Rockers Revolt Against GOP Types Playing Their Songs

Kid Rock says he doesn’t mind if a politician on the left or the right wants to crank up his tunes on the campaign trail.

The shaggy crooner is the exception to the rule. reports that most singers balk when a Republican wants to co-op their songs for campaign events. Things are mighty different when it’s a Democratic politician singing a familiar song.

On the other hand, Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” in his successful 1992 presidential bid, Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry played Springsteen’s “No Surrender” in his 2004 campaign, in 2008 Sen. Barack Obama revived Springsteen’s “The Rising,” and that same year fellow Democrat John Edwards used Mellancamp’s “Our Country.” All of these came and went without objection from the artists. In fact, except for 2008, when Barack Obama was sent a “cease and desist” letter from the legal team for Sam Moore (one half of the legendary duo Sam & Dave) over the unlicensed use of “Hold On, I’m Comin'” as background beat at his rallies, its hard to find examples of Democrats getting taken to task.

The unintentionally hilarious part of the story comes when the attorney giving the legal background on the use of music says there’s nothing to see here, ideologically speaking. Just move along.

“I would say certainly in recent years, there’s been a greater unlicensed use of songs by Republican candidates,” Iser, said. “The point that the musician is making is not about the [political] party. The position they’re taking is: This is what we do for a living, we are protected by copyright, and if you’re running for election, you need to respect the law. It just is a coincidence really, simple as that.”

Iser stresses that when it comes to music and campaigns, artists and songwriters only want to protect their intellectual property rights and ensure that they aren’t involuntary endorsers of candidates and campaign messages.

So … it is about the message after all. Why not say so in the first place?