The Rock and Roll Beat: Musicians and White House Related Events


Exhibit Description

This online exhibit contains photos and documents from the Clinton Digital Library highlighting some of the most popular musical artists of the 20th Century. Featured artists include Fleetwood Mac, U2, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie. Growing up, President Clinton loved music, especially Rock and Roll of the ’50’s and ’60’s. As President, he once stated that “one of the nice things about being President was that nearly anyone would come perform for him.” President Clinton delighted in meeting and getting to know the talented musicians of his generation.

Curriculum Connections

Arkansas Department of Education Standards

Activity Suggestions

Student should review the Rock and Roll Beat exhibit before completing any of the following assignments. Students may work in groups or individually.

Option One

President Clinton chose Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” as the theme of his presidential campaign and played the song at campaign rallies and events. Students can review campaign songs used by past presidents, presidential candidates, or representative candidates and talk about why or why not the songs would have been a good choice.

Teacher resource: http://traxonthetrail.com/teachers

Extension Activity/Informed Action Component:

  • Students work separately or in groups to write their own campaign songs. The songs can use existing melodies or the students can create their own. The lyrics of the song should relate to their presidential campaign goals.
  • Each student or team researches a local or state politician’s campaign to determine the campaign goals. Based on these goals, students will write a campaign song for their candidate.

Option Two

Musicians of many different backgrounds and genres of work were invited to the Clinton White House. Students will research and discuss why some of the artists would have been invited and how the public may have responded.

Extension Activity/Informed Action Component:

  • Students will choose who they think should be invited to the current White House. Why should this artist  or band be invited? Would this artist be considered controversial? What does the student think they should perform? Students can write letters to the White House to formally recommend this artist as a guest.