Well, There’s Still the Inaugural.

Pointer Sisters in vintage clothes

This is a mile late, but I didn’t think about it until after the election, and I have to ask: Why didn’t the Obama campaign use the Pointer Sisters’, above, 1973 hit “Yes We Can Can” as their unofficial campaign theme song, as opposed to Stevie Wonder’s 1970 classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours”?

As a track with big get-up-and-go, “Sign, Sealed, Delivered” is obviously undeniable. But in a campaign where so many people had so many doubts about the candidate, the song forwards a lot of ideas that could have been troublesome for Obama.

I mean, it admits “Oh, you’ve got the future in your hand.” But then it says “I’ve done a lot of foolish things / That I really didn’t mean.”


Or this opening verse: “Like a fool I went and stayed too long / Now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong.” Come on.

Or, worst of all, for a candidate running on the promise of CHANGE, “Seen a lot of things in this old world / When I touched them, they did nothing, girl.”

I’m Monday morning quarterbacking here, but did anyone vet these messages?

Meanwhile, besides embodying that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people in its title, check out “Yes We Can Can’s” lyrics, written by Allen Toussaint, below. It’s not even “a good fit.” It’s Obama’s whole platform:

Things are lookin’ up for Barack ObamaNow’s the time for all good men
to get together with one another.
We got to iron out our problems
and iron out our quarrels
and try to live as brothers.
And try to find a piece of land
without stepping on one another.
And do respect the women of the world.
Remember you all had mothers.

We got to make this land a better land
than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
with the kindness that we give.

I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can’t we?
If we wanna get together we can work it out.

And we gotta take care of all the children,
the little children of the world.
’cause they’re our strongest hope for the future,
the little bitty boys and girls.



Come on, Obam…er, Mr. President-Elect. The track’s oh-fish-shall. Make it official!



#1 miggity marty on 11.17.08 at 12:35 pm

Before the Pointers, Toussaint had Lee Dorsey do that track.. classic! And somebody’s mashed it up for Barack: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/28/yes-we-can-remix-lee.html

#2 saalihah on 11.17.08 at 1:14 pm

I can only guess that he went with a (mass appeal)song White folks could also identify and at least sing the o babe part vs. gettin caught on an off count of butchered ( yes we..) “can- can” from the sistahs pointer.
[ shoulder shrugg]

#3 Lena L. West on 11.17.08 at 2:05 pm

As a fellow Wizard Academy congnoscenti, I think we talked in class about how people totally ignore the words in songs and focus on the “feelings”.

Hence Ronald Regan choosing Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s “Born in the USA” as his campaign song. Check the lyrics on THAT one.

There *you* go, Harry…paying attention to the details 🙂

#4 Brian on 11.17.08 at 5:32 pm

I thought the exact same thing! Sounds like the new administration needs an official ambassador of music in the State Department.

#5 Hugh Moore on 11.17.08 at 8:37 pm

I always thought You’re The Man by Marvin Gaye would have been a great campaign son.

#6 MCab on 11.22.08 at 2:03 pm

I’m surprised he didn’t go with this song also, especially since much of his rhetoric and ideas correspond with the theme of the song.

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