This Is What Happens When Politicians Steal Music

Last week, the Romney campaign ganked "Panic Switch," an otherwise forgettable track by LA fuzz-rockers Silversun Pickups. How can politicians continue to make this stupid mistake?

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Aug 21 2012, 7:00pm

Last week, the Romney campaign ganked "Panic Switch," an otherwise forgettable track by LA fuzz-rockers Silversun Pickups, and played it as Mitt walked into a speaking engagement. After somebody Tweeted about it, the band found out and blew their gourd, sending an immediate cease and desist letter to R-Money's camp.

This isn't even the first time that this has happened in this campaign - Romney's running mate Paul Ryan declared that Rage Against The Machine is his favorite band, and was immediately bitch-slapped by guitarist Tom Morello, who said that Ryan is "the embodiment of the machine that [our] music has been raging against for two decades."

How can politicians continue to make this stupid mistake? I seriously can't believe that this happens over and over again. We can probably expect more frustrating and illegitimate use of copyrighted music during this campaign, but let's take a trip down memory lane and look at a few examples of when political campaigns have tried to pull this shit in the past.

Springsteen v. Reagan
In Ronald Reagan's 1984 presidential campaign, his use of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." upset The Boss, and ultimately had to refrain from any Springsteen songs or associations.

Petty v. Bush
In 2000 George Bush jr. was forced to back down from using Tom Petty's track "I Wont' Back Down" for his campaign entrances when Petty hit Bush with a letter from a lawyer.

Foo Fighters v. McCain
John McCain's 2008 "My Hero" campaign came to a fast halt when the Seattle rock group rejected McCain as a hero of their own and forced him to immediately stop using the track.

Browne v. McCain
In 2008, American songwriting machine, Jackson Browne sued the GOP and John McCain over the use of his track "Running on Empty" in political commercials.

Mellencamp v. McCain
In even more 2008 McCain rallies, John Mellencamp's tracks "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" were heard blasting over the sound system. The Cougar pounced on the opportunity to end the illegitimacy and the songs were never used again.

Heart v. Palin
2008 Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin may have been nicked named "Barracuda" for her viciousness on her high-school basketball court, but that didn't convince the members of the group Heart that Palin's use of their hit "Barracuda" was appropriate. The group expressed their political differences with Palin, demanded she discontinued the use of the song, and Palin was silenced.

Petty v. Bachmann
A track from Tom Petty's catalog was hijacked once again in 2011..this time by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Bachmann who chose the song "American Girl" to represent a Bachmann rally opening, was never permitted to use a track by Petty again.

Perry v. Bachmann
As if Bachmann hadn't seen enough trouble with the misuse of songs for her campaigns, and her controversial negative stance on homosexuality, her use of Perry's track "Firework" at a campaign event in late June 2011 confused and angered many. The video for the track features same-sex couples and not Fourth of July firework displays as Bachmann incorrectly believed.

Survivor v. Gingrich
Earlier this year, Newt Gingrich was immediately barred from using the Rocky III anthem song, "Eye of the Tiger" by the group Survivor.

Previously - In Defense Of New Jersey

If you live in New York, you can go bother Jeff at Black Gold Records in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

You can also follow his (mostly) music-related thoughts at @jeffogiba