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MrsSpringsteen 04-11-2005 03:48 AM

What Bush Has On His iPod

WASHINGTON Between his return Friday from Pope John Paul II's funeral in Rome and his meeting Monday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, President George W. Bush spent an hour and a half Saturday riding a mountain bike at his Texas ranch. With him, as usual, was his indispensable new exercise toy: an iPod music player loaded with country and popular rock tunes aimed at getting the presidential heart rate up to a chest-pounding 170 beats per minute.

Which brings up the inevitable question. What, exactly, is on the First iPod? In an era of celebrity playlists - the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently posted his playlist on the iTunes online music store - what does the presidential selection of downloaded songs tell us about Bush?

First, Bush's iPod is heavy on traditional country singers like George Jones, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He has selections by the folk-rock singer Van Morrison, whose "Brown-Eyed Girl" is a Bush favorite, and by John Fogerty, most predictably "Centerfield," which was played at Texas Rangers games when Bush was an owner and is still played at ballfields all over America. ("Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today.")

The president also has an eclectic mix of songs downloaded into his iPod from Mark McKinnon, a biking buddy and his chief media strategist in the 2004 campaign. Among them are "Circle Back" by John Hiatt, "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" by Joni Mitchell and "My Sharona," the 1970s song by The Knack that Joe Levy, a deputy managing editor in charge of music coverage at Rolling Stone, cheerfully branded "suggestive if not outright filthy" in an interview last week.

Bush has had his $300 Apple iPod since last July, when he received it from his twin daughters as a birthday gift. He has some 250 songs on it, a paltry number compared to the 10,000 selections it can hold.

Bush, as leader of the free world, does not take the time to download the music himself; that task falls to his personal aide, Blake Gottesman, who buys individual songs and albums, including greatest hits by Jones and Jackson, from the iTunes music store.

Bush uses his iPod chiefly during bike workouts to help him pump up his heartbeat, which he monitors with a wrist strap. The strap also keeps track of calories expended for the intensely weight-focused president, who has recently lost 8 pounds, or 3.6 kilograms, after eating a lot of doughnuts during the 2004 campaign. Bush burned up 1,300 calories on his bike ride Saturday, McKinnon reported.

As for an analysis of Bush's playlist, Levy of Rolling Stone started out with this: "One thing that's interesting is that the president likes artists who don't like him."

Levy was referring to Fogerty, who was part of the anti-Bush "Vote for Change" concert tour across the United States last fall. McKinnon, who once wrote songs for Kris Kristofferson's music publishing company, responded in an e-mail message that "if any president limited his music selection to pro-establishment musicians, it would be a pretty slim collection."

Nonetheless, McKinnon said that Bush had not gone so far as to include on his playlist "Fortunate Son," the angry anti-Vietnam war song about privileged draft dodgers that Fogerty sang when he was with Creedence Clearwater Revival. ("Some folks are born silver spoon in hand. ... I ain't no senator's son.")

The song seems to be about the president in all but name: As the son of a two-term congressman and a U.S. Senate candidate, Bush won a coveted spot with the Texas Air National Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Levy sized up the rest of the president's playlist. "What we're talking about is a lot of great artists from the 60s and 70s and more modern artists who sound like great artists from the 60s and 70s," he said. "This is basically boomer rock 'n' roll and more recent music out of Nashville made for boomers. It's safe, it's reliable, it's loving. What I mean to say is, it's feel-good music. The Sex Pistols it's not."

Jones, Levy said, was nonetheless an interesting choice. "George Jones is the greatest living singer in country music and a recovering alcoholic who often sings about heartbreak and drinking," he said. "It tells you that the president knows a thing or two about country music and is serious about his love of country music."

The songs by Jackson indicate that the president "has a little bit of a taste for hard core and honky-tonk," Levy said, adding that both Jackson and Jones "are not about cute and pop, and they're not getting by on their looks." And while Chesney "is about cute and pop and gets by on his looks," Levy said, "he's also all about serious country music."

McKinnon, who has downloaded "Castanets" by Alejandro Escovedo and "Alive 'n' Kickin"' by Kenny Loggins into Bush's iPod, said that sometimes a presidential playlist is just a playlist, nothing more.

"No one should psychoanalyze the song selection," McKinnon said. "It's music to get over the next hill."

earthshell 04-11-2005 06:16 AM

i'd love to see him dance.

BrownEyedBoy 04-11-2005 07:12 AM

I wonder if this is paving the way for Special Edition Bush iPod :hmm:.

80sU2isBest 04-11-2005 07:15 AM


Originally posted by earthshell
i'd love to see him dance.
Your wish is my command...


coemgen 04-11-2005 07:21 AM

I bet Bush secretly has a lot of Rage, System of a Down and Steve Earle constantly playing. :wink:

earthshell 04-11-2005 07:24 AM


Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

Your wish is my command...


:up: lol

MrsSpringsteen 04-11-2005 07:52 AM


Originally posted by coemgen
I bet Bush secretly has a lot of Rage, System of a Down and Steve Earle constantly playing. :wink:
Or Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan maybe

80sU2isBest 04-11-2005 07:56 AM

I actually like a couple of Hilary's songs, and I also think Lindseys "Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen", the song and movie, were excellent.

MrsSpringsteen 04-11-2005 07:59 AM

I liked Mean Girls

Well Bush knows how to use an iPod and has one, I don't.

deep 04-11-2005 10:04 AM

ipod's success

has been described as the fact
that it is idiot proof

segways and pretzels

youtooellen 04-11-2005 03:57 PM


Originally posted by coemgen
I bet Bush secretly has a lot of Rage, System of a Down and Steve Earle constantly playing. :wink:
:lol: hahahahah
oh boy that would be a fun sight

financeguy 04-11-2005 03:59 PM

Well he has broader musical tastes than I would have expected!

In terms of liking 1960's and 70's stuff - hardly surprising as he grew up in that era.

diamond 04-11-2005 04:16 PM


Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

Your wish is my command...



najeena 04-11-2005 04:17 PM

I'd like to sneak 'Rock the Casbah' on to that thing.

MrsSpringsteen 04-11-2005 04:35 PM


Originally posted by diamond


Yeah, dead sexy. But I prefer the cowboyhatranch brushclearing W myself. That gets my heart racing

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