It's become a staple of politics: a politician walks onstage to a song. Musician gets mad. The latest flare-up came when the punk band Dropkick Murphys instructed Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to "please stop using our music in any way," they tweeted, then added: "We literally hate you !!!"
Ouch. The remark came after Walker appeared at the Iowa Freedom Summit, where he walked onstage Saturday to the band's song, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"
This response isn't all that surprising, given the band's support for union rights. And it's also not the first time this has happened in modern political history. As The Post's Chris Richards explained in 2011:
... this trope has played out during every campaign season like a broken record. Sometimes the disputes go unresolved. Artists can take legal action when a politician uses their music in a campaign advertisement without permission, but they have little recourse against candidates who pump the singers’ hits at public appearances — aside from shaming them in the pages of Rolling Stone.
While this is often seems to be more of a Republican problem, it's not their problem alone. Here's a playlist of songs musicians didn't want politicians to use:
"American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Then-GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann appeared at a rally in Waterloo, Iowa in 2011 where she walked on-stage to "American Girl," prompting Petty's people to send the campaign a cease and desist letter. She used the song at least once more that campaign season, in South Carolina.
"Hold On, I'm Comin'" by Sam & Dave
Back in 2008, Barack Obama was a Democratic presidential candidate who had been playing this 1967 hit at his rallies. Sam Moore of the duo asked the campaign to stop, saying that he hasn't endorsed a candidate although he found it "thrilling" a black man was running. Moore explained further at the time:
When the song was first recorded by Dave and myself, it was pulled off the market because it had such sexual orientations," he said yesterday. (Sample lyrics: Reach out to me for satisfaction / Call my name now for quick reaction.) "I don't want to get graphic with this, but how do you take a song about getting girls and turn it into a political thing? Somebody's really desperate!
Point taken. Moore, for his part, has since performed at the Obama White House.
"Barracuda" by Heart
Sarah Palin walked off stage after her big Republican National Convention speech in 2008 to this song. Soon after, the songwriters Ann and Nancy Wilson released a statement that read, "Sarah Palin's views and values in no way represent us as American women." A cease-and-desist letter went out to the campaign. The campaign used the song at least once more after the songwriters protested, at a rally in Ohio.
Republican Barry Goldwater got into trouble during his 1964 presidential run when his campaign changed the words of "Hello Dolly" to "Hello Barry." Broadway producer David Merrick threatened to slap the campaign with a $10 million lawsuit if they kept using it (although he allowed Democrats to use the song for Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign. The words were changed to "Hello Lyndon."
"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen
In the politician-misuses-song narrative, this is probably the story that most immediately comes to mind: President Ronald Reagan name-checking Bruce Springsteen while at a New Jersey rally in 1984, saying he had a "message of hope." It's actually not clear whether the song was ever played, as The Post's Paul Farhi explains:
It wasn't clear which song, or songs, Reagan meant (and there's no record of Reagan's campaign actually playing the song), but many assumed he was referring to "Born," the title track of Springsteen's best-selling album at the time. The song, of course, is about the opposite of hope; it's the anguished cry of a Vietnam veteran, returning home to bleak prospects ("I'm ten years burning down the road/Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go"). Springsteen later expressed irritation at being made an implicit part of Reagan's morning-in-America reelection rhetoric.
Either way, Springsteen retaliated: at a concert a few days later, Springsteen told the audience, "Well, the president was mentioning my name in his speech the other day, and I kind of got to wondering what his favorite album of mine must’ve been, you know? I don’t think it was the Nebraska album. I don’t think he’s been listening to this one." He then played "Johnny 99." The lyrics tell the tale of a man who lost his auto plant job and ended up killing a night clerk while drunk.
"Road To Nowhere" by Talking Heads
Charlie Crist didn't just get a run-of-the-mill cease and desist letter: he got sued. Talking Heads frontman David Byrne sued Crist for $1 million for using this song in campaign advertising during his 2010 run for a Florida Senate seat. Crist settled out of court.
Bonus audio! A video apology from Crist himself: