November 17, 1984

Murray and Ramis

Bill Murray talked about the demise of his relationship with Harold Ramis for the first time last week.

While promoting his new movie St. Vincent on a podcast at, Murray said the 21-year split with Ramis — his longtime friend and frequent collaborator who died on Feb. 24 — happened during the making of Groundhog Day, and it was because of the film’s shooting conditions and creative differences.

Murray and Ramis met at The Second City improvisational theater in Chicago and later worked together on “The National Lampoon Radio Hour,” on television and off Broadway. Then they produced some of the most seminal comedies of the 1980s — Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989). Ramis wrote, directed or co-starred in all of them and helped make Murray a comedy icon.

“If you were able to pick our work out of our careers and throw it away, our careers would be hollow,” Murray said on Thursday.

In 1992, Ramis co-wrote and directed Groundhog Day in which Murray plays a misanthropic weatherman who lives the same day over and over until he achieves total selflessness. Hal Hinson of The Washington Post called it “the best American comedy since Tootsie.” Richard Corliss of Time listed Murray’s performance among the greatest of all time: “He can rise to romance and despair — and be wonderfully funny — all in the same day.” In 2006, the National Film Registry added the movie to its list of “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films.” Religious leaders of many faiths have lauded it as a reflection of their own spiritual beliefs.

But making the masterpiece was difficult, leading to the fracture between Murray and Ramis.

“When we did Groundhog Day, I felt like Harold had become kind of like … a mogul,” Murray said. “He was in an artic Canada goose wear behind the camera when the rest of us were freezing in front of the camera. …

“The conditions were very difficult. We shot it in Woodstock, Ill., which is colder than Chicago, because it’s a little bit further north than Chicago, because it’s out in the wind, and it was the longest winter I ever remember in my life. It lasted forever. It never ended, and it was cold, and we were outside all the time.”

Murray and Ramis also had creative differences. Murray wanted the movie to be more philosophical, while Ramis kept reminding him it was a comedy.

“In the editing, I think we had a difference of opinion,” Murray said. “We had a difference about the script, too. That gets a little personal, and that’s not for sharing with everyone. I just felt like a lot of what was in there was unnecessary. I felt like there was a lot of overwriting in it. I held Harold responsible for that.

“We disagreed about a lot of things, but that movie is a great, great, great movie.”

Of course, Murray’s erratic behavior on the set of Groundhog Day has been well documented. Murray, whose first marriage was ending, refused to work with co-writer Danny Rubin, showed up late and threw tantrums. “At times, Bill was just really irrationally mean and unavailable,” Ramis told The New Yorker in 2004.

Ramis died earlier this year of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease that involves the swelling of the blood vessels.

“It bothered me,” Murray said of their estrangement. “It just bothered me, and I know it bothered Harold, too. I know we both felt a loss and an absence. … I just didn’t know what to do.

“Then he became ill, and I thought, well, this is stupid.”

Murray visited Ramis on his deathbed — a reunion engineered by Bryan Doyle-Murray, who was also in Groundhog Day. They talked about their hometown Chicago Cubs.

“It was great,” Murray said. “It was a beautiful day, obviously.”

A few weeks later, Murray and Amy Adams presented the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. After Adams read the nominees, Murray said: “Oh, we forgot one — Harold Ramis for Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Groundhog Day.”

October 2, 1984

American League awards [1984]

The Tigers began the season 35-5. Jack Morris and Mike Witt threw no-hitters. Reggie Jackson hit his 500th home run. Phil Niekro reached 3,000 strikeouts. The White Sox beat the Brewers 7-6 in 25 innings, in eight hours, six minutes — the longest game in major league history.

Babe Ruth Award | Cal Ripken, Orioles. 27 home runs, 86 RBIs, .304 batting average, .374 on-base percentage, .510 slugging percentage, 103 runs, 37 doubles.

2. Eddie Murray, Orioles
3. Alan Trammell, Tigers

Walter Johnson Award | Dave Stieb, Blue Jays. 16-8, 2.83 ERA, 198 strikeouts and 88 walks in 267 innings, 11 complete games, 11 HBPs.

Jackie Robinson Award | Alvin Davis, Mariners. 27 home runs, 116 RBIs, .284 batting average, .391 on-base percentage, .497 slugging percentage.

Pee Wee Reese Award | Willie Hernandez, Tigers. 9-3, 1.92 ERA, 32 saves, 112 strikeouts and 36 walks in 140.1 innings.

Connie Mack Award | Sparky Anderson, Tigers. 104-58 [.642]

2. Bobby Cox, Blue Jays
3. Ralph Houk, Red Sox

Catcher | Lance Parrish, Tigers. 33 home runs, 98 RBIs, .237 batting average, .287 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage. 2. Rich Gedman, Red Sox. Best fielder | Parrish

First base | Eddie Murray, Orioles. 29 home runs, 110 RBIs, .306 batting average, .410 on-base percentage, .509 slugging percentage, 107 walks. Best fielder | Pete O’Brien, Rangers.

2. Don Mattingly, Yankees
3. Alvin Davis, Mariners
4. Kent Hrbek, Twins

Second base | Lou Whitaker, Tigers. 13 home runs, 56 RBIs, .289 batting average, .357 on-base percentage, .407 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Willie Randolph, Yankees.

Third base | Wade Boggs, Red Sox. 6 home runs, 55 RBIs, .325 batting average, .407 on-base percentage, .416 slugging percentage, 109 runs, 203 hits. 2. Buddy Bell, Rangers. Best fielder | Boggs

Shortstop | Cal Ripken, Orioles. 27 home runs, 86 RBIs, .304 batting average, .374 on-base percentage, .510 slugging percentage, 103 runs, 37 doubles. Best fielder | Ripken

2. Alan Trammell, Tigers
3. Robin Yount, Brewers

Left field | Rickey Henderson, Athletics. 16 home runs, 58 RBIs, .293 batting average, .399 on-base percentage, .458 slugging percentage, 113 runs, 66 stolen bases.

Center field | Lloyd Moseby, Blue Jays. 18 home runs, 92 RBIs, .280 batting average, .368 on-base percentage, .470 slugging percentage, 15 triples, 39 stolen bases. 2. Chet Lemon, Tigers. Best fielder | Kirby Puckett, Twins.

Right field | Dwight Evans, Red Sox. 32 home runs, 104 RBIs, .295 batting average, .388 on-base percentage, .532 slugging percentage, 121 runs, 37 doubles.

2. Kirk Gibson, Tigers
3. Dave Winfield, Yankees

Designated hitter | Mike Easler, Red Sox. 27 home runs, 91 RBIs, .313 batting average, .376 on-base percentage, .516 slugging percentage. 2. Andre Thornton, Cleveland.

Starting rotation |

1. Dave Stieb, Blue Jays.
16-8, 2.83 ERA, 198 strikeouts and 88 walks in 267 innings, 11 complete games, 11 HBPs.

2. Bert Blyleven, Cleveland. 19-7, 2.87 ERA, 170 strikeouts and 74 walks in 245 innings, 12 complete games.

3. Doyle Alexander, Blue Jays. 17-6, 3.13 ERA, 139 strikeouts and 59 walks in 261.2 innings, 12 complete games.

4. Mike Boddicker, Orioles. 20-11, 2.79 ERA, 128 strikeouts and 81 walks in 261.1 innings, 16 complete games.

5. Frank Viola, Twins. 18-12, 3.21 ERA, 149 strikeouts and 73 walks in 257.2 innings, 10 complete games.

Reliever | Willie Hernandez, Tigers. 9-3, 1.92 ERA, 32 saves, 112 strikeouts and 36 walks in 140.1 innings. 2. Dan Quisenberry, Royals.
— Kevin Brewer

National League awards [1984]

Expos first baseman Pete Rose doubled for his 4,000th hit. The Expos later traded him to the Reds, who named him their player-manager. The Padres and Atlanta had a series of beanings, close calls and two bench-clearing brawls at Fulton County Stadium on Aug. 12, resulting in 19 ejections.

Babe Ruth Award | Ryne Sandberg, Cubs. 19 home runs, 84 RBIs, .314 batting average, .367 on-base percentage, .520 slugging percentage, 114 runs, 200 hits, 36 doubles, 19 triples, 32 stolen bases.

2. Tony Gwynn, Padres
3. Keith Hernandez, Mets
4. Gary Carter, Expos
5. Tim Raines, Expos
6. Dale Murphy, Atlanta

Walter Johnson Award | Bruce Sutter, Cardinals. 6-7, 1.54 ERA, 45 saves, 77 strikeouts and 23 walks in 122.2 innings.

2. Dwight Gooden, Mets
3. Rick Rhoden, Pirates

Jackie Robinson Award | Dwight Gooden, Mets. 17-9, 2.60 ERA, 276 strikeouts and 73 walks in 218 innings. Gooden, 19, broke Herb Score’s rookie strikeout record and set the all-time record for strikeouts per nine innings (11.39).

Pee Wee Reese Award | Gary Matthews, Cubs. 14 home runs, 82 RBIs, .291 batting average, .410 on-base percentage, .428 slugging percentage, 101 runs, 103 walks, 10 sacrifice flies. 2. Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs.

Connie Mack Award | Jim Frey, Cubs. 96-65 [.596] Frey led the Cubs to their first winning season since 1972 and their first playoff appearance since 1945.

2. Davey Johnson, Mets
3. Dick Williams, Padres

Branch Rickey Award | Dallas Green, Cubs. The manager of the 1980 World Series champion Philles, Green won the division by acquiring his old players — Keith Moreland in 1981, Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa in 1982 and Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier before the season.

Catcher | Gary Carter, Expos. 27 home runs, 106 RBIs, .294 batting average, .366 on-base percentage, .487 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Tony Pena, Pirates.

First base | Keith Hernandez, Mets. 15 home runs, 94 RBIs, .311 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, .449 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Steve Garvey, Padres.

Second base | Ryne Sandberg, Cubs. 19 home runs, 84 RBIs, .314 batting average, .367 on-base percentage, .520 slugging percentage, 114 runs, 200 hits, 36 doubles, 19 triples, 32 stolen bases. Best fielder | Sandberg

Third base | Mike Schmidt, Phillies. 36 home runs, 106 RBIs, .277 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, .536 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Tim Wallach, Expos.

Shortstop | Ozzie Smith, Cardinals. 1 home run, 44 RBIs, .257 batting average, .347 on-base percentage, .337 slugging percentage, 35 stolen bases. Best fielder | Smith

Left field | Jose Cruz, Astros. 12 home runs, 95 RBIs, .312 batting average, .381 on-base percentage, .462 slugging percentage, 13 triples, 22 stolen bases, 10 sacrifice flies.

Center field | Tim Raines, Expos. 8 home runs, 60 RBIs, .309 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .437 slugging percentage, 106 runs, 38 doubles, 75 stolen bases. Best fielder | Kevin McReynolds, Padres.

2. Dale Murphy, Atlanta
3. Kevin McReynolds, Padres

Right field | Tony Gwynn, Padres. 5 home runs, 71 RBIs, .351 batting average, .410 on-base percentage, .444 slugging percentage, 213 hits, 10 triples, 33 stolen bases.

Starting rotation |

1. Dwight Gooden, Mets.
17-9, 2.60 ERA, 276 strikeouts and 73 walks in 218 innings.

2. Rick Rhoden, Pirates. 14-9, 2.72 ERA, 136 strikeouts and 62 walks in 238.1 innings, 10 wild pitches.

3. Alejandro Pena, Dodgers. 12-6, 2.48 ERA, 135 strikeouts and 46 walks in 199.1 innings, four shutouts.

4. Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs. 16-1, 2.69 ERA, 155 strikeouts and 39 walks in 150.1 innings with the Cubs. | 4-5, 5.15 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 46 walks in 94.1 innings with Cleveland. Player most similar to | Hank Borowy, the last pitcher to win 20 games while playing in both leagues.

Sutcliffe, acquired by the Cubs in a seven-player deal on June 13, helped lead them to the division title. He won the Game 1 of the NLCS but lost the deciding game.

On July 27, 1945, the Cubs acquired Borowy in a waiver deal. He was 11-2 with a 2.14 ERA down the stretch, and the Cubs won the pennant — the last time they made the playoffs. Borowy won the Game 1 of the World Series, but he lost Game 7.

5. Mario Soto, Reds. 18-7, 3.53 ERA, 185 strikeouts and 87 walks in 237.1 innings, 13 complete games.

Reliever | Bruce Sutter, Cardinals. 6-7, 1.54 ERA, 45 saves, 77 strikeouts and 23 walks in 122.2 innings.
— Kevin Brewer

September 20, 1984

The Cosby Show, sitcom father

On Thursday, Sept. 20, 1984, during the premiere of The Cosby Show, Cliff Huxtable walked into his son’s room and restored order to the sitcom. Bill Cosby played Cliff, a successful doctor and father of five, and the reason for the visit was Theo’s report card, which included four D’s. Theo, 14, said grades weren’t important, because he wasn’t going to college. He planned to graduate high school, then get a job like “regular people.”

THEO: You’re a doctor and mom’s a lawyer, and you’re both successful and everything, and that’s great. But maybe I was born to be a regular person and have a regular life. If you weren’t a doctor, I wouldn’t love you less, because you’re my dad. And so, instead of acting disappointed, because I’m not like you, maybe you can just accept who I am and love me anyway, because I’m your son.

The audience applauded, because they had been conditioned by cute sitcom kids who were smarter than their parents on series like Diff’rent Strokes and Silver Spoons. The average sitcom would have stopped there. The Cosby Show didn’t.

CLIFF: Theo, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s no wonder you get D’s in everything. Now you are afraid to try, because you’re afraid that your brain is going to explode, and it’s going to ooze out of your ear. Now I’m telling you that you are going to try as hard as you can, and you’re going to do it, because I said so. I am your father. I brought you in this world, and I’ll take you out.

Cosby’s speech was a thunderbolt. The audience cheered even louder. Cosby had wrested control of the sitcom away from the kids and handed it back to the parents.

The Cosby Show was low concept: Cliff and his wife, Clair, raise their five children — Sondra (in college), Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy — in their Brooklyn brownstone. It was about small problems — Rudy’s goldfish dies, Vanessa has nightmares, Cliff meets Denise’s new boyfriend. The series was based on Cosby’s stand-up comedy on The Tonight Show and in the concert film Bill Cosby: Himself [1983]. Cosby, who had a doctor of education degree, used the show to present his ideas about parenting. His “created by” credit read “Dr. William H. Cosby Jr., Ed.D.”

Cosby won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in its first season, and the first episode won for comedy writing. The series was No. 3 in the ratings that season and No. 1 for the next five seasons. It anchored what NBC promoted as “the best night of television on television” on Thursday nights — Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court and Hill Street Blues — and changed the fortunes of the network. Miami Vice premiered the same season, The Golden Girls the following season, then L.A. Law, then the Cosby spin-off A Different World.

The series also revived the sitcom. The season before Cosby, only seven comedies were among the top 25 shows. The season after, that number was 13. Some of them, like Growing Pains and Who’s the Boss?, featured parents who were smarter than their children.

Bill Cosby created a new model for the sitcom, one in which a stand-up comedian’s material was the idea for a new show. Roseanne, Tim Allen’s Home Improvement and Seinfeld were three of the highest-rated shows of the next decade. Ellen DeGeneres, Brett Butler, Drew Carey and Ray Ramano all scored hits, all essentially playing themselves. On Ellen, when the fictional Ellen said “I’m gay,” she was speaking for the real Ellen, too.

Cosby was America’s father. He was adamant about stressing what he called “the universality of experience.” Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair, said: “People all over the world have children. ... People all over the world want to support their children in growth and development. People all over the world are falling in love every day.”

The Cosby Show was colorblind, but the Huxtables were black — the first black family on television since the Evans on Good Times [1974-79], which was set in a Chicago housing project. On a recent Letterman appearance, Jimmie Walker, who played J.J. on Good Times, laughed at those who said both shows were unrealistic. On Good Times: “Black people don’t dance. We don’t play basketball. We don’t talk like that.” When Cosby premiered: “No, this is not real. There are no black doctors. There are no black lawyers. This is impossible.”

Which was, of course, bullshit. There were black doctors, and there were black lawyers. Near the end of Cosby’s run, Barack Obama became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

The Cosby Show was a celebration of black culture. The Huxtables lip-synched to Ray Charles and James Brown. Among the show’s guest stars were Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Howard “Sandman” Sims, B.B. King and Sammy Davis Jr., most of them playing themselves or versions of themselves. Questlove said Wonder’s appearance helped influence the sampling culture of hip hop. Denise attended Hillman, a fictional historically black college. The house featured art of Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglas and an anti-apartheid poster. Nelson Mandela, who served 27 years in a South African prison, watched Cosby with his white guard. “It softened him,” Mandela later told Rashad.

By the sixth season, it was became hip to dismiss The Cosby Show. Sut Jhally and Justin M. Lewis wrote the book Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences and the Myth of the American Dream. Cosby added Raven-Symone, another cute kid, and later teenager Erika Alexander to the show — often a sure sign of jumping the shark. The working title of Married … with Children was “Not the Cosbys.” The working-class Roseanne replaced Cosby as the No. 1 show. The Simpsons competed against Cosby on Thursday nights, and the writers’ room mantra on Seinfeld was “no hugging, no learning.” The black shows of record were In Living Color and The Arsenio Hall Show.

The series finale of Cosby aired on April 30, 1992 — the second evening of the L.A. riots. KNBC, NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate, interrupted their coverage of the riots to broadcast the one-hour episode. “Today, Mayor [Tom] Bradley urged everyone in Los Angeles to remain home, to stay off the streets. He also suggested they might want to watch The Cosby Show,” the anchor said. “He believes, and we believe we need this time [as] a cooling-off period … to remember what our Thursday nights were like before all this madness began.” Eight years after his plea to be a “regular person” and two years after he was diagnosed with dyslexia, Theo graduated from New York University. After the episode, Cosby made a taped statement: “Let us all pray that everyone from the top of the government down to the people in the streets … would all have good sense. And let us pray for a better tomorrow, which starts today.” Cosby was earnest, but his show seemed out of touch, a relic from the 1980s.

In the days after President Obama was elected in 2008, Tim Arango of The New York Times wrote: “The Cosby Show, which … depicted the Huxtables, an upwardly mobile black family — a departure from the dysfunction and bickering that had characterized some previous shows about black families — had succeeded in changing racial attitudes enough to make an Obama candidacy possible.”

Republican strategist Karl Rove: “We’ve had an African-American first family for many years in different forms. When The Cosby Show was on, that was America’s family. It wasn’t a black family. It was America’s family.”

The following year, The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac said Obama is Cliff Huxtable, because “they’re both married to hot lawyers, both work out of offices on the west side of their houses and both have unrealistically cute daughters.”

Two years ago, Saturday Night Live produced a sketch called “The Obama Show,” an Obama-Huxtable mash-up that placed Barack and Michelle Obama in the Huxtable’s Brooklyn brownstone, with Joe Biden as Theo. It played more like homage than parody, a tribute to two successful American families.

June 13, 1984

NBA awards [1983-84]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time scoring record. The Pistons beat the Nuggets 186-184 in the highest scoring game of all time. Larry Nance beat Julius Erving in the league’s first dunk contest. David Stern became the league’s fourth commissioner.

Player of the Year | Larry Bird [Celtics] 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 50.4 2-point shooting, 88.8 free throw shooting.

2. Bernard King [Knicks]
3. Magic Johnson [Lakers]
4. Adrian Dantley [Jazz]
5. Sidney Moncrief [Bucks]

Rookie of the Year | Ralph Sampson [Rockets] 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 52.4 2-point shooting, 66.1 free throw shooting, 2.4 blocks. Age [23]

Defensive Player of the Year | Alton Lister [Bucks] 1.7 blocks.

Sixth Man of the Year | Kevin McHale [Celtics] 18.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 55.7 2-point shooting, 76.5 free throw shooting.

Coach of the Year | Chuck Daly [Pistons] 49-33


Forward | Larry Bird [Celtics] 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 50.4 2-point shooting, 88.8 free throw shooting. Age [27]

Forward | Bernard King [Knicks] 26.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 57.3 2-point shooting, 77.9 free throw shooting. Age [27]

Center | Moses Malone [76ers] 22.7 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 48.5 2-point shooting, 75.0 free throw shooting. Age [28]

Point guard | Magic Johnson [Lakers] 17.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 13.1 assists, 57.9 2-point shooting, 81.0 free throw shooting. Age [24]

Guard | Sidney Moncrief [Bucks] 20.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 50.1 2-point shooting, 84.8 free throw shooting. Age [26]


Forward | Adrian Dantley [Jazz] 30.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 55.9 2-point shooting, 85.9 free throw shooting. Age [27]

Forward | Julius Erving [76ers] 22.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 51.5 2-point shooting, 75.4 free throw shooting. Age [33]

Center | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [Lakers] 21.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 57.9 2-point shooting, 72.3 free throw shooting. Age [36]

Point guard | Isiah Thomas [Pistons] 21.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 11.1 assists, 46.8 2-point shooting, 73.3 free throw shooting, 2.5 steals. Age [22]

Guard | Rolando Blackman [Mavericks] 22.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 55.0 2-point shooting, 81.2 free throw shooting. Age [24]


Forward | Mark Aguirre [Mavericks] 29.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 53.2 2-point shooting, 74.9 free throw shooting. Age [24]

Forward | Kiki Vandeweghe [Nuggets] 29.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 56.2 2-point shooting, 85.2 free throw shooting. Age [25]

Center | Robert Parish [Celtics] 19.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 54.6 2-point shooting, 74.5 free throw shooting. Age [30]

Forward | Alex English [Nuggets] 26.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 53.1 2-point shooting, 82.4 free throw shooting. Age [30]
— Kevin Brewer

January 23, 1984

campaign songs



Song | “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon Garfunkel

How it was used | It was McGovern’s campaign song.

Endorsed by the artist | Yes.

Simon and Garfunkel played two fundraisers for the Democratic presidential nominee and a “Come Home America!” benefit.


Song | “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen

How it was used | Reagan briefly used the song during his re-election campaign and at a campaign stop in Hammonton, N.J., said: “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire — New Jersey’s own, Bruce Springsteen.”

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Two nights later, at a concert in Pittsburgh, Springsteen introduced the “Johnny 99” — a song about an unemployed auto worker who turns to murder: “The President was mentioning my name the other day, and I kinda got to wondering what his favorite album must have been. I don’t think it was the Nebraska album. I don’t think he’s been listening to this one.”

Years later, on 60 Minutes, Springsteen said of Reagan’s economic policy: “In my opinion, those were failed policies. The efficiency of the economy is not the most paramount thing. A country is judged not just by its accomplishments, but by its compassion, the health and welfare of its citizens. That’s the core of its spirit.”



Song | “Gonna Fly Now” (theme from Rocky), composed by Bill Conti

How it was used | It was the campaign song for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Conti said he never heard from Mondale.


Song | “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

How it was used | It was the campaign song for the Republican presidential nominee.

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Bobby McFerrin protested the use of his song, dropping it from his concerts during the time Bush was using it. He also said he would vote against Bush.

McFerrin later released the ironic video for the song, depicting him in an oval office-like setting, reading news of a “financial meltdown,” then jumping out of a window.


Bush stopped using the song. His next choice was …

Song | “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

How it was used | Bush made the socialist folk song his second campaign theme.

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Guthrie died in 1967. Because he wrote the song in 1940, it was part of the public domain and Bush did not need permission to use it.


Song | “America” by Neil Diamond

How it was used | The son of Greek immigrants used Diamond’s ode to immigrants as his campaign anthem.

Endorsed by the artist | Unknown


Song | “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac

How it was used | It was the theme for Clinton’s campaign.

Endorsed by the artist | Yes.

Fleetwood Mac reunited to perform the song at Clinton’s inaugural ball — their first live performance since 1982.



Song | “Crazy” by Patsy Cline

How it was used | Perot announced “Crazy” as the theme song of his campaign the night before the election.

“There are millions of crazy people in this country.” he said at a rally in his hometown of Dallas. “And I’ll say tomorrow, I bet it’ll be a crazy day at the polls.”

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Patsy Cline died in 1963.

1996. BOB DOLE

Song | “Dole Man,” a re-working of “Soul Man” by Sam & Dave

How it was used | His campaign song

Endorsed by the artist | Yes, then no.

Sam Moore re-worked the song’s lyrics and even sang the new version for Dole’s campaign. But Moore didn’t write “Soul Man,” so he could not legally grant permission to use the song.

David Porter and Isaac Hayes wrote the song. “Nobody gave permission here,” Hayes said. “It also bothers me because people may get the impression that David and I endorse Bob Dole, which we don’t.”

Rondor Music International, which published the song, threatened to sue Dole for up to $100,000 each time the song was played at an event.

Dole’s campaign agreed to stop using the song.


Song | “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty

How it was used | Primary campaign appearances

Endorsed by the artist | No.

Petty and his publisher sent Bush a cease-and-desist letter. The publisher said that he use of the song “creates, either intentionally or unintentionally, the impression that you and your campaign have been endorsed by Tom Petty, which is not true.”

Petty played the song at Al Gore’s home the night the Vice President gave his concession speech.

Song | “We the People” by Billy Ray Cyrus

How it was used | General election appearances, Republican National Convention.

Endorsed by the artist | Yes, but …

Cyrus and Monument Records offered the song to both the Bush and Gore campaigns for use, partly to promote his upcoming album. Bush accepted.

But Cyrus, a “lifelong” Democrat who performed at Clinton campaign events in 1992, later had second thoughts: “It’s struck me as different, because it’s a working people’s song, y’know, and I’ve never really thought of the Republicans as the party of the working people. Am I wrong?”

Ron Cyrus — Billy Ray’s father and an 11-term Kentucky congressman and union leader — said: “That is a Democrat Song.”