How Obama and Romney Are Presiding Over the Death of the Campaign Song

Last week in Charlotte, Bill Clinton stepped to a podium in front of his party's delegation and delivered a speech. Maybe you saw it? What I remember are words — lots of words. Some of them wrapped around statistics, others glaring back at me like bumper stickers on chrome. Clinton's words flowed ceaselessly. Then — after 48 minutes — they ceased. And Fleetwood Mac's “Don't Stop” started up.

It's been 20 years since Clinton first rolled out his signature tune. In that time, “Don't Stop” has proven an unlikely steady theme for the former president. In fact, as time and election cycles pile up, “Don't Stop” is looking like the last of a dubious election year tradition: the campaign song that sticks to the candidate.

A cursory glance at how pop music has been used by past campaigns shows its waning influence. Time was, candidates held fast to one campaign song, and one song only. The choice of said song, though sometimes fluky and often misguided, was often a key moment in the making of a would-be president.

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