Bill Clinton repays a favor to Fleetwood Mac at MusiCares ceremony

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Their 1977 song “Don’t Stop” helped power Bill Clinton into the White House in 1992, and on Friday it was the former U.S. president doing the honors for Fleetwood Mac.

Clinton presented Fleetwood Mac with statuettes as the 2018 MusicCares honorees, making them the first band to win the annual award given to a musician for creative achievements and charitable work.

Clinton chose the British-American band’s single “Don’t Stop” as the theme song for his 1992 presidential campaign, helping to revive their popularity and encouraging the fractious soft rock band to reunite for his inaugural ball in 1993.

“They let me use it as a theme song and I have been trying to live by it ever since,” Clinton told the audience at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

“I owe a great deal to all of them,” he added.

At the concert and ceremony on Friday, Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Keith Urban, Harry Styles and Juanes were among musicians across genres to perform their own interpretations of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits over a 50-year career.

Band members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham ended the three-hour celebration by taking to the stage to perform “Go Your Own Way” and “Little Lies.”

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Fleetwood Mac formed in London in 1967 and went on to become one of the best-selling bands in the world, with more than 100 million records sold, including Grammy-winning 1977 album “Rumours” and hit singles “Songbird,” “Rhiannon” and “Dreams.”

After romantic and creative tensions, some members going solo and several changes of line-up, Fleetwood, McVie, Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie put their differences behind them and reunited in 2014 for the first time since 1998, and embarked on a sell-out world tour.

“Fleetwood Mac is well known for being a dysfunctional family... and it was certainly much of the fuel for our material,” said Buckingham.

“But what we are feeling really more now than ever in our career is love,” he added.

Proceeds from the annual MusiCares gala support members of the music industry in times of financial and medical need.

Friday’s event, held two days before the Grammy Awards, raised some $7 million for MusiCares, Recording Academy chairman Neil Portnow said.

Previous recipients include Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.

Editing by Nick Macfie