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From Springsteen to Kid Rock, musicians bang the drum for their candidates

Musician Bruce Springsteen performs during Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, a Red Cross telethon on NBC to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, the storm that killed more than 100 and devastated parts of the U.S. Northeast, in New York, Nov. 2, 2012.

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"With a heave and a ho," Steven Tyler and Aerosmith sang Monday afternoon in Boston. "Just couldn't let it go." The campaign train kept a-rollin' as election day neared, with musicians stumping for their favoured presidential candidates. For the record, the stated Aerosmith objective for its hometown trolley-track concert was but to encourage participation in democracy, not to persuade anyone to vote this way or that. Other music acts were decidedly more partisan in their electioneering, however, shaking it to the left (mostly) and shaking it to the right.

ROCKIN' ROMNEY

Sam Moore: As with their more numerous and more celebrated Democrat counterparts, the "Musicians for Mitt" concentrated on tightly contested states. On Monday, with mostly country-music acts, the soul singer rallied in Iowa. "I love and respect my country and I want it back," said Moore, of Sam & Dave fame, in a statement. While black voters are strongly supportive of Obama, the Soul Man singer who "got what I got the hard way" is in favour of boot-strappy right-wing values.

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Kid Rock: Polls show an evenly divided electorate in New Hampshire, the smallest of swing states where challenger Mitt Romney scheduled his final campaign rally, with the rap-rocking, rabble-rousing, wafflehouse-brawling, Pamela Anderson-marrying, self-made mavericky millionaire as the musical headliner. The charismatic Michigan longhair sings it like he believes it, from Born Free to Rock and Roll Jesus.

Meat Loaf: If someone took the words right out of his mouth, they need to return them. Last week at a football stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, the big-boned Bat Out of Hell star was wackier than a Dan Rather election-night metaphor. He said, among other things: "You get out there and you argue with your relatives, you argue with your neighbours, you get in fights over politics and religion, 'cause we need Ohio! God bless ya. We love ya…."

BARACK THE VOTE

Bruce Springsteen: Even Donald Trump would not dare question the citizenship of the Born in the USA rocker. On Monday, the New Jersey native travelled with the Commander in Chief on Air Force One, opening rallies for him on Monday in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. In Madison, Wis., he urged those gathered to believe in the power to "change our lives and the world that we live in," and to re-elect Barack Obama to "carry our standard forward toward the America that awaits us." He then followed with a solo acoustic version of Land of Hope and Dreams.

Stevie Wonder: On Saturday, the Motown legend played an unannounced concert for voters waiting in line to vote early in Cleveland. On Sunday, he opened a rally for Obama at the University of Cincinnati, and later popped up unexpectedly at a speech, boldly singing Signed, Sealed, Delivered as the President mouthed the words to a classic song about sure things.

Jay-Z: The rapper, mogul and Beyoncé husband was one of 181 bold-faced celebrities and politicians – according to a list provided by the Obama campaign – who lined up for video testimonials advocating four more years. The last-minute A-list blitz included Lady Gaga, Chris Rock, John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow and Katy Perry (perhaps a supporter of gay rights, if her hit I Kissed a Girl is any indication). Others included the unforeseeable pairing of Cher and comedian Kathy Griffin, public figures whose participation confirms the wide-net approach of celebrity endorsement.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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