By Doug Criss, CNN
Oh, the things President Trump will be greeted with this week when he visits London: demonstrators, a giant “Trump Baby” balloon — and a uniquely British musical protest.
For the past couple of weeks, a social media campaign has sought to make Green Day’s classic 2004 jam “American Idiot” the No. 1 tune in the UK by the time Trump arrives Friday. The “Get American Idiot to No.1 for Trump’s UK Visit” Facebook page has been advocating for some type of musical protest during a Trump visit to Britain pretty much since the start of his presidency. After Trump’s “working visit” — as opposed to a formal state visit — was announced in April, the effort went into overdrive.
The campaign asks people to download “American Idiot” between Friday, July 6, and Friday, July 13, to push the 14-year-old single to the top of the Official UK Charts.
So far the effort appears to be working, with the song checking in at No. 18 on the chart Tuesday. It’ll take a particularly strong push though to get the song to the top of the chart by Friday.
A British tradition
For Americans all of this may seem, well, kind of weird. But the Brits have been waging campaigns to get certain songs to chart for a decade.
Back in 2008, a DJ, tired of singing competition winners clogging the charts at Christmas, began a Facebook campaign to get Rick Astley’s 80s anthem “Never Gonna Give You Up” to No. 1. Since then there have been numerous attempts to get tunes as varied as Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” to the themes from “Star Wars” and “Pokemon” to the top of British charts in time for Christmas.
The politically-charged “American Idiot” was a Billboard Hot 100 hit for Green Day back in the fall of 2004 when George W. Bush was President.
That’s not the only protest
Trump is not exactly popular in the UK right now, and his unpopularity with the Brits is shaping his first official visit there. He’ll meet Queen Elizabeth and huddle with British Prime Minister Theresa May but, in a break from custom for a visit by a foreign leader, he will not visit Downing Street.
He really won’t spend too much time at all in London during the three-day visit, as the President’s handlers seek to minimize the risk of awkward encounters with angry protesters in the streets. Or in the air for that matter.
During a planned “Stop Trump” march in central London on Friday, a 19-foot-tall orange balloon — shaped to look like a baby version of Trump — will be flown as high as 98 feet in the air near Parliament.
Note: This piece has been updated to correct the title of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”