McCain vs Obama: who's got the best band?

It's a US election music special!

US Election bands

As America's voters decide today on their next president in either John McCain or Barack Obama, MusicRadar has decided to cut through the guff of celebrity endorsements and get to what really matters: the music.

Many musicians have their own views on who is the best candidate and what they each think of Republican and Democratic policies.

But MusicRadar has pointed a laser beam on perhaps the single most pressing issue of this campaign season (to us, anyway): If McCain and Obama had house bands of their muso supporters to play at their inauguration, which would really freakin' rock?

With political prejudice put to one side, we're concentrating on musical and performance chops rather than those of a pork-belly variety.

So here's MusicRadar's special. We've studied the stars' allegiances, auditioned the players (on paper and YouTube, at least), and built our perfect lineups of McCain and Obama 'bands'.

McCain vs Obama: Who's got the best band?

John McCain

Band: The McCainiacs
Song: Ain't That McCain (to the tune Ain't That A Shame)

John Rich - guitar and lead vocals

With Raisin McCain, country star John Rich has written one of the most explicit support songs for Vietnam veteran McCain.

"He stayed strong, stayed extra long
'Til they let all the other boys out
Now we've got a real man with an American plan
We're going to put him in the big White House"

Heartfelt sentiments for sure, but should anyone rhyme 'out' with 'house'? Unless you want listeners to think of an outhouse? (MusicRadar rating) 2/5

Gretchen Wilson - guitar and vocals

She's a Redneck Woman who's more than happy to belt it out with the boys. 'Work hard, play harder' is her motto, even if the Black Crowes are suing her for copyright infringement. And as she showed at a Palin/McCain rally in Ohio, she can out-sing John Rich any day of the week.4/5

Joe Perry - lead guitar

An "icon of rock'n'roll" according to McCain spokeman Tucker Bounds, perhaps the only thing hotter than "hardcore Republican" Perry's riffs is his very own brand of hot sauce, which the Boston guitarist can bring along to spice up the evening's menu. 4/5

Ted Nugent - lead guitar

McCain is an "American buffalo on a mission," according to our Ted and equally The Nuge is the McCain band's biggest attack dog. Not only could Ted perform dual leads with Joe Perry, but he'd be sure to bag a buffalo big enough to feed the party-hearty crowd. And if that weren't enough, the gun-toting Motor City Madman would provide additional Republican security, allowing a few Secret Service agents time to get down. 5/5

Blackie Lawless - bass

Obama is "a product of (the) extreme leftist-Marxist movement," according to Blackie's open letter on WASP While WASP's spandex-clad frontman is more famous for his buzzsaw blade codpiece than his skills on the bass, he has been known to throw raw meat to audiences. And in politics, that's a plus. 3/5

John McCain - drums

Thought we were goofin' on you, huh? Well, as it turns out, the Senator from Arizona is quite the skinsman, as evidenced on this YouTube clip. Notice how he doesn't miss a beat even while he lays out key elements of his platform. That's the mark of a great drummer: the head has to think independently of the body. 5/5

Barack Obama

Band: Bruce Springsteen & The B Street Band
Song: Barack In Black (to the tune Back In Black)

Bruce Springsteen - guitar and lead vocals

As shown at his Philly fundraiser for Obama, New Jersey's favorite son has the voice and the stage skills to rock any house - arena, stadium, you name it - all by himself. But he's a generous team player who knows how to work with a really big band. 5/5

Dave Matthews - guitar and vocals

Endorsing Obama in an open letter on his website, Big Dave is a performer whose voice would provide exciting counterpoint to Bruce's. Normally an acoustic guitarist, Matthews is going to have to strap on an electric and crank it up for this jam. 4/5

Eddie Vedder - guitar and vocals

If there's anyone capable of going toe-to-toe with The Boss while rocking the vote, it's the tousled 'Obama In 30 Seconds' judge. Eddie can leave the Bush mask at home for this gig - all the better to hear his wolfy howl. 5/5

Pete Wentz - bass

As he showed at his Obama fundraiser in Chicago, Fall Out Boy's papparazzi-hounded bassist works the stage sometimes more than his instrument. We reckon Pete could lay down a fat bottom for this number, no problem - while applying eyeliner, no less. 3/5 - drums

As well as a video director (Will produced the Obama-supporting We Are The Ones video), the Black Eyed Peas' rapper, dancer and singer is also a versatile multi-instrumentalist. Not many people can lay down a rap while pounding the skins - is just such a guy. Yes he can!5/5

Stevie Wonder - keyboards and harmonica

Oh, so you think Steve Wonder can't rock? This is the guy who wrote Superstition, so fuggedaboudit. He's got Barack In Black in his back pocket. And if wants to work the dual drummer thing - done. Stevie and Bruce could trade off on harmonica solos too. Hopefully (unlike his appearance at Obama's LA fundraiser) Stevie can stay on the stage long enough to get to his solo…5/5

Beyonce - backup vocals

As she proved when declaring "Obama makes me proud" back in September, Beyonce's knock-'em-dead soul pipes is the stuff dreams are made of. Imagine Mrs Z duetting with The Boss…5/5

Jay-Z - guest rapper

"Middle finga to the law!" Barack In Black is turning into a magnum opus, especially now Mr Beyonce is here to brush all haters off his shoulders as only he can. He might have 99 problems, but knowing what to say when he's standing next to The Boss isn't one of them.5/5

The verdict

Partly on strength of numbers, but also on skill, Barack's B Street Band take it.

MusicRadar's total rating for each band is:

The McCainiacs: 23
Bruce Springsteen & The B Street Band: 37

And if the politics doesn't work out for Obama, maybe he can start a career in rock'n'roll with his new friends? Rock'n'roll always gets our vote.