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Ann and Nancy Wilson Send Cease and Desist Letter to McCain/Palin

I grew up listening to Heart, the fantastic rock group headed up by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Well, I'm disappointed in them. They're demanding the Republicans stop playing their song "Barracuda" as Sarah Palin's theme song:

Ann and Nancy Wilson are pissed at the Republican Party and have fired off a cease and desist letter to the McCain/Palin campaign.

Specifically, the Heart women are upset that the GOP has used their classic "Barracuda" as a theme song for Sarah Palin. TMZ obtained a statement from Heart's rep, who says "The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission."

Not only is this disappointing, it's also quite stupid. I hope they're not behaving this way because of politics. The Dixie Chicks made that mistake, which essentially torpedoed the success they had. Sarah Palin is a strong, intelligent woman, not to mention very well liked, and having their song played as a theme song of sorts for her would probably result in a reawakening of Heart's music, and that hasn't happened in quite a while.


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Comments (42)

Do the Wilson's think that ... (Below threshold)

Do the Wilson's think that now the Left will give them a great big hug and buy their 'Greatest hits' albums?

This won't even give them 15 minutes of renewed fame.

Surprised that Ann didnt e... (Below threshold)

Surprised that Ann didnt eat the letter before it hit the mail....

I hadn't heard the song in ... (Below threshold)

I hadn't heard the song in so long that I didn't even know the names of these women.

I guess they are doing fantastic in their lives and royalty checks just don't seem attractive to one hit wonders...

Get the Nuge on the line an... (Below threshold)

Get the Nuge on the line and have him write and preform a "new" barracuda. It's bound to be more rocking. Ted Nugent loves Palin.

Well, at least thay got som... (Below threshold)

Well, at least thay got some free publicity out of this.

I heard one of the Hearts i... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

I heard one of the Hearts interviewed on XM several weeks back. She spoke of her daughter "going off on this anti-Bush rant" and milked the crowd for the usual elite cool points. Talk about a class war; those are the sorts people I learned to avoid in high school and they are every bit as tedious now.

Somebody get word to Nugent that "Cat Scratch Fever" is a theme for Sarahcuda. That will rattle their ivory-towers.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Man, I'm old. I'm so old, I... (Below threshold)

Man, I'm old. I'm so old, I remember when Heart was relevant, lo these many decades ago.

We won't play your song, Wilson sisters, and you can go back to being has-been rockers who everybody but Camaro-driving mulletheads have forgotten about. Happy now?

Well, that condemnation and... (Below threshold)

Well, that condemnation and a fiver will get 'em a latte at Starbucks. Yay for them. (Shrug.)

Oh, the outrage. Oh, the horror. Oh, the terrible possibility that they MIGHT be thought of as conservative! This cannot be borne!

Let's see... I'll add it to my list of things to get incensed about. Scheduling such things is a bit tricky... Is, um, 2018 good for you? June? The 31st? I think I can squeeze in five minutes then....

DaveD -

That might be the only reason - they need it. They dropped off the music radar a long time back...

Funny thing - I found a music video of them doing Barracuda in '77, and one of the comments made me laugh.

Love Mc Cain and Sarah Barracuda!! The song is just perfect for the republican convention, the Wilson sisters will sell lots more records now, they should be thankul to McCain and Palin!!!
Crap. 31 years ago. Time sure flies when you're having fun.

I used to work in the resta... (Below threshold)

I used to work in the restaurant business. If the GOP paid their ASCAP and BMI fees, how is it exactly that the Wilson sisters think that they have any say in the matter? Because I really want to know. Any lawyers care to weigh in?

Not a lawyer, but I don't b... (Below threshold)

Not a lawyer, but I don't believe they have any say. They're milking the publicity to score the "cool elite" points.

They just 'dixie chicked" t... (Below threshold)

They just 'dixie chicked" themselves--I say dos is right--have Ted Nugent redo--and Call it "Saracuda"--then they can play it on Victory night!!!

I have a picture disk of th... (Below threshold)

I have a picture disk of the Heart album. I think I'll deface it with my Sharpie and write "McCain/Palin" and send a picture of it to the Wilson sisters :)

I know a way to piss off He... (Below threshold)

I know a way to piss off Heart.

Play Deep Purple's "Hard Lovin Man" -- it's basically the same song (but 6 years older) and they can't say a thing.

You know, the Obama people ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You know, the Obama people have been playing the "too old" meme for a while against McCain, so yeah, I think we should agree with Heart (They're so JimmahCahtah anyway) and use "Kryptonite" or "Shut Up" by Three Doors Down. I love the bass riff on "Shut Up", myself.


Jeez, you'd think they'd be... (Below threshold)

Jeez, you'd think they'd be happy. That's the first time I've listened to Heart in at least 15 years.

Not that I've written any s... (Below threshold)

Not that I've written any songs, but if I found a political campaign playing my song publicly without my permission (or sending me a check), I'd sic lawyers on them in a heartbeat. And I wouldn't care about political affiliation one way or the other. I'd just consider asking my permission before playing the song a common courtesy.


PW, how 'bout neither. Whe... (Below threshold)

PW, how 'bout neither. When someone pays you for the rights to your music (that someone being the publisher), they license out the music for $$$ (read up on ASCAP & BMI).

The only thing you'll control as the songwriter/performer is the decision to cash the check...

J (another one)

This is a copyright violati... (Below threshold)

This is a copyright violations issue. The cease and desist letter indicates that the song use was not cleared in following with the law and the entities that manage the clearance process. There is a very clear set of standards in play whenever a piece of recorded music is used for a performance venue or a broadcast show.

Event producers manage this all the time- it is part of the job to handle cues and clearances and to convey that information to the production's legal department.

The Wilsons .... hmmm, did ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

The Wilsons .... hmmm, did they have a brother named Woodrow? That would explain a few things.

A couple years ago, Sister ... (Below threshold)
arcman Author Profile Page:

A couple years ago, Sister Toldjah put up a Heart video called "Never" on her site. It was on You-Tube. Later Ann and Nancy wrote a scathing letter to You+Tube saying they were "ruining everything". While I am and always have been a big fan of Heart, I think the girls are becoming mentally unstable. I won't speculate what the cause of that might be.

Maybe if Ann apologizes for... (Below threshold)

Maybe if Ann apologizes for perpetrating "Almost Paradise" ...

Producer, care to back up y... (Below threshold)

Producer, care to back up your assertion that this somehow violates copyrights?

Yeah, thought so.

Major events pay royalties (ASCAP & BMI). Unless someone is asserting that the RNC (the event licensee) did not pay the proper royalties, well...

J (another one)

You'd think that they'd be ... (Below threshold)

You'd think that they'd be grateful for the publicity and a renewed interest in their music. Gotta pay for all them cheeseburgers girls!!

They're lefty wackjobs... T... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

They're lefty wackjobs... There was a program recently on DirecTV with interviews and concert footage... Viet Nam era hippies.

Also, I remember hearing so... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Also, I remember hearing somewhere that copyrights eventually expire on songs?

I don't know if that's accurate, but I think older songs are "free game" to use.

I don't know if "Baracuda" is old enough, but if it is, using it as a theme for the most powerful GOP woman has got to be killing them.

That makes me smile.

Copyrights do expire but th... (Below threshold)

Copyrights do expire but they usually renew before they expire. I am sure their lawyers are on top of that. That is their bread and butter all these years later. Well, for Ann, a lot of bread and butter. Tee-Hee. ww

I am hugely disappointed in... (Below threshold)

I am hugely disappointed in them, do they seriously even know anything about any of the Candidates I wonder? Seems to me this is a bit juvenile,it reminds me a bit of the young kids that long to be like their parents of the 60's yet are clueless about anything other than, they wore tie-dye, and protested "stuff". Even if neither of the Wilson sisters are Republicans or agree with Republican views. Let's look at something else here for a second, Sarah Palin was attacked by the media and smear machines in record time, some media sources have spent more time talking about Palin's pregnant daughter than they have ever spent on any serious issue that Obama may have had or has. Not to mention the fact that one of the very first smears that came out was that her son Trig was not hers, how disgusting is that? There's also the fake photos that made their way around the net. If I recall correctly The song Barracuda was written by Ann after hearing some nasty remarks from a journalist, he suggested that Ann and her sister Nancy were possible sister-lesbian lovers. I would think after being faced with that kind of accusation and knowing what it's like, Heart would at least support Palin against the same kind of disgusting untrue smears, even if they aren't Republicans.

I'm aware of ASCAP, thank y... (Below threshold)

I'm aware of ASCAP, thank you very much. My comment, above, assumes that there was no legitimate permission to use the music, from ASCAP, publishers or otherwise. As an aside ... do writers/performers include some kind of "political speech/endorsement" clause in the standard music publishing/licensing contract? I know that I'd want one in their if I were an artist. If I'm writing about peace and love, for example, I wouldn't want the American Nazi Party to be able to license my music through ASCAP.


This is their song...they d... (Below threshold)

This is their song...they don't want to be misrepresented ...Wouldn't most respected people have the same request? It's all about respect and what's a decent thing to do...It's not the place to put down the artists make rude and vulgar comments about them..Look deep inside yourselves when that kind of ugly comes to the surface...Right on Ann and Nancy being true and respectable...those are the people I want to associate with.

Another point: According t... (Below threshold)

Another point: According to this article, the letter's been sent by the groups' "respresentatives," which are (I think) two music publishers. This might imply that they have the contractual ability to halt the McCain campaign's playing it, or at least their publishers might. Either way, somebody more than just the artists is involved.

I second Rebekah's comemnts about respect. If somebody doesn't want you to play their song publicly, then continuing to do so is a real bit of disrespect to them.


It's easy to get fired up o... (Below threshold)

It's easy to get fired up over the McCain, Palin ticket. I can't say enough about Sarah Palin. I liken her detractors to skaters who go down hard; that look of disbelief. Again, we're seeing them fold like lawn chairs. It's long overdue. Anyway, here's a clip from Jan & Dean. I found it apropos. In my opinion, it's better than "Barracuda." Bet you can't watch just once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX7X4FovYRA&NR=1 And how 'bout them Dems: lost in space, or true tales from the Pork-master General: http://theseedsof9-11.com

Penny & rebek...Now ... (Below threshold)

Penny & rebek...
Now you're talking about two different events -1) - the Wilsons are "upset" that the RNC used the song - well, tough. The RNC (& the DNC) routinely pay ASCAP & BMI licenses. If the Wilsons don't want it played there, then don't sell the rights.
2) the Publishers "C&D" is purely show - the letter is nothing more than PR, as they are "demanding" (ha) that the "campaigns" do not use the property for promotional purposes (that means advertising). I can assure both of you that if either campaign staff were to pony up the $$$, neither publisher would have a problem...


BTW - "respect" an artist? That's funny. No, really. If the art is theirs, then don't sell it.

Copyright issues aside, I p... (Below threshold)

Copyright issues aside, I prefer the attitude Brooks and Dunn have.

Yep, cara... found the link... (Below threshold)
Mark S.:

Yep, cara... found the link..

I hate using wikipedia for any sort of source, but they do identify the source of the interview (but they did include the link to the episode in question)

^ VH1 Behind the Music episode about Heart.


So I'm surprised they're that upset about the use of the song... considering it fits the situation almost exactly for the same reason they wrote/made it.

To: Ann and Nancy Wilson</p... (Below threshold)

To: Ann and Nancy Wilson

1978 called, they just found your relevance.

I was disappointed to hear ... (Below threshold)
P. Matthews:

I was disappointed to hear that Heart sent a cease and desist letter to the GOP for using their song Barracuda at the Republican National Convention. Actually, there are no legal grounds to keep the song from being used. In addition, one of the writers of the song, Roger Fisher (also a former Heart band member) said that he is thrilled the song is being used. It would be nice to think that when we become adults, we stop acting like children, i.e., "I don't like you and you can't play with my toys." Maybe Nancy and Ann should stop to think about how many republican conservatives have actually sat in seats at their concerts. I think they'd be surprised to find that the concert halls would have been about half full if we hadn't. Like it or not, I will forever associate Barracuda with Sarah Palen. Although, I don't listen to the music of Heart often, I do occasionally listen to a song for nostalgia's sake. I will continue to do so.

If ann wilson wrote a song ... (Below threshold)

If ann wilson wrote a song today the only lyric would be "moo"

Kaus answers the ASCAP ques... (Below threshold)

Kaus answers the ASCAP question quite well here.


My bad. Not Kaus. Chris W... (Below threshold)

My bad. Not Kaus. Chris Wilson.

I wouldn't want to be assoc... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't want to be associated with slime either.

What do you mean disappoint... (Below threshold)

What do you mean disappointed? You should be rejoicing! I am. Go Heart! YES! Keep up the great work Heart. Great to hear all the royalties for Barracuda will be going to the Obama campaign as well. Northwest in the house!

"Sarah Palin is a strong, i... (Below threshold)
Ms. Ann Thrope:

"Sarah Palin is a strong, intelligent woman..." Compared to who, Betty Boop? Olive Oyl?

Look, she's done some good things in Alaska, but anyone with a brain who watches her interviews with Gibson and Couric knows that she can't put a coherent sentence together. She's in way over her head, as most of us would be. She's not up to the job.

As for Heart, it's their song. They own the rights to it, right? They can ask someone not to play it if they don't like the cause. You want Al Gore using a Toby Keith song?






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