Patterico's Pontifications

9/5/2008

Heartless: Wilson Sisters Send Cease and Desist Letter to McCain Campaign Over Use of “Barracuda”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:26 pm



Last night, after we watched McCain’s speech, my wife asked me: how do you think the Wilson sisters feel about the Republicans using that song? I said: oh, I’m sure they’ll be suing any day now.

The first step has already been taken.

36 Responses to “Heartless: Wilson Sisters Send Cease and Desist Letter to McCain Campaign Over Use of “Barracuda””

  1. The McCain campaign should get some lounge singer to do a cheesy version of the song and play it instead. See how Heart likes them apples.

    JVW (d54fc4)

  2. If the song is in a catalog and the McCain Campaign paid the appropriate royalty, how can a C & D be valid?

    laddy (d9a241)

  3. Yeah funny how they never complained when Fergie trashed their song live on American Idol. All the while flipping around like some freak in from of the large Wilson sister just to rub in I can’t sing like you but look what I can do.

    Tom K (384020)

  4. My guess is that, despite their bitching, they won’t be tearing up the royalty check.

    MOG (c949f7)

  5. What a bunch of whiney crybabies these has-been rock stars are. Springsteen and Couger did the same thing. I guess only commies can listen to their sons. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    BurnedOutHippie (a6da8b)

  6. The Wilson Sisters? I thought they were dead.

    (Hat Tip: “Escape from New York”)

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  7. A shame they don’t appear to own the rights to the song, and I’m quite sure one of the MOUNTAIN of lawyers that exist at either party’s conventions would have said “Guys, you need to go pay the royalty for this before hand…”

    It’s also been suggested that since someone likely owned a copy of the song (mp3, CD, whatever), and since I don’t think the even was “for profit” (like in a movie or such), that “Fair Use” comes into play…

    I mean, if I have the radio on and a TV News Crew tapes me and the radio happens to be picked up, the artist playing can’t sue me or the TV station…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  8. I have to sympathize with the artists. Why would anybody be happy to see their song used in a political context they didn’t agree with.

    rrpjr (fb0748)

  9. #8:

    Because anyone who owns the physical recording has a right to listen to it whenever they damn well please. And they can broadcast it if they pay the royalty.

    What are they going to do vet the purchasers of their music so that someone who disagrees with them politically cannot hear it?

    Good luck with that.

    Dr. K (5139b5)

  10. I have to sympathize with the artists. Why would anybody be happy to see their song used in a political context they didn’t agree with.

    I agree, if the artists want to record music and share it with the world out of the goodness of their heart. But if they’re going to sell it for profit, then the buyer should be able to use it as they see fit. Can’t sell your cake and claim it too.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  11. I guess by that curious reasoning, artists should make sure that any potential buyers of their music should also be appropriately vetted. Right?

    Dmac (874677)

  12. The McCain campaign is liable for the same fee that’s charged to radio stations, phone-hold, elevator music and restaurant/bars. And I believe it goes to the musicians’ union, not the artists.

    nk (21731d)

  13. I do enjoy very loud pop music (on headphones,) but to me Heart is ear-piercingly shrill howling. I knew a lady who cranked that stuff up at 9:30AM Sunday.

    I predict that more than one thesis will be written on the choices of tunes for this year’s conventions. “Barracuda” was an obvious choice, but some of the others must have been selected by the same crackerjack team that was running the Republican backdrop screen.

    gp (78ea4b)

  14. Actually, there are two royalty services: BMI and ASCAP.
    They might operate differently, but I do know that composers do receive royalties directly from at least one of the two – Performers I’m not that sure about.

    Another Drew (faec8a)

  15. Ain’t it a bitch, that in return for government-protected copyright, you have to let people replay your song for the usual and customary fee?

    Man, I’m just keeping all my songs to myself. I don’t want somebody ever playing them where I don’t want them to be played. Like a tail-gate party at a White Sox game. I’m a Cubs fan, for crying out loud.

    nk (21731d)

  16. Don’t stop believin,’ NK. Gawd, how I hated that song when it first released, and hated it even more during the summer of ’05.

    Go, Cubs, Go!

    Dmac (874677)

  17. Ann and Nancy Wilson should be happy that ANYONE even REMEMBERS their arena slop horse manure excuse for “music” let alone actually PLAYING that pop slop arena slop horse manure.

    I totally disconnected myself from Heart after their crappy pop slop arena slop noise excuse for a song Alone was overplayed in the summer of ’87. A smart radio station PD in that year would have happily played much more of Exposé’s Point of no return and Let me be the one and much less of ANYTHING from Heart…or even the Bangles for that matter.

    Brian Mora (6c4040)

  18. Heart’s music is such a bad ripoff of Led Zeppelin that it shouldn’t even be copyrightable.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  19. When one wishes to use a copyrighted sound recording to accompany a visual presentation then a “Synchronization Licence” is sought from the copyright holder of the song and the licence holder of the recording – in this case Universal Music. It’s separate from ASCAP fees and is negotiated on a per-use basis. I’d be surprised if one of the many lawyers at the RNC was not aware of this and hadn’t already licensed the use of the song and this recording. Ann & Nancy Wilson were more than likely completely out of the loop on this one.

    I’ve seen a lot of live music in my life. The best performance – without question – Heart. Ann Wilson, in her prime, was awesome. I love these gals but they should quit whining.

    Bryan Frymire (770086)

  20. The lyrics of that song are all about Barack Obama and Joe “The Porpoise” Biden. SRSLY!

    Beldar (aec07e)

  21. Patterico, I too figured that we would hear from the Wilson sisters sometime today. There has to be a heavy donor in their circles somewhere (Wenner? Geffen?) who sent the message within minutes: “You can’t allow your song to be associated with anyone who isn’t a Democrat.”

    Interestingly, the music used to serenade her announcement a week ago was Van Halen (or Van Hagar)’s “Right Now”, which was also used by GWB in 2000. I thought a song tied to Bush was risky.

    Brian Mora wrote:

    I totally disconnected myself from Heart after their crappy pop slop arena slop noise excuse for a song Alone was overplayed in the summer of ‘87. A smart radio station PD in that year would have happily played much more of Exposé’s Point of no return and Let me be the one and much less of ANYTHING from Heart…or even the Bangles for that matter.

    I liked Expose. They had the high, chirpy voices, but they were clean in the upper registers, and they were, frankly, hot. I dug the heavy breathing in the background of “Point of No Return” (Schwing!). Great latin-based dance music. And “Seasons Change,” what a great record.

    The Bangles are, IMHO, the greatest all-female rock band ever. Never mind “Manic Monday,” an outtake from a Prince LP that became a Top 10 hit — “If She Knew What She Wants,” their cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Hero Takes a Fall,” and others. They could play rock, they could play pop, and do it well live. I loved the Go-Go’s too, but the Bangles’ musicianship and writing was superior. If there weren’t males in the short-lived SoCal group Voice of the Beehive, they might challenge the Bangles for the crown. Honorable mention: Fuzzbox. The Runaways? Yeah, they were kinda breakthrough, but they were like a novelty act…sorry.

    Every female who picks up a guitar and turns it up owes the Wilson sisters a debt of gratitude. In the mid-seventies, when rock and roll radio was a like frat party, Heart was one of the few groups allowed in the front door with a feminine voice. Long before “Alone,” there was the long version of the classic “Magic Man,” a great song with a story that sounds like a Lifetime TV-movie, “Heartless,” and of course, “Barracuda.”

    But when it comes to rocking women, it all comes down to two words: Pat Benatar.

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  22. The RNC says they paid for the necessary licenses, which suggests this is a matter of taste instead of intellectual property.

    Beldar (aec07e)

  23. Just another reason I no longer buy CD/DVD’s and will not purchase any of the updated music/video formats. In the past I purchased thousands of records/CD/DVD but haven’t bought one for the past 4-5 years, not since Hollywood became Holy-wood and started worshiping themselves or the devil. Never go to a movie either, just wait for it to come on TV which is really fast with the failures Holy-wood puts out.

    Scrapiron (c36902)

  24. Well, then, it’s more of a cat fight than anything serious. If the music’s bought & paid for, then these two wimmen have nothing to argue about – they sold their soul for a few coins of gold.

    Must be awful to see Sarah Palin dancing to THEIR music. The nerve of that woman! Go back to the kitchen!

    steve miller (3c2c90)

  25. Well, then, it’s more of a cat fight than anything serious.

    — The serious part is that Heart can make a lot of negative noise, and they have agents willing to broadcast that noise — in the form of the tabloid TV shows.

    Icy Truth (6e6d48)

  26. Who is “Barracuda”?

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  27. Ann and Nancy Wilson became famous because of thier talent as artists. Sarah Palin will become famous because of her talent at being who she is, a powerful woman. My how women fight with each other. Let the cat fights begin, Ann and Nancy Wilson do like Babs just sing.

    Jeff (9071a0)

  28. Hey, Wilson Sisters – just heard you didn’t like McCain using your song during the RNC. What bad sports you are! You should be happy that ANYONE is listening to your music now. You had your day in the sun – I saw you in Boulder, Colorado in 1977. Loved your music. But that was then and this is now. You should be thinking of exposing your music to a whole new generation of people who will buy it. But by your actions, it just shows how narrow-minded you are. I would have been flattered for someone to pick my music – after all, how many hits have you had in the last 25 years? I watched the convention and loved them using Barracuda. Haven’t heard it played in years – get my point??? I’m disappointed and your actions make you look bad. Guess you’ll be selling your cd’s only at garage sales.

    cindy (8319e1)

  29. #26 – love2008

    Who is “Barracuda”?

    — Ya know, the mere fact that you asked that question points up the lack of depth in your knowledge, and willingness to acquire facts relevant to the subjects we debate.

    Icy Truth (6e6d48)

  30. Who is “Barracuda”?

    Comment by love2008 — 9/5/2008 @ 6:28 pm

    Yo wost nightmare, ho! (sic)

    nk (21731d)

  31. Though not in reality, once music is released, it is a sorta “Public Domain” product.

    Maybe the Wilsons are willing to take Sara on in a came of two on one?

    I think even after this long, they would both get thrashed they would feel as if a barracuda had it’s way with them.

    #28 Cindy, you NAILED it! :)

    TC (d16524)

  32. This is a non-issue.

    If Obama used a post from Patterico to his advantage, would you be happy?

    Would you blame Patterico if he wanted to make it painful for them to continue to do that?

    I wouldn’t

    i like america (f4c1e0)

  33. That’s the third time I think that the McCain campaign has received a C and D for the use of a song.
    Van Halen, Jackson Browne and now the Wilson sisters.

    No respect for ip law I guess.

    JAR (08f6d2)

  34. As long as they have a license from ASCAP and/or BMI, what the artist thinks is TOO BAD!

    Another Drew (e872c7)

  35. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders didn’t like Rush Limbaugh using her song “My City Was Gone” from Learning to Crawl to open each hour of his radio broadcasts, even forced him to stop using it. Problem was, he had a license to use it, and the licensing company told her, too bad, we’re making too much money. So back on the air it went.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at a similar result here.

    Paul (ac3cf3)

  36. They sent a 2nd letter, explaining that they were donating the royalties to the McCain Campaign.

    It’s really funny seeing all the non-artists here saying it’s o.k. so long as McCain gives them money. Non-creative people just don’t get it.

    rewinn (1e3b09)


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