Charlie Baker’s Music Preferences

Based on a month of Facebook interactions, here's what we know about the governor's taste in tunes.

charlie baker

Photo via AP

The previous Governor of Massachusetts, let’s face it, was a bit highbrow in his musical tastes—the son of a professional jazz saxophonist, Deval Patrick rarely referenced anything from the Billboard 100.

Charlie Baker, however, is shamelessly Top 40 in his tastes—stuck mostly in the classic rock that dominated radio of his teens and twenties, aka the 1970s and ’80s.

But Baker will also surprise you. He has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the Ramones, for instance, and has been known to jam out to classic R&B hits. He loves Green Day, and the Dropkick Murphys.

For the past year or so, the Governor has revealed his preferences on my Facebook page: he is a regular player in a song-category game I post there. (Example: What are the best songs whose titles begin with the word “My”?)

Baker began playing during last year’s campaign, and still finds time to check in, contributing answers and clicking “Like” for other people’s entries. I even caught him doing it on the evening of July 23, while most Massachusetts political players were watching the televised Boston 2024 debate. (He claimed to be “multi-tasking.”)

To give you a taste of his tastes, we’ve compiled a playlist of the 20 songs Baker contributed during the just-completed month of July.


Most will be familiar to anyone raised on WBCN: tracks by The Beaver Brown Band, Pat Benatar, The Doors, The Knack, Moody Blues, and Patti Smith. A few can only be forgiven if you lived through the ’70s: The Bay City Rollers’s “Saturday Night”; Olivia Newton-John’s “You’re The One That I Want”; and The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You.” Perhaps nostalgia can explain “That Thing You Do,” from the movie of the same name. And he erroneously gave the title of a classic Squeeze song as “Pulling Mussels from the Shelf.”

Give Baker a little credit, however, for Archie Bell & The Drells; a Ramones deep-cut, “You’re Gonna Kill That Girl”; and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”—a rare foray into rap for the Governor.

The list also includes The Temptations classic “My Girl,” which gives me an excuse to roll out this clip of Governor Baker lip syncing to it at an Urban League street BBQ last September, with Darnell Williams, Robert Lewis, and some random guy. (Video used with permission of Nehemie Ca.)


You’ll find a little more range among the four dozen songs Baker “Liked” over the course of the month: Bananarama, Bobby Brown, Funkadelic, Lady Gaga, Mission of Burma, The Stylistics, Talking Heads, and Shania Twain are sprinkled in among the old AOR hits. Still, he tends to stay in his comfort zone. Baker skips over most alternative rock, and almost all hip-hop, country, and jazz vocalists.

Curiously, the Governor shows no love for one classic rock band that you might think would be in his wheelhouse: The Grateful Dead, famously favored by his former boss, William Weld.

Here’s a list of songs that Baker did “Like” on Facebook:

Aerosmith – “Lightning Strikes”
The Association – “Never My Love”
Bananarama – “Venus”
Beastie Boys – “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)”
The Beatles – “Something”
Blondie – “Dreaming”
Bobby Brown – “My Prerogative”
Jackson Browne – “The Pretender”
Jackson Browne – “Tender Is The Night”
The Box Tops – “The Letter”
The Cars – “My Best Friend’s Girl”
The Cars – “You Might Think”
Cheap Trick – “The Flame”
Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping”
The Clash – “Should I Stay or Should I Go”
The Clash – “White Riot”
The Commitments – “Mustang Sally”
Elvis Costello – “Watching The Detectives”
Cream – “White Room”
Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Who’ll Stop The Rain”
Dropkick Murphys – “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”
Bob Dylan – “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”
The Eagles – “Lyin’ Eyes”
Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”
Aretha Franklin – “Think”
Funkadelic – “Music for My Mother”
Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”
Gloria Gaynor – “I Will Survive”
Gin Blossoms – “Found Out About You”
Guns N’ Roses – “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
George Harrison – “My Sweet Lord”
Buddy Holly – “That’ll Be the Day”
Bruce Hornsby – “The Way It Is”
Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit”
Joe Jeffrey Group – “My Pledge of Love”
Billy Joel – “The Stranger”
Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin'”
Katrina and the Waves – “Walking on Sunshine”
Kool and the Gang – “Ladies Night”
Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul – “Lyin’ in a Bed of Fire”
Loggins and Messina – “Your Mama Don’t Dance”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – “That Smell”
John Mellencamp – “Lonely Ol’ Night”
Mission Of Burma – “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate”
The Pretenders – “Back on the Chain Gang”
Gerry Rafferty – “Right Down the Line”
The Raspberries – “Go All the Way”
R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
Righteous Brothers – “(You’re My) Soul & Inspiration”
The Rolling Stones – “Midnight Rambler”
Linda Ronstadt – “You’re No Good”
Leon Russell – “Tight Rope”
Bob Seger – “Night Moves”
Carly Simon – “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Could Be”
Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain”
Simon and Garfunkel – “The Boxer”
Frank Sinatra – “My Way”
Bruce Springsteen – “My Hometown”
Bruce Springsteen – “Night”
Bruce Springsteen – “The Promise”
Bruce Springsteen – “The Rising”
Bruce Springsteen – “You’re Missing”
Ringo Starr – “You’re Sixteen”
Rod Stewart – “Tonight’s the Night”
The Stylistics – “Stone in Love with You”
The Supremes – “Stop in the Name of Love”
The Sweet – “Fox on the Run”
Talking Heads – “Burning Down the House”
The Temptations – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
The Temptations – “You’re My Everything”
Shania Twain – “You’re Still the One”
Frankie Valli – “My Eyes Adored You”
Van Halen – “Runnin’ with the Devil”
White Plains – “My Baby Loves Lovin'”
The Who – “My Generation”
The Who – “My Wife”
Jackie Wilson – “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”