Friday, June 11, 2010

Stop The Music! Artists Demand GOPers Quit Playing Their Hits

If stereotypes held true, you would think that the Republicans would be the ones telling folks to turn that blasted music down. But this year -- and indeed in many past election cycles -- it's the GOP that has been attracting cease-and-desist letters for pilfering music against the artists' wishes. So let's take a look at some of the more notable GOP music fails from this cycle, and cycles past.

Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R-CA) got burned for using for using altered-lyric version of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" for his campaign's Web ads. David Byrne is suing Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) for using "Road To Nowhere" in a Web ad during his previous Republican Senate primary fight, and of course, as we reported yesterday, Rush cut to the chase and told Senate nominee Rand Paul (R-KY) to stop playing "Tom Sawyer" and "The Spirit of Radio."

The Orleans song "Still The One" has a special place in politics as it has been used not once without the band's permission, but twice -- and the first instance contributed to its author's entrance into national politics. In 2004, the Bush campaign used the song at a rally. As the song's main author, John Hall, told MSNBC in 2008: "George Bush was busy campaigning on an 'ownership society,' yet never asked me, the band, or the publishers for permission." Hall and other stakeholders in the song quickly sent a cease-and-desist letter, and the Bush campaign dropped the song.

In 2006, Hall went on to be elected to Congress as a Democrat, defeating an incumbent Republican -- an event that was spurred in part by his experience from 2004. "It was one of the things that got him even madder," Hall press secretary Tom Staudter told TPMDC. And then in 2008, the Republicans used the song yet again, this time the ill-fated John McCain campaign. "This is yet another example of John McCain not learning anything from George Bush's mistakes," Hall told MSNBC, also adding: "The only one John McCain is Still the One for is George Bush."

But that was only the tip of the iceberg for the McCain campaign -- which was practically a walking Limewire setup. Jackson Browne also sued it for using his song "Running On Empty" in an ad, for which the two sides later reached an out-of-court settlement. Van Halen objected to McCain's use of their song "Right Now" at a rally. The Wilson sisters from Heart strenuously objected to his campaign's use of "Barracuda" to promote Sarah Palin. And finally, the McCain campaign used "Pink Houses" and "Our Country" by John Mellencamp, who sent a letter demanding that they stop.

No comments: