“My friends,” Bill Clinton said over a roaring crowd of delegates at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in downtown Los Angeles. “Fifty-four years ago this week I was born in a summer story to a young widow in a small southern town. America gave me a chance to live my dreams. And I have tried as hard as I knew how to give you a better chance to live yours… Remember, whenever you think about me, keep putting people first. Keep building those bridges. And don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”
Then the song — the song — started to play.
You know the one — the iconic Fleetwood Mac number that had come to define Bill Clinton during his two presidential terms and would follow him, seemingly, forever.
“Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” was a pillar of Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, and, as Caryn James of the New York Times noticed in 1997, the song was “endlessly replayed.”
Now it’s 2015 and a new Clinton is poising herself to take the reigns of the very same office. But as a recent Spotify playlist of Hillary Clinton’s pump up songs suggests, the candidate still lacks a single defining tune to carry her to the White House. Her playlist includes songs like “Happy” by Pharrell (you may remember it as the 2013 “song of the summer”) and “Vivir Mi Vida” a song sung entirely in Spanish by Marc Anthony.
Picking a song to represent your candidacy doesn’t always come with an amazing backstory, but Bill Clinton’s choice certainly does.
The song first resonated with Bill long before he ran for President. As the story goes (Bill once spoke about this in a panel recorded by CSPAN), a cab driver in California played “Don’t Stop…” while Bill, then the Governor of Arkansas, was in the backseat.
The driver suggested that should Bill end up eventually running for president, the 1977 Fleetwood Mac favourite should be his theme.
It was a weird notion — after all, this song was once imagined as an insurance company jingle. (Read about that here.) The song was also over ten years old.
Spoiler alert: Bill Clinton did run for President. And he also picked “Don’t Stop…” to score his campaign. But not everyone was convinced that picking a decades-old song was the right move for a presidential candidate who was supposed to be the embodiment of the future. Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd wrote that when it came to Bill’s musical taste, “the buck stopped in 1977.”
For context, Bush, the incumbent in the 1992 race to the White House, used the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” a tune of complacency. Ross Perot, an independent candidate, aptly used Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in 1992 as the theme song for his long-shot campaign.
The song, much like the candidate, could be described as optimistic, upbeat, infectious and exciting.
It worked. It’s 2015, and “Don’t Stop…” continues to be played wherever Bill goes. But lately, Hillary has been the Clinton who’s headlining events.
And they don’t play Fleetwood Mac for Hillary.
Hillary needs her own song, and she would be smart to pick a song that also can be described as optimistic, upbeat, infectious and exciting.
Here’s Hillary’s Spotify playlist:
Her campaign says these are the songs she listened to on her way to Iowa this week.
Out of all of these, here’s what we think could be Hillary’s “Don’t Stop….”
The Pick: Katy Perry’s “Roar”
The reason: Katy Perry’s song is about a woman claiming her place and finding her voice. Hillary Clinton is a lifelong feminist and, if all goes according to her plan, she may become the first female President of the United States. Perry’s song is about recovering from hardship and bouncing back. Clinton’s political career has been subject to ups and downs, and she’s bouncing back in 2016 from her 2008 defeat.
Best lyric: “You hear my voice, you hear that sound, like thunder gonna shake the ground.”
It doesn’t hurt that: Perry is a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, so he’d likely be willing to lend her support to the campaign. In fact, she recently changed her Twitter icon to Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo, and offered to write an original song for Hillary.
Whatever Hillary picks, it’s going to have to be enough to get “Don’t Stop” out of our heads. After all, it’s been stuck there for 23 years.
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