Play “Gloria.”© Scott Gries/Getty Images/New York Daily News/TNS Laura Branigan performs during \”Tammy Faye Tastes New York\” sponsered by OUT For People at Webster Hall in New York City. 5/21/02 Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images
That’s the message Laura Branigan’s former drummer and confidant wants to send to the Trump 2020 campaign, which had the 1982 hit blaring as Air Force One pulled into a Freeland, Mich., airplane hangar Thursday evening.
While a long list of musicians have asked the president not to associate himself with their music — some of whom have pursued their legal options — sticks-man Tommy Bayiokos was thrilled to hear the song played while a crowd waited for the president to appear. He thinks Branigan would have gotten a kick out of it too if she were still around.
“I would say she would think that was totally GLORIOUS and would be deeply honored — and most appropriate as Laura had a flair for dramatic,” Bayiokos told the Daily News by email Thursday night.
According to Bayiokos, he played in Branigan’s band from 2001 until her death in 2004 and they were romantically involved during the final eight months of her life. He said the Brewster native who died in East Quogue was a Republican who prided herself on “traditional values” that she considered old-fashioned.
“I don’t think for a second she would have told the President to stop playing it because it’s a winning anthem and she loved our country, and was vocal at the house to me about it,” he said. “She’d be simply, deeply honored, I believe.”
“Gloria” was a platinum-certified hit in its day that spent nine months on the Billboard 100 chart. It’s also enjoyed several comebacks, including an appearance in a memorable scene from the 2017 film “I, Tonya.” Most recently it became the theme song for the St. Louis Blues hockey team, which went on a huge roll after adopting the tune and won the 2019 Stanley Cup. Fans and players chanted “Play Gloria” after each victory.
Bayiokos jumped on the bandwagon and participated in Blues’ events during their championship run. Though he wasn’t with Branigan’s band when “Gloria” became a hit, the 55-year-old actor came to know the song well.
“During my years, I lost count times playing kind of because we would rehearse it, play it at sound checks and perform it, and the concert arrangement was much longer than the original record and the fans would crave it,” Bayiokos recalled.
He said the band would play “Gloria” toward the end of each show, but usually ended with the 1984 hit “Self Control,” then did an encore. Bayiokos said the last time Branigan performed “Gloria” was in July 2004 — the month before her death of a brain aneurysm — while opening for the Commodores in Boston.
While “Gloria” blared as Trump’s plane taxied on a Michigan runway Thursday, two more songs played to fans waiting for the president to disembark; one of which made sense and another that raised eyebrows.
First was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which is about rich kids like Trump who got out of fighting in Vietnam because their dads were millionaires. Social media exploded with mockery of that choice.
Anxious Trump supporters then heard the Village People’s “Macho Man,” which is certainly how some see the tough-talking president. Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” came on once Trump emerged.
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