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Tom Petty: Michele Bachmann Can’t Use ‘American Girl

When Tom Petty found out Michele Bachmann was using his “American Girl” to introduce campaign events, he issued a letter saying, in essence, “Don’t do me like that.”

Politico (“Michele Bachmann plays Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ again after a speech“):

Maybe Tom Petty’s cease-and-desist letter hasn’t arrived yet.

The singer was reportedly nonplussed that Michele Bachmann played his “American Girl” classic when she officially kicked off her presidential campaign in Iowa Monday.

Yet the song blasted over the loudspeakers again immediately following Bachmann’s Tuesday night speech in South Carolina.

After playing for exactly 29 seconds, it abruptly stopped.

There was just enough time for the lyrics: “Yeah, she was an American girl – raised on promises.”

While I don’t know how it feels to be an aging rock star whose music is repeatedly used by politicians with whom I disagree, I’m guessing Bachmann won’t back down. While Petty has some rights over the public performance of his music, he can’t stop someone from playing it. It’s arguable that a 29 second clip constitutes Fair Use. But, even if it doesn’t, the Bachmann campaign can license the rights under existing ASCAP arrangements.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    This happens a lot: a Republican politician uses a popular rock song, and the rock musician is upset because he or she doesn’t want to be associated with that politician. It’s a reflection of the fact that most rock musicians are liberal, yet Republican pols don’t want to restrict themselves to country and Southern rock during campaign events. (They could use Ted Nugent, but I suspect that titles like “Strangle Hold” or “Stormtroopin'” wouldn’t exactly lighten the mood.)

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  2. Rino says:

    Wang Dang Sweet Poontang!

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    Wow, “Stranglehold”. That brings back late night high school weekends. Bob Seeger’s “Night Moves” anyone?

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  4. William Teach says:

    politicians with whom I disagree

    Exactly what political positions of Bachmann’s do you disagree with? Mostly what we see is personal attacks and silly stuff, like this article. Rarely do we see posts about actual policy disagreements. We read posts about Bachmann minor gaffes, but, still waiting for the post about Obama’s major gaffe on Medal of Honor recipient Jared Monti.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    @William Teach: It’s Tom Petty who disagrees.

    As for me, I disagree with her on a wide range of social issues, on which I think she’s more extreme than typical Republican nominees. She’s also a global warming denialist

    I’d have commented on the Monti gaffe had I been actively blogging at the time but it was old news by the time I got back into the swing of things. Mixing up two Medal of Honor recipients is embarrassing; he’s apologized profusely to the family and they seem satisfied.

    The Bachmann John Wayne/John Wayne Gacy slipup was amusing, but not really important. The “Founding Fathers” thing was only an issue because she doubled down on it, trying to pretend that she was talking about 14-year-old John Quincy Adams’ service as a secretary to an ambassador.

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  6. Franklin says:

    But, even if it doesn’t, the Bachmann campaign can license the rights under existing ASCAP arrangements.

    Mmmm, I’m confused about this. If this is true, why did John McCain and Charlie Crist end up publicly apologizing for using certain songs incorrectly? Did they just fail to license them?

    I guess I thought ASCAP mostly related to radio stations, not other public events.

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  7. Herb says:

    “Stranglehold” is actually the perfect song for GOP candidates circa 2011.

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  8. mantis says:

    James, why bother to respond to Teach? He can’t even bother to read entire sentences.

    While I don’t know how it feels to be an aging rock star whose music is repeatedly used by politicians with whom I disagree

    It’s pretty clear what you’re saying there.

    but, still waiting for the post about Obama’s major gaffe on Medal of Honor recipient Jared Monti.

    Really, Teach? You just need this site specifically to post about it, or what? Are you having trouble finding apoplectic wingnuts like yourself? Somehow I doubt it.

    Rarely do we see posts about actual policy disagreements.

    How about the recents posts about Bachmann’s nonsensical position that marriage should be handled by the states, and the feds shouldn’t interfere, but we absolutely need a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? Not policy enough for you?

    There is very little more insufferable than commenters who do nothing but whine about what bloggers choose to write about or not write about. Don’t like the topics? Don’t read the blog! There’s a nice free market solution to your problem.

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  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol here is my suggestion, again….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw_zuNHUe-I&feature=fvwrel

    Your children have more brains…. then your drug infested remains…..california dreaming….. while the earth dies screaming…..

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  10. anjin-san says:

    “Stranglehold” is actually the perfect song for GOP candidates circa 2011.

    “Stormtroopin” seems like a good fit as well…

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  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    “Stormtroopin” seems like a good fit as well…

    lol, ya for Obama…fits perfect.

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  12. Davebo says:

    Hello?

    The guy had one decent album in the 70’s with really only one good single (strangle hold was pretty good.)

    Found Jesus, bought a ranch next to Dubya after he bought a fake ranch, then sold it as soon as Dubya sold his.

    Seriously, Mike Huckabee should be ashamed but should the rest of us?

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  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    The guy had one decent album in the 70′s with really only one good single (strangle hold was pretty good.)

    lol your crazy….about the singles I mean…

    She could use this one:)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkEbqgbSqs8&feature=fvwrel

    But I think it should be the new Honey Badger theme song, that would be more fitting…

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  14. Davebo says:

    While Petty has some rights over the public performance of his music, , he can’t stop someone from playing it.

    Yet another reason not to hire a certain lawyer from Virginia. Seriously Doug?

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