Democrats Redefine Party Music

From a Times Staff Writer

If there was any doubt about the baby boomers’ growing influence in politics, it was erased by the choice of music in key moments of the Democratic National Convention. Most prominent was the selection of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” as the capper after Bill Clinton’s acceptance speech.

The song was misidentified by ABC’s Peter Jennings as a Jefferson Airplane number, and National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg confessed from the floor, where delegates were singing along, that she didn’t know what it was.

Then there was the use of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” as vice presidential candidate Al Gore’s intro and outro. Gore dancing to the tune with his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Tipper), may have helped soften her anti-rock image from her work with the Parent’s Music Resource Center. The song comes from Simon’s “Graceland” album, giving it a little Tennessee connection to boot.

But did anyone notice what was playing at the conclusion of the still rebellious after all these years Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.'s speech on Wednesday? It was John Philip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell,” best known these days as the theme from the wacky British TV show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”