When Angela Merkel annoyed the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones after a show in May 2018 in London

About a month before the general election in Germany on September 18th, 2005, in which then opposition leader Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) became the country’s first female Chancellor, she had to face an embarrassing situation regarding a poorly-chosen idea to boost her chances.

«Angie», a ballad about the end of a romance by the English rock band Rolling Stones from their 1973 album Goats Head Soup which became a world-wide hit, was played at the end of most of Merkel’s rallies in 2005.

When the superstars received notice of this political publicity stunt, they expressed surprise and disappointment because no one had sought their permission to do so, which they would probably have refused anyway.

On August 20th, 2005 a spokesman for the Christian Democrats denied that, insisting that his party had the perfect right to play the old song as campaign theme and wouldn’t back down.

He made it very clear that they were no legal issues, because the CDU had obtained the corresponding confirmation from the competent German Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights (Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, GEMA).

At the same time, he declined to comment on the suitability of the song’s lyrics, which include the refrains «Angie … you’re beautiful», but also «Ain’t it time we said goodbye» and «All the dreams we held so close seemed to all go up in smoke. You can’t say we’re satisfied.»

Her campaign advisors probably had chosen the song only by its name, without paying any attention to the somewhat inappropriate content and hoping that the English original version would be lost in translation.

Mick Jagger’s distinctive voice over a mournful melody was supposed to let Germans know that candidate Merkel would be able to feel their pain. The strategy worked back then and even afterwards, although during her four terms in office she has demonstrated that in reality she doesn’t.

Silly decisions regarding nuclear energy and mass immigration, made by gut instinct, clearly show that she couldn’t care less about the nation’s future. Merkel’s sometimes even refuses to call Germans just what they are, preferring the abstruse phrase “those who have long resided here.”

It’s definitely high time to let “Angie” go for good. The problem is that step by step she has purged all suitable internal competitors and the once mighty German Social Democrats (SPD) are also in very bad shape. So at the end it was an appropriate choice: “You can’t say we’re satisfied.”


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