Can you guess the music tastes of world leaders?

  • 11 November 2018
  • 334

Politics and music don't always make for natural bedfellows, but knowing what world leaders enjoy listening to surely reveals something of their personality.

How well do you know what musicians the powerful like? Can you guess the music tastes of world leaders?


Reports in 2009 suggested Vladimir Putin was such a fan of one particular band that he summoned a tribute act to play a private gig for him. According to the Telegraph, Björn Again, the ABBA tribute act, played for Putin in the resort of Lake Valdai, nine hours outside Moscow, on 22 January, 2008. "Only nine people were at the gig, an operation so cloak and dagger that net curtains were erected between the stage and the seating to protect the privacy of Mr Putin and a female companion..."


In his 2009 book, Think Like a Champion, Donald Trump expressed an admiration for which modern classical composer? "I remember reading about a composer named Steve Reich who came up with a new idea called phasing," said Trump about the minimalist American composer. "He has had a significant influence on contemporary music, and I think he's a great example as an innovator."

Donald is also a fan of a major American female pop star and believes he played a part in her rise to fame by "putting her on the Miss Universe Pageant". Who? Lady Gaga. This information also comes from a Trump book - 2011's Time to Get Tough. Trump said: "She's a fantastic person, solid as a rock and I'm very proud of her success because I really believe I had at least something to do with it."


About what 70s dance song did Theresa May say the following in an interview last year: "That's what gets me up and going, yes!" adding that it really gets her "moving". This was “Dancing queen” by ABBA. "I'm of a generation that remembers ABBA very well," the PM said in the same Metro interview, and also picked Dancing Queen as one of her Desert Island Discs in 2014.


Emmanuel Macron said one day: "I have a great admiration for Rossini. For me, he occupies an essential place in the history of music." The President of France is quite the classical music/opera buff, adding of the Italian composer: "His freedom, his life and his genius have always impressed me." He's also a fan of Bach.

North Korea

One of the Western artists was approved by Kim Jong-un's regime to play in North Korea in 2015. Perhaps unexpectedly, it was Slovenian industrial art-metal group Laibach. Their trip became the subject of a BBC Storyville documentary, When Rock Arrived in North Korea: Liberation Day.


How do you think, which world-famous conductor praised Angela Merkel for attending classical music concerts, while adding that very few politicians in the UK are interested in "the musical life"? Daniel Barenboim. In 2015, Barenboim told the Guardian: "I have to say I lived for 15 years in London where none of the politicians had much interest in the musical life. In Germany, Mrs Merkel… and her finance minister [Wolfgang Schäuble], and other top politicians, regularly come to classical concerts. And we are grateful that they clearly saw this academy as fitting in with their wider idea of what culture means."


Leaked 2012 emails between Bashar al-Assad and iTunes revealed that the President of Syria was a fan of one British pop band. According to the Guardian, in Assad's list of iTunes purchases there were "songs from the Lebanese actor and singer Nasri Shamseddine" and "an eclectic mix of artists from the 1990s British duo Right Said Fred to the US singer Chris Brown".

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