'Summer of '69' co-writer pens custom Conservative campaign song

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will unveil his party's first commissioned election song — called 'Get Ahead' — when the campaign officially kicks off on Wednesday.

'Get Ahead' channels Jim Vallance's hits, such as 'Run to You' and 'What About Love'

Jim Vallance, left, and Bryan Adams participate in the 'Pretty Woman: The Musical' opening night curtain call at the Nederlander Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in New York. (Greg Allen/Associated Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will enter a rally in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge Wednesday evening to the sound of an upbeat, custom rock number composed by the co-writer behind some of Canadian rock star Bryan Adams' most memorable hits.

The party has chosen Canadian songwriter Jim Vallance to craft an original song for the Conservatives' 2019 campaign.

The final cut is called 'Get Ahead' ⁠— a nod to Scheer's campaign slogan: "It's Time For You To Get Ahead."

This is the first time the Conservative Party of Canada has commissioned a song for an election race, said Brock Harrison, director of communications for the Conservative campaign.

Harrison said the decision was made in part to avoid the legal complications of using someone else's music.

The song has a classic Canadian rock vibe reminiscent of some of the hits Vallance wrote with Adams, like 'Summer Of '69' and 'Run to You'.

"If you listen closely, I think you can hear a few ... chord progressions that remind you of some of his work," Harrison said. "We're very happy with what he came up with."

Vallance is an Order of Canada recipient who has also worked with Aerosmith, Tina Turner, Ozzy Osbourne and Anne Murray.

The party will not say how much it paid Vallance or who performed the tune, in accordance with the terms of their contract. The party did say, however, that Vallance is a long-time Tory supporter and was approached to craft the music.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer stops for a photo while visiting an agricultural fair in St-Hyacinthe, Que., on July 23, 2019. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Harrison said the vibe of the song captures the essence of the Conservative message during the election campaign.

"It's really a reflection of what we've heard from Canadians over the last four years," Harrison said. "Canadians just don't feel like they're getting ahead. They're doing everything right. They're saving. They're paying their bills on time, but they don't have that money at the end of the month to do what they want. They're not able to get ahead."

The Conservatives' economic message

The Conservative campaign is focused on promoting affordability. It's planning to unveil a number of policies over the next few weeks to show how a Scheer government would more money in people's pockets.

Scheer already has announced a government led by him would make Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for new parents tax-free to ease the cost of raising children, remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from home heating and energy bills, and establish a single tax return for Quebec that would be administered by the province.

CBC News reached out to the other federal parties to find out what they're using as campaign songs.

The Liberals say they will unveil their 2019 music during in the coming days and look forward to highlighting the work of Canadian musicians.

The NDP, Greens, People's Party of Canada and Bloc Québécois did not respond before deadline.

Then-Conservative leader Stephen Harper used 'Better Now' by the American rock band Collective Soul as his campaign song in 2008 and 2015.

The other leaders in the last campaign kept their music Canadian. Former NDP Leader Tom Mulcair pumped up crowds with 'We're All In This Together' by Montreal's Sam Roberts Band, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau rallied to 'The Veldt' by DJ Deadmau5.

Harrison said the Conservatives have 'Get Ahead' blaring in their war room at all hours of the day.

"We all seem to just enjoy it more and more with every play," Harrison said. "We certainly hope Canadians will feel the same."

Got a story? olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca


Olivia Stefanovich

Senior reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a senior reporter for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau based in Ottawa. She previously worked in Toronto, Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter at @CBCOlivia. Story tips welcome: olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.

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