How Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop Became Bill Clinton's 1992 Campaign Song

When he first ran for president in 1992, former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton looked for ways to reach voters and to share his vision for America. One of his strategies was to use popular music in his campaign. Music held a special place in Clinton's heart since he was a skilled saxophone player and had previously thought of pursuing music as a career, according to the official site of the White House.

Rather than take the stage, Clinton decided to get a law degree, graduating from Yale University in 1973. He then sought elected office in his native Arkansas, but he failed at his first attempt. Clinton did win the posts of attorney general in 1976 and governor in 1978, per the White House. And it was a song from the 1970s that he turned to when he decided to seek national office. According to a video posted on C-SPAN, Clinton thought Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" would help inspire the American people to support his 1992 campaign against President George Bush who was running for a second term, per Britannica. He also had to contend with businessman Ross Perot, an independent candidate.

Clinton found his theme song in Don't Stop

As Clinton later explained, he was in California giving a speech when afterward, someone said that if he ran for president in 1992, he should use "Don't Stop" in his campaign, according to a video posted on C-SPAN. " ... I listened to it for 30 seconds, and I knew he was right," Clinton said. Clinton played the theme song at the Democratic National Convention. According to the Clinton Digital Library, before playing the song, Clinton encouraged the attendees, "Keep putting people first. Keep building those bridges. And don't stop thinking about tomorrow!".

The song had been a hit for Fleetwood Mac in 1977, reaching the No. 3 spot on the Billboard charts, per Rolling Stone. So the tune had a certain nostalgia for the Baby Boomer generation that Clinton hoped to win over. Christine McVie wrote the song, which appeared on the band's "Rumours" album. On the surface, its lyrics are filled with positive messages about letting go of the past and moving forward. Via Songfacts, lyrics such as "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow" and "It'll be better than before" seem incredibly upbeat, making the song ideal for Clinton's campaign. But what Clinton probably didn't know was the sad story behind the song.

Clinton reunited Fleetwood Mac for his inauguration

On "Rumours," Christine McVie sang "Don't Stop" with Lindsey Buckingham. Both McVie and Buckingham were going through difficult breakups with other band members at the time they were making the record, per the New York Times. McVie wrote "Don't Stop" to encourage her soon-to-be-ex-husband John McVie to move forward with his life without her. Buckingham's split from Stevie Nicks reportedly led him to pen "Go Your Own Way," according to Mojo.

With all the band's internal drama, Fleetwood Mac weren't performing together during Clinton's 1992 campaign. But somehow Clinton managed to pull off a rock 'n' roll miracle for his inauguration. At the first ball to celebrate Clinton's inauguration, the band were on hand to perform the president's campaign theme song in person, according to the Clinton Digital Library. And since its use in the 1992 campaign, "Don't Stop" remained a popular song for the Democratic party through several more presidential campaigns.