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Prime Minister Stephen Harper sings during the Conservative caucus Christmas party in Ottawa December 8, 2010. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper sings during the Conservative caucus Christmas party in Ottawa December 8, 2010. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Musical selection in the election: Who's your campaign idol? Add to ...

As they say on American Idol, is it all about song choice?

Music can lift your spirits - and even lower your blood pressure, a recent study found - but can it win your vote as well?

There's a long tradition of music on the campaign trail - going back as far as George Washington, who historians say used the song "Follow Washington" (listen a snippet of that foot-tapping tune here) to Bill Clinton's late-night-television wooing of voters with his talent on the saxophone.

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There's also been more than few cases of musicians protesting when politicians they didn't support chose to appropriate their songs (Tom Petty, a Democrat, famously threatened to sue the George W. Bush campaign for playing fancy free with his song, "I Won't Back Down.)

Here at home, we have our own musical election - and the distinct choices, as it turns out say quite a bit about our own parties. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the incumbent, has chosen to stay the course, going with a musical retread at campaign events - using the same lively song that earned him a minority government in 2008: Better Now by Collective Soul.

The Liberals, playing to different camps, are using two different remixes: Canadian musician Ashley MacIsaac's Wingstock ( here he is on the piano) and a version of the very trendy " Jumpstart" by These Kids Wear Crowns, a BC band. (Though the campaign version has no doubt edited the first lines: Broke. Any got no money. Don't know where to go.)

Boosting his musical cred, Mr. Ignatieff has also been freely quoting Bob Dylan on the campaign trail, with the line, "everybody's gotta serve sombody." (In case, you missed the point: he means he is serving us, the voters.)

The Bloc Quebecois have gone a completely, um, separate route, by writing their own song: "Parlons QC."

And the Green Party, always the rebel, haven't used any songs, but they do have a slam poet composing pieces for them (as well as some grassrootscompositions.)

And the every-hopeful NDP, claim no official song at this point, but have been playing, "Believe in Me" by Sloan.

Of course, you could argue that song choice aside, our piano-playing Prime Minister is already way out on front on the musical score.

The Youtube video of his duet of John Lennon's Imagine with Maria Aragon (the 10-year-old Winnipeger who earned Lady Ga-Ga's attention with her own YouTube singing) may not have exactly gone viral, but it was still way more fund than another campaign stump speech.

So if you were wondering what to put on your Election 2011 IPod playlist (and we know you were!), now you know.

What do you think: Does a politician's musical selection actually make a difference to you?

 

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