Rockstars knock Republicans for campaign songs

Jun 17, 2015 11:53 AM by News Staff

Finding the perfect song to embody a presidential run is becoming a campaign issue spanning generations as artists voice displeasure that their songs were used. Most often, it seems, Republican politicians are the ones being forced to stop the music, CBS News' Jan Crawford reports.

After Donald Trump's bid for president kicked off Tuesday, he had to contend with legendary rocker Neil Young, who felt the real-estate magnate committed a musical faux pas.

It may have seemed like the perfect choice -- an anthem trumpeting freedom -- but Young didn't see it that way. He said Trump's use of his song "Rockin' in the Free World" "was not authorized" and that he actually "is a supporter of Bernie Sanders," a candidate on the opposite side of the political aisle.

A campaign spokesperson said through a license agreement, Trump "paid for and obtained the legal right to use" the song but "won't be using it again," closing with the compliment, "Trump likes Neil very much."

Variety Senior Editor Ted Johnson said it's embarrassing for the campaign when a musician pushes back.

"Donald Trump joins a long list of Republicans who have kind of gotten in trouble with artists because the first thing in their minds is 'I don't want it to make it look like I'm endorsing a candidate that I don't agree with,'" Johnson said.

After Gov. Scott Walker used music from the Dropkick Murphys, they had a message for him:

Some campaigns have taken more creative control over what supporters hear at rallies.

Dr. Ben Carson hired a gospel choir to belt out Eminem's "Lose Yourself" at his presidential announcement last month.

Nearly two weeks ago, Rick Perry took the stage to a personalized version of a country rap song, "Answer to No One." Perry even made a push for sales of the Colt Ford song.

"Go to iTunes and buy it and get a little country rap goin','" Perry said on CNN.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were both criticized for playing "Eye of the Tiger."

The auditory dustup has been a part of the political landscape for decades.

In the 2008 election, Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters and John Mellencamp all asked John McCain to stop using their music.

George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign for president ran into a hiccup when Bobby McFerrin objected to the elder Bush's choosing of his feel-good song "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

"It's more often than not, far more often than not, that Republicans get in trouble and not Democratic candidates, and I think that's merely a function of where the music business is," Johnson said.

On Saturday, when Hilary Clinton launched her candidacy in New York, she didn't have an official tune. When Katy Perry offered to pen a theme song last year, Clinton tweeted back:


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