Thursday, September 04, 2008


With the political conventions finally almost over, a recent 10 second foray into singing by one of the candidates has inspired this blog. In case you missed it, last week while giving a speech in Detroit and with Aretha Franklin in the crowd, Senator Barack Obama veered off script to sing a couple of lines to Aretha.

I’m not sure if he was just paying homage to her, keeping his vocal chords loose for a long day of speech making, suggesting a re-write (Chain, chain, Chaaaange) or commenting on all the speeches being given in Minneapolis this week by the gang who bring you Paris Hilton’s wrinkly old dude and his “any skirt will do” running mate. But hearing those two lines brought me right back to Clay Aiken. Those of you reading this are probably thinking “doesn’t everything?” Well, yes. That or chocolate.

Thankfully, Clay allows recording of his concerts so I was able to dive into youtube to find this green eyed soul version that he sang in 2004 with his longtime back ground singer, the incomparable Quiana Parler.

I’ll bet he was thinking about the tabloids or the record label that have basically created a Harvard Business Review case study on how not to manage the career of a talented singer (With a special award in horrendous single selection) when he sings the line "Chain of Fools". It seems funny to see the Clay of four years ago with the spikey hair, the shirts that were too big for him, the body that had not yet filled out like it is now. But there is nothing like concert Clay. There is no opportunity for concerts this year with a full schedule of Spamalotin’, album poppin’ and Ambassador country hoppin’. Not to mention Aiken baby makin’. And we’re getting Spamalotin’ Act II in two weeks.

Clay is a self proclaimed news junkie and has shown himself to be very well versed in politics so I would imagine he’s watched TV a lot this month. I think he would actually make an effective public servant with his intelligence, his grasp of issues, his compassionate and almost obsessive drive to helping children and his charisma with a microphone. But at the same time, I don’t think his desire for privacy and his likely unwillingness to deal with the mud slinging are a good fit for hitting the campaign trail. He said he can still be effective as a children’s advocate through UNICEF, although that won’t necessarily foster (small “f”) change here in the US. But awareness is always the most important first step.

Then again, when is Elizabeth Dole retiring from her North Carolina Senate seat?

Although Clay has not publicly endorsed anyone (nor do I expect him to as he has said politics is divisive), another stroll through youtube finds that many fans of Clay’s as well as supporters of both candidate have made some interesting montages to Clay’s music. Here’s an especially nice one from an Obama supporter about helping fellow man/woman/child. Clay has commented that this song reminded him of some of his UNICEF trips as well.

Side note: I also found this great 1990 grainy rendition by Lou Gramm of Foreigner singing Chain of Fools in a live performance.

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Anonymous said...

Great Blog. Yup there is nothing like Concert Clay and though we won't get to see/hear concert Clay this year I know we will in 2009.

Particularly loved this...

"But there is nothing like concert Clay. There is no opportunity for concerts this year with a full schedule of Spamalotin’, album poppin’ and Ambassador country hoppin’. Not to mention Aiken baby makin’. And we’re getting Spamalotin’ Act II in two weeks."

Invisible926 said...

Nice blog. I enjoyed the old clip of Clay singing Chain of Fools. I can see why that song may be on people's minds these days.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I can't wait to see Clay Aiken in concert again.

Anonymous said...

Loved the videos!

I love Clay Aiken!!!

Janarama said...

Clay Aiken sure can rock out in a live performance, can't he? It actually looked like they were having fun up there! I don't know about the chances of seeing him in politics- but seeing him in concert or on any stage is always entertaining! Thanks for the blog and videos!

pandarose said...

Love concert clay. That was a great performance.

Ashes said...

Great blog! Love the videos, and interesting topic. Many Canadians are very interested in following the debates and happenings. I even saw Obama singing.

Anonymous said...

Wow--great find on the Lou Gramm/Foreigner video! That was sure a blast from the past--takes me back.
Love the Clay clip too--that particular performance rates right up there my favorites file. That growly voice he does when singing this song does something to my girly parts! =)

dee said...

Never would I have thought that a blog would have clips of Barack Obama , Clay Aiken and Lou Gramm singing Chain of Fools . Grainy or not , the Lou Gramm clip was the icing on the cake . Foreigner has been a favorite of mine for years .

Good blog !

Anonymous said...

Not to politicize things, but I bet Clay like hearing Sarah Palin say that mothers of special needs children will have a friend in her. I immediately thought of the Bubel-Aiken Foundation.

Carolina Clay said...


Great blog! I thought I had seen everything from both parties in the past two weeks, but I missed the "Chain ... Chain ... Change!" Way to go, Barack Obama!

Also, awesome to replay Clay Aiken's performance in Charlotte and the 1990 Foreigner rendition. Fan montages with OMWH songs have been outstanding.


katy said...

Good blog with these links to the videos. I never caught the Chain Chain Change..... Great!! I prefer Clay Aiken's version, though.