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America’s 30th vice president has the distinction of being the only man who was both a heartbeat away from the presidency and the composer of a song that hit the top of the pop music charts. Charles Dawes, a descendant of Revolutionary War figure William Dawes (who, along with Paul Revere, made a midnight ride on April 18, 1775, to warn that the British were coming), served as vice president under Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929. In 1911, Dawes, then a Chicago banker and self-taught amateur musician, penned a tune that would become known as “Melody in A Major.” After one of Dawes’ musician friends brought the instrumental number to a publisher, it went on to be performed by a leading violinist of the time, Fritz Kreisler, and was sold as a phonograph record. In 1951, Carl Sigman added lyrics to Dawes’ tune, which was renamed “It’s All in the Game.” Seven years later, in 1958, a recording of the song by R&B-pop vocalist Tommy Edwards climbed to No. 1 in the U.S. and Britain. “It’s All in the Game” eventually was covered by such entertainers as Van Morrison, Elton John, Merle Haggard and Barry Manilow. Although Dawes didn’t live to see the success of “It’s All in the Game”—the former vice president died in 1951 at age 85—he did rack up a number of other achievements during his lifetime, including the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize, which he was awarded for the Dawes Plan, a reparations payment plan for Germany following World War I.
None of Dawes’ vice-presidential successors have followed in his steps as a hit maker, but modern holders of that office do have an official song: “Hail, Columbia.” Composed in the late 18th century, it served as an unofficial national anthem before “The Star-Spangled Banner” was formally adopted as America’s national anthem in 1931. Later, “Hail, Columbia” started being played to honor the vice president.
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The history behind Kamala Harris' new vice presidential residence
Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, are ready to put their personal stamp on a 128-year-old house that seven former vice presidents have called home.
The vice president and second gentleman are moving into the official residence of the vice president this week after having waited more than two months while the Queen Anne-style house was being renovated.
The white house at Number One Observatory Circle in northwest Washington, D.C., which is not open to the public like portions of the White House, is an often overlooked property that has been the residence of vice presidents and their families for 44 years.
Which U.S. vice president wrote a No. 1 pop song? - HISTORY
It's All In The Game
This is the only #1 hit ever written by a US Vice President. It was composed in 1911 by then-banker Charles Gates Dawes, who became VP under Calvin Coolidge in 1925. The lyrics were added in 1951 by the Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman, who also changed the song's name to 'It's All in the Game.' In The Carl Sigman Songbook, Sigman's son Michael writes:
"The most interesting story-behind-a-song saga in Carl's career began with a phone call from a publisher. For years Carl had thought about writing a lyric for a tune he remembered from his classical training. 'The Dawes Melody,' or 'Melody in A Major,' was a classical violin and orchestra piece composed in 1911 by none other than Charles G. Dawes, later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. Dawes composed the piece in a single piano sitting. 'It's just a tune that I got in my head, so I set it down,' he told an interviewer.
He played it for a friend, the violinist Francis MacMillan, who liked it enough to show it to a publisher, and Dawes was officially a composer. The tune garnered some popularity when Jascha Heifetz used it for a time as a light concert encore. Early in 1951, Carl decided to try and write a lyric to the theme, believing that it was in the public domain, as free of complications as an old Mozart melody. He knew the two-octave range would be a problem, but figured he could fool around with the melody, take out the high notes and make it more singable. By sheer coincidence, Warner Brothers publishing executive Mac Goldman called one day to ask Carl to consider writing a lyric to 'The Dawes Melody,' the copyright for which, it turned out, was owned by Warners.
Once Carl recovered from the news that the song was in fact already copyrighted, he rejiggered the tune and realized that a phrase from another song he was working on, a conversational phrase he'd plucked from the vernacular, was perfect for this tune. Once he plugged that title into its proper place, the lyrics to 'It's All In the Game,' to quote Carl, 'wrote themselves.'
Many a tear has to fall but it's all in the game
All in the wonderful game that we know as love
You have words with him and your future's looking dim
But these things your hearts can rise above
Once in a while he won't call but it's all in the game
Soon he'll be there at your side with a sweet bouquet
And he'll kiss your lips and caress your waiting fingertips
And your hearts will fly away
Carl also wrote this never-recorded intro, to be sung prior to 'Many a Tear. '
Where love's concerned
At times you'll think your world has overturned
But if he's yours, and if you're his
Unfortunately, the vice president never got to hear the lyric. On the day Carl handed in the finished assignment, Dawes died of a heart attack, prompting Mac Goldman to quip, 'Your lyric must have killed him.'"
After "It's All in the Game" hit, Edwards' fortunes declined to the point of MGM Records getting ready to drop him in 1958. As a last-ditch effort to save his career, he agreed to re-record this as one of the first stereo singles ever released. He kept the vocal style of the 1951 hit, but used a doo-wop arrangement. The single quickly took the top position on the charts and became one of the biggest hits of the '50s.
As a followup, Edwards re-recorded "Morning Side of the Mountain" and his minor 1952 hit "Please Mr. Sun" in the same stereo/doo-wop vein and released them as a single. "Please Mr. Sun" (the A-side) hit #11 and "Morning Side of the Mountain" (the B-side) reached #27.
Kamala Harris becomes 1st sitting vice president to march in Pride parade
Vice President Kamala Harris walked in the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, making history as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event.
Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff walked and waved, wearing graphic T-shirts that read “Love is love” and “Love first.” Harris greeted those around her with declarations of “Happy Pride!”
The @SecondGentleman and I stopped by Capital Pride today! pic.twitter.com/vjx1k9DD5z
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 12, 2021
During the march, Harris delivered brief remarks to the crowd, advocating for the Senate to pass the Equality Act. The bill, passed by the House of Representatives in February, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We celebrate all of the accomplishments, but we need to pass the Equality Act,” Harris said. “We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need, still, protections around employment and housing. There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.”
The Biden-Harris administration has brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront of its agenda. One of the president’s first executive orders called for an end to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Biden also reversed his predecessor’s ban on transgender people serving in the military and restored transgender health protections. Earlier this month he issued a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, vowing to fight for equality for the LGBTQ community.
Harris’s emphasis on the work that needs to be done reflects the reality that LGBTQ rights are still uncertain in many states. This year has seen a historic number of state legislative attempts to push back on LGBTQ protections, including those covering transgender people. So far, more than 250 such bills have been introduced in state legislatures, and 17 have been enacted into law.
A day after the march, Harris released a video on Instagram emphasizing her dedication to fighting for the LGBTQ community. “LGBTQ Americans, I want you to know: We see you. We hear you,” she wrote in the caption. “President Joe Biden and I will not rest until everyone has equal protection under the law. Happy #Pride.”
Rapper Eminem released this song with its accompanying video on Oct. 24, 2004, to encourage young people to vote against George W. Bush. While the song is a generalized attack on the Bush presidency, most of the specific complaints are related to the Iraq War. "Mosh" appears on the album "Encore," which earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album.
The accompanying video for "Mosh" is animated and uses multiple direct references to the Bush administration. The last scene shows a crowd entering a voter registration site. After the 2004 presidential election, a second version of the video was released in which the crowd enters the U.S. Capitol during Bush's State of the Union speech. At the end of the clip Vice President Dick Cheney suffers a heart attack.
Kamala Harris' Niece Pens Powerful Essay on the Vice President-Elect's Lesson on Ambition
To us, she's Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. To Meena Harris, she's aunt.
It's been mere days since the senator from Calif. was declared a historic winner in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, making her the first woman and first Black and South Asian-American to become vice president. In an essay penned for Elle, Meena—a mother of two daughters and author of the children's book, Ambitious Girl—reflected on the woman her aunt is and the example she has set for girls today and generations to come.
Speaking of Kamala's walk-out song—Mary J. Blige's "Work That"—Meena wrote, "This song is an ode to the type of woman my grandma raised my aunt, my mom, and me to be. There's a word for this type of woman: ambitious. And I want my daughters, and every other girl in the world, to understand that this word describes something powerful and good."
"As I've gotten older," Meena continued, "I've come to realize that not everyone sees ambition the same way my family does. In the Harris household, ambition means courage. It means living your purpose. But to a whole lot of other people, ambition—women's ambition, that is—is code for taking up space that wasn't intended to be yours."
Whether it's "ambition" or the word's "evil stepsisters"—"loud, assertive, bossy, persistent"—Meena called for such labels to be reclaimed.
Presidents & VPs / Sessions of Congress
3 Resigned Dec. 28, 1832, to become United States Senator
11 First Vice President nominated by the President and confirmed by the Congress pursuant to the 25th amendment to the Constitution took the oath of office on Dec. 6, 1973 in the Hall of the House of Representatives
13 Nominated to be Vice President by President Gerald R. Ford on Aug. 20, 1974 confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 10, 1974 confirmed by the House and took the oath of office on Dec. 19, 1974 in the Senate Chamber
Presley was drafted into the military in 1958. He served for two years before returning to a country that was on the brink of change. Nixon disappeared around the same time, having lost his first bid for the presidency in 1960 to John F. Kennedy before falling short in the California gubernatorial election of 1962.
Presley spent much of the s working in Hollywood, while Nixon lived and worked in New York. The former vice president seized on the backlash to the civil rights reforms passed under Lyndon B. Johnson and the fracturing of the Democratic Party in a surprise second bid for the White House in 1968. This time, he was successful, bringing out what he termed the “silent majority” of scared white suburbanites who craved law and order.
By this point, Presley had begun to identify with this cohort. As he worked on movies, rock music had begun to pass him by, as Bob Dylan introduced protest folk into the genre, The Beatles and the British Wave used the Sullivan catapult to rocket to fame, and the counterculture took root with young people across the nation. By comparison, Presley seemed old and dated his movies were seen as corny and his ballads increasingly irrelevant. When he made his own big comeback in 1968 with a televised special, his audience was more parents than their screaming teenagers.
“He’s older, and he’s understanding responsibilities and he’s seeing the counterculture that’s a byproduct of something that maybe he didn’t totally start, but he was certainly a leader,” his friend Jerry Schilling said in a 2016 interview, explaining Presley’s transformation. “Now it’s starting to promote things that he didn’t like, professionally and publicly. Let’s face it, the music was drug-influenced. He did not like seeing people walk on the stage with torn jeans back then. He thought if you’re doing a show, you should look like a showman. He came from a different time. He was a pioneer.”
Presley had always been fascinated with police officers, from the time he was a child up through his final years at Graceland. In the 1960s, he spent lots of time with the police in Memphis, donating to the police department and enjoying endless hours at the station. “I don’t care where he was, whenever he saw the police, Elvis always stopped and talked to them,” a patrolman named Jim Hammers once said. ”He would drive up beside them in the street and get them to pull over. He would spend hours at a time talking with them in different places.”
He also collected police badges from around the country during his travels and was a firearm fanatic, owning a massive collection of guns and rifles. In fact, it was these twin obsessions that wound up driving Presley to request a meeting with Nixon.
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Inauguration Musical Performances Are Tricky. But Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks Did Exactly What We Needed Them to Do
W hen Lady Gaga, the first performer at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, stepped toward the podium to sing, everything about her&mdashthat tropical-red pouf of a skirt, the colossal golden dove perched on her shoulder, that milkmaid from MoMA hairdo&mdashwas a celebratory announcement: Welcome to the modern age! Though the road ahead is rocky, we no longer need to live in dread. Gaga, living completely in the moment, had arrived to point the way toward the future.
Inauguration musical performances, in their need to balance solemnity with jubilation, are always tricky propositions. But the Biden-Harris performances&mdashfrom Gaga, J. Lo and Garth Brooks, performers from disparate backgrounds and different disciplines&mdashstruck a note unlike any we&rsquove previously heard. Let&rsquos call it a sigh of relief building to a cheer of exaltation. Even the cloud-strewn blue of the Washington sky seemed keyed to the moment, and to this particular event, taking place in a spot where just two weeks ago a bunch of clumsy, if dangerous, insurrectionists took a run at democracy and failed.
Jennifer Lopez was the centerpiece performer, but let&rsquos talk about her first: emerging in all-white Chanel, she projected the confidence of a woman who has worked her way to the top of her game. White, as everyone likes to note, is one of the colors of the suffragettes, but it&rsquos also the color of working people (in machine-washable cotton) and the color of luxury (in dry-clean-only silk and wool). In this remarkable high-low J. Lo outfit&mdashreplete with a snowy jabot, possibly a nod to the garb of our founding fathers&mdashLopez sang a remarkable song, &ldquoThis Land Is Your Land.&rdquo It was written in 1940 by Woody Guthrie, allegedly in a shabby hotel room just outside of Times Square&mdashnot on the 6, but close enough.
For Lopez to sing this song&mdasha protest anthem but also an irrefutable declaration of belonging&mdashwith so much conviction and boldness is to bring Guthrie&rsquos intent and his dream full circle. This is an America he couldn&rsquot have imagined, so terrible in some ways, yet so radiant in others. Here is where Woody in his work shirt meets a dazzling Latina artist from the Bronx who represents, not just in terms of any monetary success but in her sheer awesomeness, everything that an individual is free to strive toward in America. Lopez&rsquos version of the song wasn&rsquot a reclamation&mdashyou can&rsquot reclaim something that already belongs to you. And as she segued into the song we sometimes think of as our second national anthem, &ldquoAmerica the Beautiful,&rdquo she reaffirmed that sense of ownership and pride. In a breakout moment she shouted out, in Spanish, words that translate into “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” But you didn&rsquot need to speak the language to know what she meant.
She was a tough act to follow, and the guy who drew the short straw was Garth Brooks. Sure enough, walking out stiffly in his pressed jeans and cowboy hat, how could he be, after the heroic glamour of J. Lo and Gaga, anything but a disappointment?
And then he began to sing, a version of &ldquoAmazing Grace&rdquo that he spun out with deep tenderness, as if he were holding a nest full of baby birds in his hands. Democracy, as the late John Lewis told us, is not a state but an act&mdashit is something to be nurtured. Country music, Ray Charles and Charley Pride notwithstanding, is generally unfriendly to people of color, perhaps not by design but definitely out of habit. Yet it&mdashlike the blues, like jazz, like rock &rsquon&rsquo roll&mdashis part of who we are and where we&rsquove been. And to hear Brooks sing this song&mdashits words written by a white clergyman, though it took on even greater power when it was adopted as a Black spiritual&mdashwith such care and modesty opened the door to a new world of possibility and hope. That he invited everyone&mdasheven those of us at home, which was most of us&mdashto sing the final verse was yet another kind of reaching out. As Republican Senator Roy Blunt pointed out after the performance, it was hard not to recall another version of this song: the time Barack Obama, spontaneously and, with a capella bravery, launched into it during the funeral service for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, killed in the Charleston shooting of 2015. And now it became clear that when Brooks stepped up to the podium in his neat but ordinary clothes, his intention was seemingly to deflect attention from himself and draw it forward to the song itself. This was an act of humility.
All of this, of course, came late in the ceremony, after Lady Gaga had made her own offering to the proceedings, a cover version of the world&rsquos most unsingable song, &ldquoThe Star-Spangled Banner.&rdquo Damn this song! With its anti-democratic intervals, it&rsquos not made for ordinary people to sing. But Gaga is no ordinary person. Those who are invited to sing at inaugurations&mdashamong the greatest of them were Marian Anderson and Aretha Franklin&mdashare vested with a special responsibility. What would Gaga, in her gorgeous yet out-there Maison Schiaparelli outfit&mdashan ensemble that, like J. Lo&rsquos, reminded us that elegance with imagination is the best, maybe the only, kind&mdashdo with our weird but also oddly stirring national song?
The result was audacious and passionate and a little wild, as if the idea of patriotism (the true kind) had been beamed from Earth to Mars and back again, as a kind of test. Then she reached the line about Old Glory continuing to wave valiantly, having survived bloody battle and hardship&mdasha line that should be corny, but that still stops my heart if it&rsquos sung the right way. Just as she sang, &ldquoBut our flag was still there,&rdquo she turned and, astonishingly, with a sweep of the arm straight out of Puccini or Verdi or Bizet, directed our attention to the actual flag. Her intent wasn&rsquot just a subtext. It was a shout of jubilation and defiance. After all of this, our flag is still there! And how dare anyone even try to mess with it. Just two weeks ago, at this very site, a group of irritable, willfully misinformed self-styled militants sought to replace that flag with one emblazoned not with stars and stripes but with one man&rsquos name. Angry at the sense that the world was moving beyond them, they had no idea that it had long ago moved past them. And now Lady Gaga sings not for them, but for us, for everybody who chooses, with fortitude and optimism, to move forward into the modern age, in our cowboy hats, our hard-won Chanel, and our shocking-raspberry ballgowns. Come as you are&mdashbut definitely come.
America, by Neil Diamond
Christopher Polk / Getty Images
With lyrics like "Everywhere around the world, they're coming to America," Neil Diamond's "America" was practically begging to become a campaign song, and in 1988 it did. Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis adopted it as his own.