10 Times Rockstars Tell Politicians To Stop Using Their Music

10 Times Rockstars Tell Politicians To Stop Using Their Music | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Heart live in 1977 - thebandheart / Youtube

Rock music is more political than one might think, but this doesn’t permit politicians to freely use it for their campaigns. Rockers have been adamant in keeping them off their music, avoiding any kind of affiliation to an agenda or political party. But a few, including Donald Trump, have taken the heat from artists like Bruce Springsteen and Ozzy Osbourne lately, even being sent cease and desist letters. Here are some instances where rockstars tell politicians to get their hands off their music.

“My Hero” – Foo Fighters

The Foos didn’t approve of former presidential bid John McCain’s use of their song “My Hero” in the 2008 elections. In a statement, the band said: “To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song,” the Foos said. “We hope that the McCain campaign will do the right thing and stop using our song — and start asking artists’ permission in general.”

“Tom Sawyer” – Rush

Prog rockers Rush issued a cease and desist notice to Rand Paul when he ran for a Senate seat in Kentucky in 2010. According to Rush’s legal team: “This is not a political issue — this is a copyright issue. We would do this no matter who it is.”

Barracuda” – Heart

Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential bid in 2008 had Heart demanding her to stop playing their song “Barracuda” at her rallies. “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. 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. 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,” the band said in a statement.

“Right Now” – Van Halen

Van Halen wasn’t approving of John McCain’s use of their song “Right Now” either. This was during his run against Barack Obama in 2008.

“Born In The U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen 

Most people really seem to mistake Springsteen’s anthem for a patriotic one, which became a subject of its use in numerous political campaigns – but not long before Springsteen shuts them down. Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, and Donald Trump are just some of the people the Boss barred from using his song.

“American Girl” – Tom Petty

Michele Bachmann played Tom Petty’s “American Girl” during one of her rallies, which prompted Petty to issue a cease and desist notice. She ignored it altogether, unlike George W. Bush in 2000, who stopped playing “I Won’t Back Down” after Petty told him to.

“Eye of  The Tiger” – Survivor

Newt Gingrich was sued by Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan after he continued to play “Eye of The Tiger” during his campaign rallies but settled afterward once his 2012 bid began to fall down.

“More Than A Feeling” – Boston 

Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid had him use Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” at his political rallies. Tom Scholz had other things in his mind, however, saying: “Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for.”

“Walk Away” – Eagles

It was a Joe Walsh vs. Joe Walsh situation as the Eagle issued a cease and desist against the politician’s use of “Walk Away”. One of the Eagles’ lawyers even wrote to the Illinois congressman, “Now, I know why you used Joe’s music – it’s undoubtedly because it’s a lot better than any music you or your staff could have written. But that’s the point. Since Joe writes better songs than you do, the Copyright Act rewards him by letting him decide who gets to use the songs he writes.”


“Pink Houses” – John Mellencamp

Republicans have zero chance of touching any of John Mellencamp’s material. The singer-songwriter had already blocked attempts by Ronald Reagan and John McCain to use “Pink Houses,” along with George W. Bush and his use of “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”