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Friday, September 5, 2008

Heart “F—-ed” Over by McCain Campaign

posted by on September 5 at 9:46 AM

The McCain campaign has used Heart’s classic song “Barracuda” without permission—twice—and Nancy Wilson’s having none of it.

Thursday afternoon, Heart e-mailed out a statement regarding vice-presidential candidate Sarah “Barracuda” Palin’s use of their similarly monikered song at the Republican National Convention: “The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” it read. “We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music….”

But after McCain finished his speech accepting the GOP’s presidential nomination tonight, Palin joined him on stage, and the song was used again: Heart’s “Barracuda” played as balloons fell…. Heart’s Nancy Wilson felt compelled to personally respond…. “I feel completely f—-ed over.” She and sister Ann Wilson then e-mailed the following exclusive statement:

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 used to see Ann Wilson at the QFC on 15th. She owned (still owns?) a house in Interlaken. Although Heart rules the world, I never wanted to bother her, so in line at the checkout stand right behind her once, I hummed “Barracuda” very softly as a tiny tribute. It is a difficult song to hum. She appeared not to notice.

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I wondered about that. It pleases me that the Wilson sisters didn't sign off on that travesty.

I wonder if this means that Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang didn't sign off on the use of their songs at the convention either -- I swear there were more black people on the soundtrack than there were on the floor.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 5, 2008 9:54 AM

Heart performs this evening in Toronto, I hope they give another ass-whipping to McCain/Palin from the stage.

Posted by GOP/Republican party disgusts me | September 5, 2008 9:55 AM

I would've been on the floor suckin' her toes.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 5, 2008 9:57 AM

The actual lyrics:
If the real thing dont do the trick...
You better make up something quick...
You're gonna burn, burn, burn to the wick...
Actually, it seems pretty much appropos...

Posted by mkyorai | September 5, 2008 9:57 AM

I just tried to hum it and I agree, really hard to hum.

Posted by PopTart | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM

Back in the day, I made a loop of that amazing, chunky, driving guitar opening and used to play it over and over in my room till my little brother would go fucking crazy.

One day, he pulled all the tape out of the cassette on which I made the loop.

Then I'd just do a 70's kind of beat box thing and make the sound verbally until, one day, he threw the fire place poker at me like a javelin.

Then that was pretty much the end of it.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM

So, aren't there like, lawyers to deal with this? I imagine the RIAA would have something to say about using songs without permission.

Oh, wait. The RIAA is a bunch of Republican douchebags who hate the artists they exploit.

Posted by Greg | September 5, 2008 10:24 AM

I actually emailed Heart and Kool & the Gang last night about this (like they'd read my email, but you never know).
SO COOL the Wilson sisters came out about this - I saw them (as the Lovemongers) perform at an Al Gore rally on the UW campus years ago - didn't think they'd be repukes.

Posted by Madashell | September 5, 2008 10:34 AM

Hey! Are they at least getting royalties for the song usage????

Posted by I-Ree | September 5, 2008 10:43 AM

Heart totally rules and the Wilson sisters should rip McCain and his thieving cronies a new one.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 5, 2008 10:47 AM

Kudos to Nancy Wilson for speaking up! Plus, "Barracuda" is totally my favorite song to play on Guitar Hero III.

Posted by Ace | September 5, 2008 11:07 AM

The RNC also used Van Halen's Right Now w/o permission. And VH also bitched. (I don't have a link at the moment. Eat me)

Looks like these guys are just going to have to play country music from now on. The base doesn't like anything but country and bluegrass anyway; why would they try to use good music?

Posted by Mike in MO | September 5, 2008 11:58 AM

Yarrgh! A rare pleasant childhood memory is destroyed! I can no longer think back to mowing the lawn with Barracuda blasting on my Walkman tape player without ghostly images of Palin and McCain floating in. If this travesty doesn't sway people to vote for a Democrat, nothing will.

Posted by LMC47 | September 5, 2008 12:02 PM

better than small time copyright problems - sounding grouchy - let's hope they go on tour to help the real work on the ground to get Obama elected.

They were the band at the victory party for Clinton, first time, in Seattle. My girlfriend and I did a lot of lusty dancing and got a lot of stares. Just a few years back, there wern't many open same sex couples in sight.

Today, no problem, the world has changed.

Posted by Mother Maggie | September 5, 2008 12:21 PM

Isn't this the third of fourth time the McCain campaign has used a song without permission?

Posted by Postureduck | September 5, 2008 12:27 PM

seattle rock says fuck you RNC.

although i'd like to see the cobain estate allow the RNc the use of Rape Me.

Posted by max solomon | September 5, 2008 12:27 PM

This is right up there with Reagan misinterpreting "Born in the USA" as a patriotic anthem (rather than the protest against mistreatment of Vietnam vets that it actually was).

Posted by Mahtli69 | September 5, 2008 12:35 PM

That's really funny- humming her song. What was she buying? What kind of food?

Posted by catnextdoor | September 5, 2008 12:47 PM

The RNC also used Van Halen's Right Now w/o permission. And VH bitched too. I don't have a link at the moment. Eat me.

Looks like they will have to stick to country music. That's all the base likes anyway; why are they trying to use good music?

Posted by Mike in MO | September 5, 2008 1:08 PM

@15 - well, they are "above" the Rule of Law ....

Laws are for the little people - that's the America-hating Republicant motto.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 5, 2008 1:32 PM

"Right Now" is a good song?????????

Posted by Gigi | September 5, 2008 1:36 PM

@ 21: It's not? So it isn't Pink Floyd's Fearless, but it's not bad...

Also, sorry for the double post (and open tag). Posting has been kinda hit or miss today for some strange reason.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 5, 2008 1:51 PM

Thankyou JTC for the lulz. That story was hilarious. I had a roommate who did something similar (the break right before the Shaft theme song) and set it as his alarm clock. Being a heavy sleeper, he'd often leave it going for 25 minutes before he got around to turning it off.

Posted by Jason Petersen | September 5, 2008 1:54 PM

I can understand Heart being upset as they don't support the ticket, but why would the RNC (or DNC) need persmission to play whatever songs they want at their rallies? When you go see a band and they play a tape before they take the stage, did they ask every band on that tape/ipod/whatever for permission? Do bars do that? What if it's a bar that doesn't have live music and only has recorded music? Genuinely curious...

Posted by Diane | September 5, 2008 1:58 PM

And in case anyone forgot:

He stole VIDJA GAYME music to use for a commercial, without attribute or notification.

This is apparently the third time such a thing has happened (Van Halen, Medal of Honor, and now this).

Although, the commercial is probably the most egregious since they presented it as their own.

Posted by Jason Petersen | September 5, 2008 2:04 PM

Usually when you use copyrighted music in a televised situation, you do have to have the copywrite owners permission.

Posted by Hal | September 5, 2008 2:09 PM

Usually, when using a copywrited work in a televised situation, the copywrite owner is supposed to authorize its usage.

Posted by Hal | September 5, 2008 2:16 PM

Damn Intranets!

Posted by Hal | September 5, 2008 2:25 PM

@24: Yes, if you play a song at a public event (say a football game) you have to pay royalties. If you play it on a broadcast there are additional royalties. If you play the specific recording for which mechanical royalties exist (as in the case with "Barracuda") you pay an additional royalty.

What I'm not clear on is if the author is allowed to refuse the use of their song at an event like this -- it's not like the artist has to sign off every time anybody anywhere plays their song; Usually the rights are purchased through a third party. It wouldn't surprise me if the copyright holder had to file a "cease and desist" order to get them to stop.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 5, 2008 2:33 PM

If a coffee shop has to pay music rights based on the capacity of the shop, the RNC owes ASCAP a couple million dollars just for "Barracuda."

Posted by elswinger | September 5, 2008 2:56 PM

They did this to Jackson Browne too. I'm telling ya, it is Big & Rich or nothing for these fucks.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 5, 2008 3:19 PM

@29, yes, I wasn't asking if the RNC (or whoever) had to pay royalties...but if in fact they'd have to ask permission to use the song. I thought as long they paid royalties, they could use whatever they wanted...but I don't know for sure.

@26, is it only televised events? I remember reading Dave Grohl asking the Bush camp to not use a Foos song (can't recall which one) at their rallies, and they weren't televised. (though maybe I should add to my knowledge; perhaps they were on cable). Again, would they have had to ask permission to play the song at their rallies?

Posted by Diane | September 5, 2008 3:26 PM

that humming in line is some sick stalker passive aggro shit. Just say hello I like your music and leave her alone.

Posted by joh | September 5, 2008 5:15 PM

In my limited understanding of copyright law, whoever owns the rights to the music must give their express permission for someone to broadcast any version of their song to an audience (be that in a large venue, on a television or radio broadcast, whathaveyou).

As an educator, I can tell you that teachers aren't even really legally allowed to play songs or videos for classes unless they follow particular guidelines (the percentage of the original work being used, as well as the context that is being used in plays a role).

It is certainly not outside the bounds of whoever owns the copyright to "Barracuda" to send a cease and desist letter to the RNC, as well as to request payment of royalties- after all, the RNC is not a non-profit group, or a group using the song for an educational purpose. They used it in a campaign that actively solicits donations- clearly violating any sort of fair use laws.

But, the McCain camp has never had trouble with this- the ThinkProgress details his transgressions against Frankie Valli (WGM record label), Mike Myers, Jackson Browne, the owners of the rights for the "Rocky" theme. He's also used John Mellencamp without permission, ABBA without permission, and used the work of the guy who wrote the soundtrack for the 'Medal of Honor' videogames without his permission (although the composer, Lennertz, admits he doesn't own the legal rights, reports are fuzzy as to whether the McCain camp paid for legal use).

He also took Fox News footage from a debate and used it. The problem? Fox News is pissed. They say when they pay millions of dollars to put and film a debate, for anyone to use their footage (with their logos, nonetheless) violates fair use.

McCain/Palin '08: Support Us (because we're going to imply you did anyway)!

Posted by Sara | September 5, 2008 5:28 PM

Oh- didn't mention in the above-

You don't get to use stuff just by paying royalties. You have to get permission.

For example:
When Broadway shows are having touring performances, they will often refuse local high schools the rights to perform those shows during that time period. My high school couldn't perform Into the Woods when I was in high school because it was touring in a neighboring town. A couple of years ago, they were able to pay royalties to secure the rights.

Just like with a restaurant or clothing stores, retailers can refuse service to any customer if they choose to do so.

Posted by Sara | September 5, 2008 5:33 PM

The RNC PAID ROYALTIES for the use of the song prior to it being played at the convention. So it was Republicans to do with as they wished.

This was backed up by a statement from the copyright holder who is the song writer.

Posted by McCain Voter | September 6, 2008 12:50 PM

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