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Elton John-inspired ‘Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders’ has gone viral ... and there’s a Loudoun hook

Maya Renfro of Lovettsville created the artwork for the viral Elton John-inspired “Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders” song and video. Art by Maya Renfro.
A Bernie Sanders tribute song to the tune of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” called “Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders” is making waves on the Internet and getting attention from several media outlets, including USA Today.

It turns out the grassroots campaign viral video has a Loudoun connection.

Lovettsville artist Maya Renfro created the artwork for the song’s YouTube video. Renfro used her digital tablet to transform the portrait of Elton John on the cover of his “Greatest Hits 1970-2002” album into the Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders.

Renfro’s friend, Wes Nichols of Germantown, New York, whom she met while visiting the Sadhana Forest in India, enlisted her to create the artwork.

The idea for the song came about while members of the New York-based band MIXTAPE were packing up after a gig.

“When we were packing up at the end of the night 'Tiny Dancer' came on,” Mel Flannery, singer for MIXTAPE, told the Times-Mirror. “Danny [Sher], my husband and drummer, sang 'Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders.'Initially I just rolled my eyes. And then I thought, ‘You know what, there's something there.’”

From there, a real plan came to create a high-quality song, artwork and video. Flannery and Sher assembled a group to create the song on Super Bowl Sunday so it would be ready in time for the New Hampshire primary, which Sanders ended up winning in decisive fashion over Hillary Clinton.

Within 48 hours the final recording and video were complete.

Flannery wrote the lyrics and sang, while Nichols played the electric keyboard and organ. Sher played the drums and friend Alex Wernquest played bass and electric guitar.

The song was recorded in Wernquest’s Basement Floods Records in Catskill, New York. Jeff Caulo of Squint Films made the video.

For the Sanders project, the group is calling themselves Punned It.

As the video makes its rounds on the web, the memorable Elton-Bernie mash up portrait that was made in Loudoun is getting notoriety in its own right.

“I am very appreciative that Wes involved me,” said Renfro.


Please people!!! get a grip!!! Bernie Sanders is a Communist. All of this adoration is ridiculous. Are we really going down this path? If so, start hiding you money in a mattress because Bernie is coming to get it.

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