As President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention came to a thunderous close in Charlotte last night, viewers heard the triumphant sounds of an anthemic artist tailor-made for the occasion: Mr. Bruce Springsteen.
The musical voice of blue-collar America and a former campaigning artist for both Obama and John Kerry, The Boss was bound to make an appearance in some form at the DNC. Obama did not make President Regan’s mistake of misappropriating “Born in the U.S.A.” He didn’t even go for old-school Bruce, opting instead for “We Take Care of Our Own,” the lead single and opening track off Springsteen’s 2012 album Wrecking Ball. With lines like “we take care of our own/wherever this flag’s flown,” this was inevitable.
Springsteen was far from the only classic rocker to help soundtrack the 2012 DNC. The convention utilized plenty of classic rock and pop this week as intro and exit music for speakers. Obama’s walk-on song last night was less obvious (and not really political) – U2’s “City of Blinding Lights,” from 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
As for the artists who actually performed at the DNC, James Taylor got feisty with an empty chair joke (in reference to Clint Eastwood’s RNC appearance last week). Watch Taylor’s performances of (but of course) “Carolina In My Mind,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “How Sweet It Is.”
The “queen of hip-hop soul” Mary J. Blige and the Foo Fighters also performed at the DNC last night.
Michelle Obama chose non-political tracks for her entrance and exit from the stage on Tuesday night. FLOTUS used Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” to soundtrack her stylish entrance and Beyonce’s “Move Ya Body” for her exit. (Beyonce specifically reworked her track “Get Me Bodied” into “Move Ya Body” for the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign on childhood obesity.)
VP Joe Biden also utilized classic soul for his intro and exit themes during his Wednesday night speech: Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” for walk-on, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire for walk-off.
Tom Petty soundtracked a pres-on-pres bromance, as “I Won’t Back Down” blared when Obama embraced Bill Clinton following the former president’s electrifying speech on Wednesday night. Petty has previously asked politicians to stop using his music as their campaign playlists (specifically Michelle Bachman, who was playing “American Girl,” and George W. Bush), but Petty told Rolling Stone he got chills when he heard his song playing at this year’s DNC.
Clinton also utilized his signature campaign song, Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” as both walk-on and post-speech music. Is it possible to hear that song without associating it with Clinton, who used his powers to reunite the Mac for a gig at his inaugural ball?
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local