.
There’s “Uprising,” by Muse; “Power to the People,” by the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; “Make a Change,” by Buckwheat Zydeco; and “Give the People What They Want,” by The O’Jays.
Marc Levitt, the Sanders aide who pulled together the playlist, said that some song choices are deliberate but that it’s possible to read too much into others.
“Some are just songs,” he said. “You want music that is fun for people to listen to.”
Some tracks in the rotation have nothing to do with politics, including “Disco Inferno,” by the Trammps.
That song’s refrain includes “burn, baby, burn,” which sounds an awful lot like “Bern, baby, Bern.”
Daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres played the 1970s disco hit when Sanders walked on stage in October for a taping of her show. Soon after, it was added to the Sanders campaign's playlist.
There also are several Motown songs — including “Baby Love,” by the Supremes — because Sanders is a Motown fan.
And Levitt acknowledged that some songs are on the list because, well, he likes them.
Shortly after the death last month of David Bowie, for instance, Levitt said he was hunkered down in his apartment in Washington listening to the English rocker's music and wondering “whether we could incorporate him into our playlist.”
“Starman,” an early 1970s song by Bowie, is now blasted when Sanders leaves the stage after his events.