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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Campaign music

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January 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Candidates' campaign song choices about more than the chorus

SEATTLE — Campaign music can often put candidates’ stump speeches to a melody anyone can follow.

Bill Clinton’s campaign song in 1992 was Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop.” Running as the challenger against an incumbent, the lyrics were completely on message:

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here
It’ll be better than before
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone

In 2000, George W. Bush touted his “stick-to-your-guns” mentality with Tom Petty’s “I won’t back down.” The song’s lyrics played up Bush’s rough-and-tumble cowboy image against Al Gore’s more reserved persona:

No I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from dragging me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won’t back down

That was until, like many things in 2000, Bush’s use of the song was contested. Petty’s publishers issued a cease and desist letter to Bush. And to add insult to injury, Petty later went on to play the song at a private concert in Gore’s home.

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Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Campaign music