Here’s how you can play along at home:
Getting In On the Bill Clinton Album Challenge Is Easy
First, navigate over to the Bill Clinton Swag website.
Once you’re there, click on one of the four blank albums in the Clinton photo. A search bar will appear which will allow you to search a huge bank of album covers.
After you complete the photo with four album covers, hit the ‘Generate Swag’ button. From there, you can save your photo or even put it on a t-shirt.
The Game Has Been Around Since 2012
The website Bill Clinton Swag has been around since 2012. According to Know Your Meme, the original version of the photoshopped image comes from The Onion. The satirical newspaper published an article titled, “Clinton Writes a Fan Letter to Joan Jett.” In the original photo, Clinton was holding a copy of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ I Love Rock & Roll. Know Your Meme says the image first appeared as a meme on 4Chan in September 2012. Bill Clinton Swag launched in October 2012, the brainchild of Canadian engineer Thomas Millar, according to Know Your Meme. In May 2013, the meme was featured in a Buzzfeed article.
The Clinton challenge has many similarities to the “Chandler holding your fav album” challenge. In that challenge, as Chandler from Friends sits clutching an album following his break-up from Janice in season three. That challenge allows users to insert their favorite album into Matthew Perry’s arms. For the record, Chandler was holding a copy of Lionel Richie’s 1982 album, “Endless Love.”
The Clinton challenge shows the former president sitting cross-legged in a suit but with no shoes on wearing headphones. The former president is holding a record while three other records are scattered around the floor.
Clinton Has Counted Musicians as Varied as Van Morrison, John Coltrane & Joan Baez Among His Favorite Artists
At the time of writing, neither Clinton nor the Clinton Foundation has responded to the challenge. In August 2005, the Clinton Foundation began selling a CD of Clinton’s favorite songs as part of a fundraising effort. Some of the songs included on the album were John Coltrane’s “My One and Only Love,” Miles Davis’ “My Funny Valentine” and Zoot Sims’ “Summertime,” Billboard reported at the time.
In October 2011, Clinton released a list of his favorite songs of all time. That list included the songs “The Town I Loved So Well” by Phil Coulter, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” and Joan Baez’s “Winds of the Old Days.” Irish singer Van Morrison was once a guest of Clinton’s White House.
Interestingly, a song not included on the list was Clinton’s 1992 campaign theme song, “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac from the band’s album “Rumors.” As comedian John Mulaney noted of the song choice in 2015, “[It was] an album written by and for people cheating on one another. He let us know who he was right away.”
Amid the hysteria created by the Clinton challenge, the former president wrote an op-ed in The Oklahoman newspaper on April 19, 2020, the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Clinton cited the spirit of the people of Oklahoma City following the devastating bombing as an inspiration for how people should support each other during the coronavirus pandemic.