Top 5 Spats Between Politicians And Musicians

Musicians complaining about politicians using their tunes to get elected is as commonplace as admitting to using marijuana while upholding prohibition. Spats between artists and partisans have become so common that John Oliver recently recruited Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow and others to record a song asking politicians to quit using their songs.

Here are a few highlights in the ongoing war between politicians and musicians -- including the track produced by Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight.

1. Dropkick Murphys "literally hate" Scott Walker

In January 2015, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker incensed The Dropkick Murphys when he used their Celtic punk classic "I'm Shipping up to Bostonduring his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. And the band didn't mince words when they objected to Walker's song choice on Twitter.

The band has actually been anti-Walker for some time. They took a shot at him when lashing out against another conservative politician in 2012.

"We just got word that Wisconsin State Rep and Speaker of the State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald used "Shipping Up To Boston" as his walk-on song yesterday at the Wisconsin GOP Convention in Green Bay," The Dropkick Murphys wrote on their Facebook page. "The stupidity and irony of this is laughable. A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate - and crony of anti-Union Governor Scott Walker - using a Dropkick Murphys song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!"

Next time Walker should consider using a tune with a folk singer with the same name.

2. Dee Snider "emphatically denounces" Paul Ryan

The Romney-Ryan 2012 presidential campaign hit a snag when Dee Snider of Twisted Sister learned that Ryan was using the band's glam metal hit "We're Not Gonna Take It" to hype up crowds during events. 

"I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan's use of my song 'We're Not Gonna Take It' as recorded by my band Twisted Sister," Snider said in a statement released in August 2012. "There is almost nothing on which I agree with Paul Ryan, except perhaps the use of the P90X."

The P90X is a fitness regimen that Snider and Ryan both endorse, apparently. Maybe the two could work out their political differences while working out their abs to this head-banging classic.

3. Ted Nugent endorses Michele Bachmann

Former House Rep. Michele Bachmann didn't make a lot of friends in the music community during her 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. First Tom Petty asked her not to use "American Girl" during events. Then Katrina Leskanich -- lead singer for Katrina and the Waves -- politely called on Bachman to cut "Walking on Sunshine" from her campaign's playlist.

But Bachmann wasn't without a soundtrack for long. Rightwing rocker Ted Nugent eagerly offered Bachman the use of his 1975 hit "Stranglehold" to use in place of the 80s pop song. And he gave her an endorsement as only the gun-loving, Obama-hating pundit can.

"Michele Bachmann is clearly a Great American," Nugent told The Washington Post. "Her words have iron, her spirit is indefatigable and her beauty contagious. In a perfect world her ultimate campaign theme song would be WANG DANG SWEET [expletive] just to fire up America and prove that political correctness is laughable. But since her ‘we the people’ Tea Party defiance is tantamount to setting America back on a course of rugged individualism and Herculean productivity, STRANGLEHOLD is the only choice. Godspeed [Michele]. Let em have it!"

4. Heart feels "fucked over," Abba goes "berserk"

Sarah Palin -- a.k.a. 'Sarah Barracuda' from her high school basketball days -- couldn't resist playing up her old nickname when she was introduced at the 2008 Republic National Convention as John McCain's running mate. She proudly took the stage with Heart's rocking 80s tune "Barracuda" blaring in the background. But Nancy Wilson - Heart's guitarist - wasn't a fan of Palin.

"I feel completely fucked over," she told Rolling Stone after the event. "Sarah Palin's views and values in no way represent us as American women." 

And the McCain-Palin ticket didn't speak for Swedes either, apparently. That same year, Abba objected to McCain using "Take a Chance on Me" during the campaign. "We played it a couple times and it's my understanding [Abba] went berserk," McCain said on the campaign trail

Maybe the campaign should've stuck with Madonna's "Vogue."

5. "Don't use our songs," various artists

As promised, here's John Oliver's musical plea on behalf of musicians who don't want politicians using their music to win votes. The features Michael Bolton, Usher and many more artists banding together to protect their tracks from partisanship. And if you want to read more about spats between bands and candidates, check out this article from Rolling Stone.

Banner Image: Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame performs at music festival Topfest in Piestany, Slovakia on June 27, 2015. (Ventura /


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