Ethel Merman’s campaign promises


I read about this song a while back, but I only just found it on YouTube (though I see that Gothamist found it last year). In the timeline of Mad Men, John Lindsay is currently Mayor of New York City, and when he was running for Mayor in 1965, he got his friend Stephen Sondheim to write him a campaign song to the tune of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and had Ethel Merman record it. It’s mostly just a reminder of a time when show tunes were still so central to popular culture that a politician would use them to bolster his campaign. But there’s something very 1965 about the song’s cheery optimism that all the problems people were starting to become more aware of – crime, race, “dirty streets, dirty air” – were just one good election away from being fixed.


Ethel Merman’s campaign promises

  1. I love this so much.

  2. Lindsay ran in 1965 as the liberal Republican version (yes, there were liberal Republicans in ’65) of John F. Kennedy, but was woefully unprepared even as a seven-year Congressman for New York City’s bare-knuckle politics. But the Merman song does at a little bit more of a Broadway connection to longtime NYC/NYS planner Robert Moses’ comment about Lindsay after a month in office — “If you elect a matinee idol mayor, you get a musical comedy administration”

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