By Scott T. Sterling
Way, way back in 1992, then-aspiring presidential hopeful Bill Clinton paved his road to the White House with the appeal of America’s youngest voters.
In the summer of that year, Clinton would make an appearance on red-hot late-night TV’s The Arsenio Hall Show. During the show, he donned a pair of black Ray-Bans, grabbed a saxophone and joined the band for a spirited rendition of Elvis Presley’s 1956 classic, “Heartbreak Hotel.”
To many, that was the moment President Clinton sealed his first of two electoral victories, proving that he was young America’s candidate despite playing sax to a then-35-year-old song (one has to wonder if a current candidate could score with youthful voters by wailing along to, say, Christopher Cross‘ 1980 single, “Sailing,” on a sax. Eh, probably, but I digress).
Now that controversial conservative Republican Mike Huckabee has thrown his hat into the ring as candidate for the 2016 presidential election, it’s only a matter of time before he hits the late-night circuit with his own instrument of choice in hand: a bass guitar.
While America braces for the inevitable onslaught of Huckabee’s funky bass styling (and he’s no poser—the man is an avid collector with an enviable and sizable collection of instruments somewhere “between 50 and 70”), we’ve gathered some of the Arkansas hopeful’s finest musical moments to date.
Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with Phil Collen
Having his own FOX News talk show for nearly seven years gave Huckabee ample opportunity to show off his bass skills. After meeting Def Leppard member Phil Collen at the NAMM convention, he invited the guitarist to his show for a rendition of hit 1987 single “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Retro pop-metal: check!
“Cat Scratch Fever” with Ted Nugent
Of course, Huckabee featured the “Motor City Madman” and notorious right-wing extremist, Ted Nugent, on his show in 2011. After calling the death of Osama Bin Laden a “hiccup” in the war on terror and advocating that America send troops to the Middle East to “find all his idiots and kill ’em all,” the Nuge and Huckabee teamed up for a version of 1977 FM radio staple “Cat Scratch Fever.” Classic Midwestern rock: check!
“Sweet Home Alabama” with Lynyrd Skynyrd
An episode of Huckabee from 2009 will speak to a swath of voters in the Southern states (especially one in particular) and beyond thanks to show guests Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Huck saddled up with the band to run through “Sweet Home Alabama.” Huckabee is seen having the time of his life, mugging with band members and generally rocking out. Classic Southern rock: check!
“Freebird” with Capitol Offense
Huckabee’s love of Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn’t stop at “Sweet Home Alabama.” When he’s not on the campaign trail (and often even when he is), Huckabee is a member of his own band, Capitol Offense (“we offend just about everybody” he quipped to The New York Times). During a stop in New Hampshire back in 2007, the group ran through what he called “the southern National Anthem of rock,” “Free Bird.” More classic Southern rock: check!
“More Than a Feeling” with Boston’s Barry Goudreau
Among Capitol Offense’s wide range of classic cover songs includes Boston’s smash 1976 debut single, “More Than a Feeling.” They often performed the track with original Boston lead guitarist Barry Goudreau, a staunch Republican and longtime Huckabee supporter. That all changed in 2008, when Boston founder Tom Tom Scholz got wind of the performances. Sholz, a Democrat and Obama supporter, was moved to write Huckabee a scathing letter taking him to task for using Boston music to promote his political agenda, saying, “I think I’ve been ripped off, dude!” Even more classic ’70s FM hits: check!