Friday, September 7, 2012

Political Battle of the Bands 2012


When Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention this week, he ended his marathon speech with a familiar refrain - "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac, which the band played for him at his 1993 inaugural ball.

Via Time: A Brief History of Campaign Songs
Fleetwood Mac wasn't the hippest musical choice, though, and at the time, Clinton's aids tried to get their candidate to switch to something cooler. He wouldn't have it, and the song stuck. Don't Stop proved to be such a malleable theme song that Clinton still uses it regulary; he plays it at fundraisers and speeches, he name-checked it at the 2000 Democratic National Convention and . . . in Denver [2008], he walked on stage to it.

I guess you would call that the perfect melding of a candidate and a song, with the blessing of the band behind the music.

But a long-running theme with the right is that during every Presidential Election they try to use a song from a band whose liberal members would never vote for the Republican candidate.

Dee Snider of Twisted Sister threw a cease and desist at Paul Ryan for using "We're Not Gonna Take It."
Via Huff Post:
Ryan spokesman Brandon Buck wrote a pithy email in response: "We're Not Gonna Play It anymore."
Snider says in a statement that he does not support Ryan and denounced use of the song, an anthemic 1984 hit for the glam metal band.
It joins a long list of songs that musicians have asked politicians to stop using. Most recently, the rock band Silversun Pickups asked likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney to stop using the song "Panic Switch" last week. The campaign said the song's use was inadvertent.

Ryan also got lambasted by the frontman of Rage Against The Machine, Tom Morello, just for name-dropping that the band was on his iPod.
From Rolling Stone
Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.
. . .Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta "rage" in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions.
(More at Link)

Now R.E.M. is upset that Fox News used the famous "Losing My Religion" over video of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week.
A statement on the band's website says:
R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" was used in the Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night. R.E.M. today, through its music publisher, Warner-Tamerlane Music, demanded that Fox News cease and desist from continuing its unlicensed and unauthorized use of the song.
Michael Stipe said, "We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there."

Huffington Post received a snarky and unrepentant reply from Fox:
"FOX News Channel’s use of an R.E.M. song during Thursday’s edition of 'Fox & Friends' was in full accordance with its license agreements with all appropriate parties. Nevertheless, we’re always flattered to have this much attention for a song selection and we hope R.E.M. was able to satisfy their publicity fix.”

Oh Fox . . .

Conversely, rocker Tom Petty was tickled to death to have Obama use one of his songs at the DNC, as he told Rolling Stone:
"I've been on the wrong side where I've had to tell some candidates to stop using my music," he told Rolling Stone on the MTV VMAs red carpet.

But Petty was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday night, when his song "I Won't Back Down" played as President Obama walked onstage at the Democratic National Convention, after former President Bill Clinton's speech. "I got chills," said Petty. "They knew it would be okay. I've had a chance to meet the President and talk to him about the music he listens to."

Ironically, Petty stopped George Bush from using the same song during the 2000 election.
Bush spokesperson Ray Sullivan says songs by other artists have been used on the campaign trail "from time to time," depending on "what CDs we brought with us that day."
This haphazard practice has been troubling a number of musicians besides Petty, including Sting and John Mellencamp, who found their songs "Brand New Day" and "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," respectively, being used without permission. "I don't think that anybody that knows me would think I have the same position as [Bush]," Mellencamp told Rolling Stone in August.
And with artists like Petty making it into a legal matter, Bush's campaign is beginning to rethink its musical policies. "We're now entering into agreements with
BMI and ASCAP to work out arrangements to pay for use of songs on the road," Sullivan says.

Last year, Petty told crazy-eyed Michele Bachmann to stop using the song "American Girl" when she made her entrance on stage.

It's so much better when the artists themselves are willing to step onstage and play for the crowd at a convention. This year, the Democratic Convention featured many artists, including James Taylor, The Foo Fighters, and Mary J. Blige. Enjoy the videos!!!

The Foo Fighters


James Taylor


Mary J. Blige

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