Tom Petty’s not happy that Michele Bachmann chose to play his song, “American Girl,” as part of her official campaign launch.
Rolling Stone reports that the musician’s legal team sent Bachman a cease and desist letter, and Petty’s manager has reached out directly to the campaign to ask them to stop playing the song.
This isn’t the first time that Petty has stepped in after a presidential candidate began using his music. When George W. Bush used Petty’s 1989 single, “I Won’t Back Down,” during his 2000 presidential run, Petty’s lawyers threatened to sue unless Bush pulled the song from his campaign events.
Presidential contenders have a history of running into trouble when they attempt to co-opt music from performers whose politics clash with their own. When Sarah Palin joined John McCain on stage during the 2008 Republican National Convention to the tune of Heart’s 1977 single, “Barracuda,” the band issued a statement the following day condemning the use of its music.
Although Ronald Reagan never actually used Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” during his 1984 presidential run, he did heap praise on the singer in a campaign speech that year. “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts," Reagan said. "It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen."
The singer responded a few days later at a concert in Pittsburgh by questioning Reagan’s sincerity. "The president was mentioning my name the other day, and I kind of got to wondering what his favorite album must have been,” Springsteen told the crowd. “I don't think it was the Nebraska album” – his collection of songs about the plight of blue-collar workers – “I don't think he's been listening to this one."