x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Take Five: When politicians decide to perform

Our top of five of musically minded statesmen.

Bill Clinton played first saxophone in the Arkansas state band.
Bill Clinton played first saxophone in the Arkansas state band.

Following the sad news that Silvio Berlusconi has been forced to delay the launch of his latest album of love songs in order to focus on Italy's mounting debt worries, we consider a few other political musical endeavours.

Take Five... Tony Blair

Long before he starting dabbling in ill-advised wars, Tony Blair sang and played guitar in the hugely unsuccessful rock band Ugly Rumours while studying at Oxford. Apparently his first gig was at Corpus Christi College, during which the drum kit fell apart. The band disbanded after just six gigs.

Take Four... Bill Clinton

There was a moment when William Jefferson almost embarked on a career in music, having played first saxophone in the Arkansas state band. Thankfully, the jazz world was spared and Bill only brings his sax for special occasions, such as presidential campaigns.

Take Three... Junichiro Koizumi

Japan's silver-topped "rock star" former PM is such a fan of Elvis that while in office he released a collection of his favourite songs and, along with his brother (the senior adviser of the Tokyo Elvis Fan Club), helped finance a statue of The King in the Japanese capital. While visiting Graceland, he sang a few bars of Elvis.

Take Two... Vladimir Putin

The shadowy ruler of the world's largest nation, bear-wrestling outdoorsman and - perhaps - rap star. The Russian music channel Muz TV nominated Putin for an award after his bizarre appearance (in a white turtleneck shirt, no less) on a hip-hop show, on which he spoke of the music's "social message" and suggested graffiti was "elegant".

Take One... Charles de Gaulle

France's famed general, statesman and, later, international airport might not have appeared the musical sort, but according to the song's lyrics, he played accordion in The Intro And The Outro by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. That said, the lyrics also claimed Adolf Hitler was on vibraphone.