Ethel Merman's campaign promises - Macleans.ca

Ethel Merman’s campaign promises

by

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.