Liberal Rock Stars to McCain-Palin Campaign: Stop Using Our Songs

Sep 7, 2008 10:52am

The McCain-Palin jukebox options are shrinking.

The latest rockers to tell the Republicans to cease spinning their albums are the women from Heart, who were chagrined to hear their song "Barracuda" play at the Republican convention as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hit the stage. Palin, a star high school basketball point guard, was nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda." The official Heart website states

that "Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart have informed the McCain/Palin Campaign that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to not use one of Heart’s classic songs ‘Barracuda,’ as the congratulatory theme for Sarah Palin. The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the Republican campaign not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."

And on Entertainment Weekly’s website

the Wilson sisters add that "Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there."

This is not the first time a liberal rock star has asked McCain to stop spinning his or her tunes.

In February, John Mellencamp

had his publicist Bob Merlis write the McCain campaign to suggest it might be better if McCain stopped playing "Our Country" at McCain rallies, given Mellencamp’s liberal views and endorsement of former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC.

"Are you sure you want to use his music to promote Senator McCain’s efforts?" asked Merlis in his letter. "Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment, were they to be circulated widely." Merlis told reporters that Mellencamp was uncomfortable with McCain using his music.

In August, Jackson Browne sued McCain and the Ohio GOP sued McCain and the Ohio Republican Party for the Ohio GOP’s use of his song "Running on Empty" in an attack ad against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Browne’s attorney, Lawrence Iser, told the Los Angeles Times that the McCain campaign was also named in the suit because they believe "McCain and his campaign were well aware of the ad."

Van Halen also took issue with the McCain campaign’s use of the song "Right Now" during its Dayton, Ohio, rally where Palin was introduced to the American people as McCain’s running mate. MTV news reported

that "Van Halen’s members aren’t too happy about it. According to the band’s publicist, the members had no idea McCain was going to use their song as his entrance theme and were never approached by McCain’s camp for permission to use the track. ‘Had they asked, permission would not have been granted,’" Van Halen’s publicist said. A similar situation played out in 2000, with Mellencamp, Sting and others expressing chagrin that then-Gov. George W. Bush was using their songs to fire up supporters.

– jpt

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