Campaign Songs of the Jazz Era

Campaign songs became increasingly important with the rise of sheet music from about 1840. The recording era made them even more accessible to the people.

Red Wood Coast

Al Smith rose to enduring fame reviving this popular song from 1890. They still hold a dinner in his honor.

While Al Smith was raising the campaign song game, Hoover was awkwardly behind the times.
Compare that stately number to FDR’s theme through four successful elections.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Wilkie wouldn’t get far.

Al Jolson revived his hit from 20 years before for Harry Truman

And meanwhile, there was campaigning in the Commonwealth.

And here’s one from the stage, from George and Ira Gershwin’s 1931 musical “Of Thee I Sing!”

“I Do Not Choose to Run” was a riff on Coolidge’s statement declining to run for a second term.


Not overtly for a candidate, but Slim Smith sings on Crown 3118: “1932 won’t be long and when you place your vote, please don’t vote wrong… Vote away those blues, those breadline blues.”

This page will grow as I find original recordings of campaign songs. There are lots of folk covers of these songs but I’d prefer recordings from the era.

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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