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Obama's official campaign music plays to the crowd

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The chief digs his music, that much is clear.

That was a credible Al Green impression President Obama slipped into a speech during a Jan. 19 fundraising event at the famed Apollo Theater. Not only did the YouTube clip of the singer-in-chief go viral, it became its own music-industry stimulus package: downloads of Green's "Let's Stay Together" briefly jumped nearly 500 percent.

So it's no surprise to see that track on Obama's official campaign playlist, unveiled on Thursday.

These are the songs he'll be blaring at campaign events, so perhaps we should be reading between the song titles for political messages in "No Nostalgia" (AgesandAges), "Keep Marchin'" (Raphael Saadiq), "Keep Me in Mind" (the Zac Brown Band") and -- uh-oh -- "Roll With the Changes" (REO Speedwagon).

Here's the complete playlist ...

No Doubt - "Different People"


Earth Wind & Fire Experience feat. Al McKay Allstars - "Got To Get You Into My Life - (Live)"

Booker T. & The MG's - "Green Onions - Single/LP Version"

Wilco - "I Got You"

The Impressions - "Keep On Pushing - Single Version"

Jennifer Hudson - "Love You I Do"

AgesandAges - "No Nostalgia"

Ledisi - "Raise Up"

Sugarland - "Stand Up"

Darius Rucker - "This"

Arcade Fire - "We Used to Wait"

Florence And The Machine - "You've Got The Love"

James Taylor - "Your Smiling Face"

REO Speedwagon - "Roll With The Changes"

Raphael Saadiq - "Keep Marchin'"

Noah And The Whale - "Tonight's The Kind Of Night"

Zac Brown Band - "Keep Me In Mind"

Aretha Franklin - "The Weight"

U2 - "Even Better Than The Real Thing"

Dierks Bentley - "Home"

Sugarland - "Everyday America"

Darius Rucker - "Learn To Live"

Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"

Electric Light Orchestra - "Mr. Blue Sky"

Montgomery Gentry - "My Town"

Ricky Martin - "The Best Thing About Me Is You Feat. Joss Stone"

Ray LaMontagne - "You Are The Best Thing"

Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care Of Our Own"

( Listen to the songs on Spotify )

No doubt carefully compiled with the aid of political strategists, the playlist at least draws requisite Chicago homeboys and girls, including Jennifer Hudson ("Love You I Do"), Wilco ("I Got You") and Earth, Wind & Fire ("Got to Get You Into My Life").

This batch of songs is considerably more diverse -- look at all that country! -- than what we've seen in the umpteen other discussions of what's on the prez's iPod through the years. In 2010, Obama confessed to having about 2,000 songs on his 'Pod, including Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and "a lot of R&B." Previously, the president gave England's Queen Elizabeth an iPod as a gift, pre-loaded with songs such as "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols and, of course, "Killer Queen" by Queen.

Will any of the artists object to their songs being used at Obama events? His Republican challengers never seem to get those clearances in advance. The Chicago-area songwriters from the band Survivor recently sued Newt Gingrich over using "Eye of the Tiger" for years without permission, and rapper K'Naan instructed Mitt Romney to cease and desist using his song "Wavin' the Flag."

Romney's own campaign playlist came under scrutiny this week, with The Washington Post noting the difference in the tone of selected songs from his 2008 campaign to this year's, which seem angrier. Romney's songs include Toby Keith's wisecracking "American Ride" and Kid Rock's "Born Free."


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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on February 9, 2012 3:02 PM.

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