The Pop Presidents: Bush (II)

george w bush by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

The presidential election of 2000 was as hotly contested and fraught with controversy as the ranking of Bush’s best albums will undoubtedly be. President Bush, himself, still generates controversy; his fans declaring him one of the greatest presidents of all time; his detractors declaring W as one of the worst presidents of all time, if not the worst. Likewise, fans of the music from the new millennium’s first decade are quick to declare that bands like The Strokes deserve to be seated at the musical table with the greats from yesteryear. And, others turn their nose up at the offerings from the musical acts of the 2000s. Of course, superlatives actually need distance. Perspective is hard to have while still so close.

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The Pop Presidents: Clinton

Clinton

by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

From the onset, Bill Clinton, saxophone in hand, made it clear that music was going to play an integral role in his White House. Answering questions on MTV about his past weed use as well as his underwear preference, basically being the musical guest on an Arsenio Hall Show appearance, and partying with musicians like Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Michael Bolton, Clinton charged into the Oval Office like Robert Plant looking for groupies after a concert in Seattle.

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The Pop Presidents: HW Bush

ghw bush

by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

When George Herbert Walker Bush took the oath of office on January 20, 1989, Soviet style communism was on its last legs and the Berlin Wall was about to come down; America was on the verge of winning the Cold War. Domestically, however, President Bush faced uphill battles with a rising deficit, climbing unemployment rate, and a contentious Congress. With his own party members in Congress turning on him, President Bush realized that solving domestic problems would require the efforts of the citizenry, and, so, his famed “thousand points of light” was birthed. Average men and women gladly pitched in as volunteers, but the segment of the population that could be counted on the most to tackle head on the problems of society were the musicians.

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The Pop Presidents: Reagan

ronald_reaganby John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

Doc Brown’s incredulity aside, an actor was just what the music industry needed in the Oval Office during the 80s. As Artist-in-Chief, President Reagan understood better than his well-intentioned predecessor that the best way to combat the evils that threatened America was with music. There was no way for Gorbachev to overcome the earnestness of U2, nor could the Pinko-in-Chief silence the vitriol of Hüsker Dü. Even The Boss himself embraced President Reagan’s dawning morning and released an album titled Born in the USA, complete with an album cover with the iconic image of the American flag.

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The Pop Presidents: Carter

jimmy carter2

by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

A part of me feels like the fair thing to do would be to credit President Carter with the albums from his post-presidency/Noble Prize winning years – you know, the years for which he’s not universally scorned; but, that’s not how this series works. I don’t feel too bad, though. His administration’s contribution to pop music’s oeuvre was considerable. Although, if he had focused more on bands and musicians from America, maybe he would’ve been re-elected.

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The Pop Presidents: Ford

ford 2

by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

President Gerald Ford has the distinction of being the only person to hold both the office of the Vice President and President without ever winning the Electoral College. He also has the distinction of having the shortest presidency without dying while in office[1]. Beyond those two things, his notable accomplishments included ending the Vietnam War, signing the Helsinki Accords, and pardoning President Nixon[2]. Oh, and he oversaw an economy crumbling under high inflation and rising unemployment[3]. Now, to be fair and contradicting the “buck stops here” intro, neither the good nor the bad can be fully placed on President Ford’s shoulders; he inherited a mess.

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The Pop Presidents: Nixon

nixon

by John Ellis

One of the things that should prompt a thankful pride in all Americans is how our country’s presidents so often and so willingly reach for the hot handle of responsibility. In fact, a famous president once said, “The buck stops here.” This series, “The Pop Presidents,” seeks to honor an aspect of the last eleven president’s responsibilities that is often overlooked – presiding over the growth of pop music, specifically the genre known as Rock and Roll. Over the course of the first eleven articles, the ten best albums released under each of the eleven administrations’ oversight will be briefly discussed. In the final article of the series, the eleven presidents will be ranked based on the music released during their time in the Oval Office.

For many, the name “Nixon” is synonymous with short, blunt, and highly descriptive words; however, the two short words “rock” and “god” are often left off of the list of Nixon descriptors – which is a mistake. When a man gifts us “Stairway to Heaven,” his face should at least be considered for inclusion on the Mount Rushmore of Rock and Roll.

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