Ken Tucker invites you to help write a song list that could liven up the event

By Ken Tucker
Updated August 15, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Don’t expect good music at the Democratic convention

When the Democratic convention that anointed Bill Clinton as its candidate concluded with the hideous spectacle of Bill, Hillary, Al and Tipper Gore all boogying down to Fleetwood Mac’s ”Don’t Stop,” millions of TV viewers screamed at their sets, ”No, please — stop!”

Democrats feel they can use rock & roll for their own purposes because rock is mass — i.e., small-”d” democratic — pop culture. (Republicans, being of the party of age and privilege, avoid public displays of the populist party animalism that devil rock music can inspire.) Thus it seems inevitable that the Gore/ Lieberman ticket will conclude its Los Angeles love-in with some piece of decades old pop, even though the potentially lethal combination of cultural conservative Joe Lieberman and record labeler Tipper Gore is likely to severely proscribe the nature of the song chosen.

This means no spectacle of the Gore and Lieberman daughters ”shang a lang”ing to Sisqó’s ”Thong Song.” Probably no joke farewell to Bill Clinton with a rousing rendition of The O’Kaysions’ 1968 hit ”Girl Watcher” or Sly and the Family Stone’s ”Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” or KC and the Sunshine Band’s ”I’m Your Boogie Man.” (Lordy, I’m going to miss Bill.) Here, however, are a few Gore/ Lieberman possibilities. Please add your own.

· In their pursuit of elevating post Lewinsky discourse: ”Higher Ground,” by Stevie Wonder

· To describe Gore: Simon and Garfunkel’s ”I Am a Rock”; Eddie Floyd’s ”Knock on Wood”; and the only song he can probably dance to convincingly: The Bangles’ ”Walk Like an Egyptian”

· To address Lieberman’s observance of the Jewish sabbath while also alluding to his support of gay rights: ”Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John

· If they decide to go cute: Cheap Trick’s ”I Want You to Want Me”

· If they decide, in George Clinton’s phrase, to fake the funk: Funkadelic’s ”Standing on the Verge of Getting It On”

· If they decide to acknowledge the truth about their pop culture obliviousness: Hall and Oates’ ”Out of Touch”

And while most of network television is humming Wham!’s ”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” the Democrats, like their opponents, know that the secret soundtrack to all Presidential campaigns is the backroom maneuvering and deal making summed up by the true anthem of modern politics: Charlie Rich’s ”Behind Closed Doors.”