Rocker Tells Presidential Candidate to Stop Playing His Song

Jun 29, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has had his management team send a cease and desist letter to one of the contenders for the 2012 presidential election, requesting that she stop using his song at her campaign appearances, Rolling Stone reports.

The politician is Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who announced her candidacy this week for the Republican nomination. She played Petty’s “American Girl” when she walked on stage at a rally earlier this week, apparently without permission from Petty.

This is at least the second time Petty has been ticked off when a politician co-opted his work without permission. In 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush played Petty’s "I Won’t Back Down" at rallies without Petty’s approval before Petty objected.

Similar incidents include Sarah Palin’s campaign playing Heart’s "Barracuda" at the 2008 GOP convention, provoking an angry statement from the group, and Jackson Browne’s suit against John McCain, also in 2008, to stop his campaign’s use of "Running on Empty” in a commercial.


  1. Basic ethics, one does not use licensed material without permission. To do so is simply theft.

  2. Rock artists have no problem letting politicians play their songs, as long as the politician is a democrat.
    Notice that all the examples are with republican candidates. But the practice of using rock songs is used on both sides.

  3. Maybe the Demos just had the courtesy/intelligence to ask permission first. 🙂

  4. I take it campaigns do not, as a habit, pay for performance licenses from the appropriate rights entities (ASCAP / BMI / SESAC) ?

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