Robert Griffin, the first politician endorsed by a punk band, dies

Bob Griffin is dead. But the music that helped drive his 1966 election lives on.

Well, it might be a bit of an overstatement. The band wasn't really punk. Doug Brown & the Omens were really more of a garage "proto-punk" band. But that group, and many others who played the Hideout in Detroit, had a sound that would influence punk and, in many ways, become it. 

How about that endorsement? Well, again, it's complicated. The band, Doug Brown & the Omens, performed an outtasite song endorsing Bob Griffin and his rockin' "action slate" for election to the U.S. Senate seat he'd kept warm after the death of Sen. Pat McNamara. The campaign song, groovy organs and all, is on a collection of Hideout hits under the title "Youth & Experience," but it's also known as "Give Bob the Ball." The lyrics went:

Keep Michigan off the floor
By keeping Bob Griffin as our U.S. Senator.

Thanks, Bob. There was a time when youth and experience, and taking a chance or two, were considered desirable qualities in a politician. Even if it meant having a garage band do your campaign ditty.

About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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