Following Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin’s introduction to the world, some have taken to calling her Sarah "Barracuda" Palin, which apparently presented an opportunity that the McCain/Palin Campaign could not pass up. At some point during the course of the Republican National Committee’s big to-do in St. Paul that ended last night, someone made the decision to play Heart’s hit track "Barracuda."
This was no doubt a tribute to the tough-as-nails reputation that Sarah Palin seems to be inspiring among her supporters, but Heart’s Nancy Wilson surely cannot be counted among them. In a statement from the fair-haired half of rock’s enduring sisters, Wilson said, "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 publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."
This is strikingly familiar to the reaction of fellow rockers Van Halen when they learned that one of their songs, "Right Now" was also used during a recent McCain campaign event.
It’s not clear exactly which members of the group were offended by the use of their material, although former frontman Sammy Hagar, a well known Republican supporter, said he had no problem with it at all.
Apparently, the protest from Nancy Wilson fell upon deaf ears at the RNC, and "Barracuda" was used yet again during the finale of the event when Palin joined McCain onstage after his acceptance speech. This, as one might expect, did not sit particularly well with either of the Wilson sisters.
In a statement crafted by both Wilson sisters following the second use of their song, they said "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."
I must confess that I did not expect the Presidential campaign to provide so much fodder for those of us who follow the classic rock scene. Although I admit it is a bit selfish on my part, I am rather enjoying all these squabbles over the use of various songs from some very well known classic rock artists.
So far, I have yet to hear word of any complaints from right-leaning rockers out there about any use of their material by the Obama campaign. I suppose there are a number of possible explanations for this. Maybe I just didn’t hear about it. Perhaps the Obama campaign did not use any material that originated with conservative artists or perhaps conservative artists don’t make as big a fuss over the use of their material.
In fact, there was a similar incident a while back when the Obama campaign used a track from country superstars Brooks & Dunn after the conclusion of his acceptance speech at the DNC. The track, entitled "Only In America," has been used repeatedly by Republicans in the past, including when Brooks & Dunn played it at the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2000.
At the 2004 GOP convention, Vice President Dick Cheney used it as his exit music following his speech. In addition, President Bush often used it while on the campaign trail four years ago, even asking Brooks & Dunn to play it live at rallies during the final week of the race.
When asked recently about the use of their material by the Obama campaign, Kix Brooks said, "Seems ironic that the same song Bush used at The Republican Convention last election would be used by Obama and the Democrats now. Very flattering to know our song crossed parties and potentially inspires all Americans."
It seems that Kix Brooks is a bit more open-minded about such matters than the Wilson sisters, Van Halen or Jackson Browne.
Frankly, I find all this bickering about the use of songs by politicians somewhat amusing. When you consider all the other things being done in Washington that are of questionable value to the average American, it seems to me that the use of a song or two by the political party you happen to oppose isn’t what well-paid artists should be laying in bed at night worrying about.
For more on this story, check out Entertainment Weekly.