Hoppen to McSame/G.O.P.: You Are Liars

 

 

 

Co-author of Orleans hit “Still The One” knows of what he
speaks.

By
Fred Mills

 

 

We’ve
been talking a lot about how the McSame-Van Palen campaign ripped off Heart’s
“Barracuda” song
, something that definitely rubbed the band the wrong way.

 

In a
statement, the Heart camp said: “The Republican campaign did not ask for permission
to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have
asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes
will be honored.”

 

As it
turns out, the campaign apparently did obtain, technically speaking, permission
to use the song: they got the necessary licenses to use it (typically by paying
a blanket fee to ASCAP in the same fashion as other organizations or venues
would do). So Heart is, essentially, fucked.

 

Weighing
in on the matter today was guitarist/songwriter Larry Hoppen, who along with
John Hall fronted the band Orleans and had a number of hits in the ‘70s (Hall
is now a Congressman, while Hoppen continues the band to this day). Hoppen
posted a commentary to the mailbag of music industry blogger/watchdog Bob
Lefsetz (“The Lefsetz Letter”). It’s reproduced below.

 

 

In
it, Hoppen outlines very clearly – and without pulling any rhetorical punches,
either – what happened to Heart and how it’s just more dirty, underhanded business
as usual with the GOP.

 

Well
said, Mr. Hoppen.

 

***

 

From:
Larry Hoppen

Subject:
Political use of Iconic songs

 

Bob,
the recent unauthorized McCain Campaign use of Heart’s “Barracuda” is
the latest in a decades-long tradition of (mostly Republican) misappropriation
of popular Artists’ work.  I applaud the
public response Heart had to this fresh offense. I REALLY applaud Jackson
Browne for filing suit against the unauthorized use of “For Everyman”
recently.

 

As
lead singer and a royalty artist on the 1976 hit “Still The One”, I
have hands-on experience with the anger, embarrassment and false image this
outrageous practice causes. When George Bush and the RNC were caught using STO
as W’s new re-election “Theme Song” by its co-author John Hall (now a
Congressman, D-NY) and myself, the usual “cease and desist” legal
letter went out. The RNC claimed, as McCain did with Barracuda only days ago, that
they had paid “all the required licenses” because they “respect
artists’ work”.

 

The
truth is, they only get a “Blanket License” from one of the
performance rights societies, which covers mainly ‘background’ use – and then
they use these songs as featured thematic material in major venues – like
national campaigns that are televised and/or potentially reach hundreds of
thousands, indeed millions, on a given Campaign tour.

 

The
first time I remember this happening was Reagan using Bruce Springsteen’s
“Born in the USA”
(in 1984, I believe). He was asked to stop … and there are many other
examples.

 

In
fact, McCain ALSO started using “Still The One” recently, and was VERY quickly
sent the standard cease and desist letter. Another example of his similarity to
Bush, I guess.

 

For
the record, Sen. Ted Kennedy had PERMISSION from the author and artists to use “Still
The One” both in 2000 and 2008. I presume Fleetwood Mac authorized Pres.
Clinton to use “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”, or it wouldn’t
still be a Clinton
‘signature song’!  Sure seems like only
one Party ever asks.

 

Also
for the record, only months after the RNC pledged to stop using STO with Bush’s
re-election in 2004, I saw a film of a Tom DeLay rally using the same recording
of ours.

 

I
bring all this to your attention because I think it’s timely and important to
say:  When people who think nothing of
doing this say that they are being respectful of artists’ work, when they say
they are respectful of Copyright Law, when they say they are in favor of an
“Ownership Society”, they are LIARS.

 

Let’s
call the unauthorized use of massively popular hit records what it is: grand
theft, at the very least.  One unanswered
question is: WHO is accountable for this behavior? And let’s point the finger
at who’s doing this most of the time: Republican candidates.

 

 

Leave a Reply