Musical Tastes of U.S. Presidents

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Siegmund, Mar 20, 2017.

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  1. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
    U.S. Presidents are not, as a rule, very musical - and when they are, their tastes tend to be very conservative.

    Here's what I know:

    Kennedy - liked Broadway musicals - Finian's Rainbow and (of course) Camelot.

    Johnson - owned a radio station in Texas but his musical tastes are not documented. I can imagine him liking Hank Williams

    Nixon - probably the most musically inclined President of modern times. He'd listen to his Eugene Ormandy recordings of Rachmaninov at times of political crisis. For lighter fare, he was an amateur authority on the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Perhaps predictably not a rock fan and even though he publicly endorsed the Carpenters ('American youth at its finest'), he probably didn't like them all that much. He was possibly the first President to attend a gig (the Turtles played the White House in 1968, because Nixon's daughters liked them) . He was also a decent pianist.

    Ford - no idea.

    Carter - had lots of connections with the Southern Rock movement, which got right behind him in '76, but I somehow doubt he was a rock fan.

    Reagan - Broadway musicals again?

    Bush l - no idea.

    Clinton - Fleetwood Mac (obviously) and Joni Mitchell (possibly). He plays the sax - does that mean he likes jazz?

    Bush 2 - first President to disclose the contents of his iPod. Van Morrison was on there, I believe.

    Obama - soul, blues, r/b, probably the first President to be a genuine Dylan fan.

    Trump - Broadway musicals (but only HIGH-GROSSING ones!)
     
  2. wdiv

    wdiv Forum Resident

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    Maryland
  3. tmwlng

    tmwlng Forum Resident

    Location:
    Århus, Denmark
    Obama was also possibly the first president to express a liking for hip hop. All around he has a pretty wide taste in music. Published plenty of playlists. Don't know if it's just PR bollocks, politicians do that all the time.

    Trump likes Elton John and the Rolling Stones as well, classic rock I suppose. Neil Young. He has played their music at rallies and had Heart of Stone by the Stones playing during that pre-inaugural thing, I believe. But a genuine fan? Don't know. Via his showbiz ties he has also been photographed at hip hop concerts and Black Sabbath shows in the early/mid 2000's. Bush 1 hung out with The Beach Boys and stated something to the effect that they (the Bush couple) liked them as people and their music. This was about 1983 when he was vice president, the whole scandal where The Beach Boys got banned from performing at the 4th of July spectacular in DC which was otherwise a yearly event (right?) for them since 1980. They returned again in 1984.
     
  4. wdiv

    wdiv Forum Resident

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  5. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Livingston NJ
    The story was Jimmy Carter heard Cecil Taylor at some White House function in 1978 and he was amazed.


    He said "he'd never heard anyone play the piano that way"

    Then again most everyone here or anywhere has no idea who Cecil Taylor is or what he represents musically.
     
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  6. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK

    When they're campaigning for office, politicians will pretend to like people they don't genuinely like in an attempt to get the youth vote. Both Reagan and Mondale quoted Bruce Springsteen in the '84 campaign and Jimmy Carter quoted Dylan in '76. I doubt if any of those candidates were Springsteen/Dylan fans: they were the wrong age group, anyway.
     
  7. wdiv

    wdiv Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Reagan: Sinatra
     
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  8. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
  9. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
    Is it possible for a President not to be a Sinatra fan? The same way it's not possible for a British PM to not like the Beatles?
     
  10. Maggie

    Maggie much older now, with hat on, drinking wine

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Clinton is a huge jazz nerd, actually. He's a particular fan of Sonny Rollins and is reported to have considered going pro in jazz as a young man.
     
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  11. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    According to my research years ago, Kennedy also liked pop music(Sinatra, Clooney, Cole etc) as well as some jazz(Brubeck was a favorite). Jackie preferred opera and classical. The Kennedy's had a decent record collection which was left behind after Jacks assasination.

    Arlo Guthrie talks about meeting Chip Carter at the White House. He was told that Chip had discovered Nixon's record collection and told him that Nixon had Alice's Restaurant. Arlo only asked if it was opened. Chip silently nodded. Then Arlo started asking himself what piece of tape was exactly 18 minutes long?
     
  12. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Wrong.
    Carter was fully aware of Bob Dylan.
     
  13. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    As I recall they named their daughter for "Chelsea Morning" of which I remember him saying he liked Judy Collins's version.
     
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  14. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
    He was aware of him - but was he a fan?
     
  15. Say It Right

    Say It Right Forum Resident

    Location:
    Niagara Falls
    Duke Ellington 70th birthday party at Nixon White House:

     
  16. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
    It takes especial dedication to listen to music you hate for research purposes. I'd assumed that Nixon didn't know the names of individual rock stars but he was apparently aware of Hendrix, Joplin, et al.

    There was also his famous and bizarre meeting with Elvis Presley, who certainly seemed to be a fan of Nixon. I doubt that the appreciation was reciprocated.
     
  17. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Google is your friend
    Type Bob Dylan Jimmy Carter.
    He also invited Dylan to his abode when he was Gov. of Georgia.
     
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  18. tmwlng

    tmwlng Forum Resident

    Location:
    Århus, Denmark
    James Brown was also a big Nixon fan which drew strong criticism from his peers. Don't know if the president reciprocated.
     
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  19. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    England, UK
    Lionel Hampton and Sammy Davis Junior were also Nixon fans. Again, no record of how he felt about them.
     
  20. MaggieMac

    MaggieMac Well-Known Member

    First lady, almost president Hilary Clinton, was president of the Fabian Forte fan club in 1960. She said there were 3 members but they "took it seriously". Don't know if this carried over to the White House years, it was a school girl crush, ha! She was also a Beatles fan and liked Paul. She said her mother liked Mick Jagger. Pretty funny to hear her talk about it. No political content here, just fun..
     
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  21. Wright

    Wright Forum Resident

     
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  22. jimtek

    jimtek Well-Known Member

    Reagan pardoned Merle Haggard, and Clinton had the box set CD of the Who at the presidential library.
     
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  23. Commander Lucius Emery

    Commander Lucius Emery Forum Resident

    I remember Nixon expressing his admiration for the "Victory at Sea"soundtrack.

    It was more the work of his campaign manager Lee Atwater but they had a massive blues/soul concert during inauguration week. Somebody (Buddy Guy?) gave Bush a guitar inscribed "The Prez".

    In the 19th century Ulysses Grant famously said he only knew two songs. One was Yankee Doodle, the other wasn't.

    Harry Truman played the piano, there is a famous photograph of him playing with Lauren Bacall resting on top of the piano (actually the photo was taken while Truman was Vice President).
     
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  24. Wright

    Wright Forum Resident

     
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  25. Sandinista

    Sandinista Formerly hightower68

    Clinton is a jazz fan from what I gather - there is a cool interview with him on that Elvis Costello show thing - can't remember the name of the show - I saw it on Netflix and Bill talked mainly about music - seem to remember he was a pretty big Miles or Coltrane fan?
     
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