In honor of Presidents’ Day and Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, NPR classical music commentator Miles Hoffman came up with a handful of songs Lincoln would have put on his iPod. (The list is theoretical, because iPods did not exist when Lincoln was President.) The list includes Friedrich von Flotow’s opera Martha, Mozart’s Magic Flute, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s The Union (Fantasy on Patriotic Airs).
Hoffman’s piece also includes some cute Lincoln lore:
His love of opera apparently got him into trouble during the Civil War, when he was taken to task for attending a performance while the war was ongoing. To this, the president responded, "The truth is I must have a change of some sort, or die."
In that spirit, we think that if Lincoln came back from the dead he might be tired of Mozart and Flotow. So here’s some music from our own time that we think would be a good fit for ol’ Abe.
–Because Abraham Lincoln was honest: "Straight Up," by Paula Abdul
-Because Abraham Lincoln had a beard: "Sharp Dressed Man," by ZZ Top
-Because Abraham Lincoln had a nuanced understanding of the intricacies of civil war: "Two States," by Pavement
-Because Abraham Lincoln was six foot four: "The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders," by Sufjan Stevens
-Because Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation: The Emancipation of Mimi, by Mariah Carey
-Just a good song: "Black or White," by Michael Jackson