Trump's Desert Island Discs

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

It's hard to imagine, but if Trump ever appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, this is what OGN imagines would be his eight choices.

The BBC show, an entertainment bastion since 1942, has never hosted a US president. But, if Donald Trump were offered a hallowed slot on the show...

The Donald's song choices at his rallies (the only place we can get a handle on the music he likes) are usually based on how they feel, rather than a scholarly analysis of the lyrics. His traditional pre-speech playlist is designed to keep the audience pumped up. They often stand for hours before he comes on stage, so the focus is on timeless sing-alongs, seemingly targeted at white voters in their 50s and 60s. So, what would make it on his Desert Island playlist?

Village People's YMCA was a top pick early on but that seemed to fall out of favour and Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It became Trump’s rally song of choice. Unfortunately, the band rescinded their agreement for Trump to use the song after lead singer, Dee Snider, said he couldn’t get behind many of Trump’s political statements. But, all the same, maybe he could get away with it in England? You know he would try!

Trump has definitely proven he’s more of a Rolling Stones fan than a Beatles follower. At some of his campaigns he’s played You Can’t Always Get What You Want, so this classic Stones song - perhaps presciently - might make his top eight. Even if he got no satisfaction and even if the Stones object, as they have done before.

Historically, Trump's rally playlist leaned heavily on classic rock songs that project power and combative self-confidence. He frequently played Queen's We Are The Champions - whose refrain, "No time for losers," could almost be the president's inner monologue. So, that's a must.

Tina Turner's The Best ("you're better than all the rest") and Survivor's pugnacious Eye Of The Tiger ("just a man and his will to survive") fulfill similar functions - conveying the idea of Mr Trump as a lone wolf, fighting the political establishment. So they look like promising inclusions.

Mr Trump often seemed to be trolling critics with his rally song choices. Why else would he play Gnarls Barkley's Crazy? And his perceived persecution by the media gets a musical airing, too, through songs like Michael Jackson's Beat It.

In recent months, as the president courted black voters ("I did more for the Black community in 47 months than Joe Biden did in 47 years") he has also started including a few soul classics in his set. James Brown's Please, Please, Please and Barry White's My First, My Last, My Everything were given an airing during his rally in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Don't hold your breath. Trump's improbable playlist is unlikely to ever be aired on BBC Radio 4.


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