Inauguration Day Music
January 18, 2009 10:31 AM   Subscribe

We're having a party on inauguration night. What songs can we sing to celebrate the occasion?

The only definite I have right now is Lift Every Voice and Sing - an old family favorite. I'll probably also want to include one traditionally patriotic song, in the spirit of reclaiming the word and the song, but I haven't decided which one. Pop songs are great, hymns are great. It really doesn't matter the kind of music, as long as it's suitable for a group sing-a-long.

We'll be making the music ourselves and our available instruments include piano, guitar, and drums, so something that is easily doable on at least one of those instruments is a plus.
posted by mosessis to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead
posted by Flunkie at 10:47 AM on January 18, 2009

When Blair took over from the Tories in '97, D:Ream's Things Can Only Get Better -- and the campaign theme song -- was played quite a lot. Should be pretty easy to jam.
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:58 AM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: If you can find it in a bookstore in time, you might pick up a copy (or a few) of this book. It's filled with tons of songs that would be appropriate, and you can all thumb through it while you're talking, and if the mood strikes, just break into it.

I love that book.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2009

Maybe "High Hopes"? Recognizable tune, easy to sing, cheerful and optimistic.
posted by variella at 11:13 AM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you've heard the song or would be able to get the music for it, but Obama used Bruce Springsteen's song "The Rising" a lot during campaign stops. Another song he used was Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

At our post-election party, we made a Blue State Playlist. It included Eiffel 65's "Blue," Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue," Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo A La Turk," as well as things like "We are the Champions" and "Don't Stop Believing." Obviously, some of these are more do-able than others.

Other suggestions:

The Decemberists' "Sons and Daughters" -- they closed their last concert before the election with this song because of the bit at the end that goes "Hear all the bombs fade away."

If I were you, I would reclaim America the Beautiful or My Country 'Tis of Thee. Sweet, simple, and patriotic.

If you want to sing some that include a lot of place-names, try "Route 66" or "I've Been Everywhere"
posted by coppermoss at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2009

Yes, We Can Can, the Pointer Sisters.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:31 AM on January 18, 2009

Probably not great for a singalong, but perhaps pre-singalong background music: Democracy, by Leonard Cohen.
posted by Flunkie at 11:40 AM on January 18, 2009

Can't sing it exactly, but it has that certain swing in honor of the man's birthplace.
posted by Rain Man at 11:43 AM on January 18, 2009

posted by Vindaloo at 11:48 AM on January 18, 2009

nah nah nah nah
nah nah nah nah
hey hey hey
good bye
posted by gcat at 11:48 AM on January 18, 2009

actually, not really sure if that would be exactly appropriate, but sounds good to me.
posted by gcat at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2009

"Won't Get Fooled Again," just to inoculate yourselves against excessive optimism.
posted by languagehat at 12:10 PM on January 18, 2009

Hymns? How about Battle Hymn of the Republic. Seriously.

From wiki:
The lyrics of the Battle Hymn of the Republic appear in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s sermons and speeches, most notably in his speech "How Long, Not Long" from the steps of the Montgomery, Alabama Courthouse on March 25th, 1965 after the 3rd Selma March, and in his final sermon "I've Been to the Mountaintop", delivered in Memphis, Tennessee on the evening of April 3rd, 1968, the night before his assassination. In fact, the latter sermon, King's last public words, ends with the first lyrics of the Battle Hymn, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
In 1960 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir won the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus.
In 1993, Sweet Honey in the Rock recorded "Sojourner's Battle Hymn," which they adapted from Sojourner Truth's version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Truth had written her version, "The Valiant Soldiers," as a marching song for colored regiments in the Civil War.[5][6] This appears to be the same song as Captain Lindley Miller's "Marching Song of the First Arkansas."
posted by Brian Puccio at 12:12 PM on January 18, 2009

"We Shall Overcome," "Amazing Grace", and "Auld Lang Syne " are perennial favorites. Also consider La Marseillaise (as I am now hoping we are done with all the French hate.) Finally, how about Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."
posted by gudrun at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: Oh, and don't forget "This Land is Your Land."
posted by gudrun at 1:20 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: "I Can See Clearly Now."
"This Little Light of Mine."
Lee Greenwood "God Bless the U.S.A."
posted by missjenny at 1:29 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: Definitely include Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)". Trust me, as a sing-along, it works.

Also: "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:30 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: Bob the Builder - can we fix it? Yes, we can!

You could probably squeeze "Barack Obama" into the "Bob the Builder" bit.
posted by b33j at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
posted by maloon at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Public Enemy. Tons and tons of public enemy. You can pretty much play all of "Fear of a Black Planet" and have it apply to our current situation...and as a " really IS gonna work it out".
posted by hal_c_on at 3:48 PM on January 18, 2009

After reading plexi's post, I'm inclined to want to sing Revolution and Don't let me down.
posted by nickyskye at 4:40 PM on January 18, 2009

"People Get Ready"
posted by backupjesus at 4:43 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: See if you can track down a used copy of "Songs America Voted By" (1971), which goes from Jefferson and Liberty to "Go With Goldwater".

Phil Ochs seems appropriate -- like Power and the Glory or I Declare the War is Over (or The Crucifixion or Love Me, I'm a Liberal if you're in a more sardonic mood)

As for hymns, how about Babylon Is Fallen ("Hail the day so long expected/hail the year of full release") or Liberty? These two lists might also be helpful.
posted by nonane at 8:51 PM on January 18, 2009

Response by poster: Wow! These are some great answers! I wish we had been able to sing more of them.

We sang:

- Lift Every Voice: some people hadn't heard it before, but recognized the third verse from the Benediction
- My Country 'Tis of Thee: especially fun after Aretha's version
- This Land is Your Land: from Rise Up Singing - I already own and love this book
- Morning Has Broken

Thanks for all the suggestions.
posted by mosessis at 4:54 AM on January 21, 2009

« Older I need a handyman today.   |   Good place to catch the new Biggie Smalls biopic? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.