Chaka Khan, Lorrie Morgan Singing At Republican Convention

Philadelphia International acts Delfonics, Blue Notes also playing hometown event; label co-founder Kenny Gamble will speak.

They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and a national political convention is one of the few places you'll see soul legend Chaka Khan on the same bill as country singer Lorrie Morgan.

Khan and Morgan are only two of the mostly R&B and country performers who'll be entertaining delegates and politicians at the Republican National Convention, which opened Monday (July 31) at the First Union Center in Philadelphia. Morgan will sing the national anthem at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday, while Khan will close the convention with a performance at 10 p.m. the same day.

"This isn't a political endorsement by any means," Khan's publicist, Glenna Dailey, said. "She's also going to be playing the Democratic convention in August."

Also on the Republican roster are Philadelphia International Records groups the Delfonics, whose hits included 1968's "La La Means I Love You" (RealAudio excerpt) and 1970's "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," and the Blue Notes, formerly Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Harold Melvin, who died in 1997, and his group, which included singer Teddy Pendergrass, had a huge hit in 1972 with "If You Don't Know Me By Now."

Following the Delfonics' and the Blue Notes' performances, between 7 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, will be a speech by Philadelphia International co-founder and songwriter Kenny Gamble, who will talk about urban renewal. Gamble wrote such classics as "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money."

Also performing will be blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughan at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, pop singer Jon Secada at 9 p.m. Wednesday and patriotic country singer Lee Greenwood at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., will take the stage with his rock band, Regular Joe, at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Scarborough, 37, a representative since 1994, has been playing in a band since he was in college, according to a spokesperson.

Republican convention organizers asked Scarborough to play the event, Dan McFaul, the representative's campaign manager, said.

"He said they wanted to get some more entertainment in there to appeal to a younger crowd," McFaul said. "Regular Joe's music is alternative rock, somewhere along the lines of the Smashing Pumpkins."

Scarborough plays guitar, bass and keyboards and writes all the band's music, McFaul said. "I'm 28, and he keeps up on current music better than I do," he added.

Ten-year-old New Mexico singer Mari Griego, who has been performing country, mariachi and pop music since she was 5, sang the national anthem Monday night. It wasn't her first time tackling the song in front of a huge crowd; she sang it at a University of New Mexico Lobos basketball game when she was 7.