Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Doin' The Convention Shuffle

Are political convention speakers beholden to the music that ushers them onstage?

Doin' The Convention Shuffle

Watching the Democratic National Convention on C-SPAN has many benefits, not the least of which is this: You can clearly hear the snippets of songs chosen to usher each speaker onto the stage.

I'm sure these bits have specific names -- anyone? The politics of music has long been a campaign subplot. Every four years, it seems, some upset artist sues or threatens a candidate using a song without permission. This year, the most discordant story involves Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's unlikely obsession with angry rap-rockers Rage Against the Machine, and the band's horrified response to the superfan.

I know some professional athletes choose which songs are blasted in stadiums when they take the bat or come back in the game. Does the same hold true for the president of Planned Parenthood or Governor of Colorado? And if the speakers don't have any say, what should viewers read-in to the tunes imposed by the campaigns?

To wit: Tuesday night, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper -- a Narberth native -- strolled onto the stage above the oddly pulsing beat of Maroon 5's "This Love." This puzzled me, especially when he started talking about his days struggling to open a microbrewery. (Given Hickenlooper's sudsy, local roots, G. Love's "Cold Beverages" might have been a more apt theme song.)

Sister Simone Campbell , one of the feisty "Nuns on the Bus," made her way to the podium to the bouncy Cheryl Lynn 1970s dancefloor hit, "Got to Be Real." Unclear if the sister is a disco fan, but perhaps she prays while belting out lyrics like: Ooh, your love's for real now/You know that your love is my love/My love is your love/Our love is here to stay.

I fell asleep before former President Bill Clinton took the stage, but correctly predicted his theme music: Fleetwood Mac.

Anyone care to wager on what Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will strut to when he speaks tonight? (Please, for the love of God: NO. MORE. SUGARHILL GANG.)

-- Monica Yant Kinney

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Karen Heller, Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Karen Heller Inquirer Staff Writer
Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
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