It's become an election-season occurrence as common as kissing babies: A politician uses a popular tune as a campaign song, and a songwriter immediately sends them a cease-and-desist letter. Tom Petty recently asked Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to refrain from using his song 'American Girl' at her campaign stops, probably because he's not a fan of her right-wing views. But he's certainly not the first artist to do this; in fact, it's already happened to him! Check out that incident and nine other songs that were banned from use on campaigns.
'I Won't Back Down,' Tom Petty
George Bush, 2000
Tom Petty got then-governor George Bush to back down from using this song during his campaign. Then, moments after Bush's opponent, Al Gore, conceded the presidency in the hotly contested race, Petty sang the song at Gore's house -- backed by the candidate's wife, Tipper, on drums.
Looking to score points on a stop in New Jersey, the Great Communicator mentioned the state's favorite son. A few days later, Springsteen joked that the incumbent was almost surely not a fan of his bleak, broken-dreams album 'Nebraska.' And obviously, Reagan didn't realize that this anti-war song is definitely not in favor of the government.
Sam Moore actually revamped the song as 'Dole Man,' but the campaign was obliged to drop the plug after the song's publishers objected. Oddly, Moore asked Barack Obama to stop using another of his hits, 'Hold On, I'm Comin',' in 2008, claiming he wasn't endorsing anyone that year.
When the future VP candidate punctuated her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention with this Heart track, the Wilson sisters were not amused. Palin's "views and values in no way represent us as American women," Ann Wilson groused in Entertainment Weekly.
After the bass-playing former Arkansas governor got ex-Boston member Barry Goudreau to sing along with him on the campaign trail, his old bandmate Tom Scholz loudly protested that his band wasn't in the business of making endorsements.
The erstwhile maverick ran afoul of more than his share of entertainers when he took on Barack Obama for the presidency in '08. Besides Van Halen, Jackson Browne sued the candidate for $75,000 for using the song 'Running on Empty' to belittle his opponent.
McCain's most egregious song usage was probably this ditty by the Swedish pop stars -- not so much because they objected (which they did), but because the choice gave new meaning to the term "McCain camp."
David Byrne filed a $1 million lawsuit against the former Florida governor, who used the Talking Heads song in a TV ad that ridiculed his Senate-race opponent, Marco Rubio. Rubio won and Crist was forced to apologize to Byrne on YouTube.