A Musical Review of the 2012 Republican Convention

BY Ellen Rolfes  August 31, 2012 at 8:35 PM EST

Tampa, Fla. — 3 Doors Down premiered their new single “One Light” on Aug. 30, 2012 at the Republican National Convention.

Early on in the 2012 RNC Convention Gwen Ifill commented that Republicans traditionally have selected country and classical music for the soundtrack of the Party’s largest gathering. But this year, more to Gwen and Judy Woodruff’s delight, delegates and attendees were treated to a playlist that mixed country, classical, rock and pop.

The Republican Party put together a lineup of artists to perform throughout the four-day convention, ranging from opera singer Philip Alongi to Jack Blades. The house band was led by G.E. Smith.

Despite what might seem like a normal assumption, musicians whose songs were played or performed at the 2012 Republican National Convention don’t automatically lean right or support Mitt Romney’s campaign. And some clarified their position to remain neutral.

3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold told the “Tampa Bay Times”:

“We’ve never really been a very political band.”

Similarly, “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks, who performed “Taking it to the Streets” on the last night of the convention, also shied away from aligning with the GOP. He told The Huffington Post:

“I don’t really talk about my party or political affiliations. I’m an entertainer; that’s what I was invited to do. Seeing everyone being excited about American political process is great.”

Other musicians were more assertive on expressing their political views.

Ohio Gov. Kasich walked on stage with the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” playing in the background. As the music faded and Kasich approached the podium and amended his prepared remarks, adding, “I don’t about you but I’ve got a feeling… that we’re about to elect a new president of the United States of America.”


Watch Kasich’s full speech here.

Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am’s tweet in response criticized Gov. Kasich:

Kasich was not the only politico to make reference to music at the RNC. In his speech Wednesday night of the convention, Rep. Paul Ryan slighted Mitt Romney’s musical taste, saying that he would not play the songs on Romney’s iPod at campaign rallies.

Here is the clip:

Watch Paul Ryan’s full speech the 2012 Republican Convention.

Ryan said, “I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.”

There were many times during the convention that transitional music acted as a commentary of speeches and Republican politicos. Ann Romney’s speech ended with a musical cue of The Temptations’ “My Girl.”

But at other times, the takeaway for certain songs played was less than obvious. As some bloggers noted, one of the oddest musical choices was The Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy,” played right before Chris Christie gave the convention’s keynote address on Tuesday night.

Here are some of the performances and songs heard on the convention floor:

Beau Davidson: “Blessed

Neal Boyd: “God Bless America

Lane Turner: “We Built It

3 Doors Down: “One Light” (world premiere)

Danny Gokey: “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me

Bebe Winnens: “I Was Born in America

Taylor Hicks: “Taking it To the Streets

For other songs from the 2012 Republican Convention, make sure to listen to the NewsHour’s “RNC Jams” playlist: