Survivor: "Eye of the Tiger" not for Newt. On Monday, Chicago-based music company Rude Music Inc. filed a lawsuit against Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, alleging the politician had unlawfully used the Survivor song "Eye of the Tiger" at political rallies in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Rude Music Inc. is owned by a former Survivor band member, Frank M. Sullivan, who co-wrote the 1982 hit.
Sullivan seeks a court-ordered ban on Newt's future use of the song, as well as "damages in an amount to be determined by the Court."
Don't feel too sorry for Newt: A lot Republicans have landed in hot water over the unauthorized use of songs! Tom Petty Vs. Michele Bachmann In June 2011, shortly after she (or her speechwriter) confused American cultural icon John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Michele Bachmann recieved a cease-and-desist letter for using Tom Petty's "American Girl" at her rallies. Tom Petty Vs. George W. Bush In 2000, then-Texas governor George W. Bush repeatedly turned to Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" to get his supporters rallied up. Bush's people backed down. It's worth noting that Petty performed the song for Al Gore and his supporters after Gore conceeded the presidential victory to Bush.
Jackson Browne Vs. John McCain In 2008, singer Jackson Browne sued Republican presidential candidate John McCain over the use of the song "Running on Empty" in a campaign advertisement. McCain, the Republican National Committee, and the Ohio Republican Party settled the suit with an undisclosed sum and an apology.
David Byrne Vs. Charlie Crist Talking Heads frontman David Byrne sued former Florida governor Charlie Crist for using the tune "Road to Nowhere" in a 2010 political ad. Though Byrne initially sought $1 million, but he settled for an undisclosed sum and an embarrassing YouTube apology in which he called Byrne's voice "unique."
Heart Vs. Sarah Palin Sarah Palin's aggression on the basketball court earned her the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" in high school, so naturally Heart's 1977 hit "Barracuda" seemed an appropriate rally song for the vice presidential candidate in 2008. Unfortunately, Ann and Nancy Wilson were not impressed, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to McCain's campaign. Nancy also told Entertainment Weekly, "Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women."
John Mellencamp Vs. McCain When John Mellencamp learned that John McCain was using his songs "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" on his campaign tour, his publicist questioned, "If you're such a true conservative, why are you playing songs that have a very populist pro-labor message written by a guy who would find no argument if you characterized him as left of center?" McCain quit using the songs.
Rush Vs. Rand Paul It's unclear why U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul wanted to use Rush's song "Spirit of the Radio" at his campaign rallies, since that song really only appeals to 13-year-old boys and the rare prog-rock lover. But he did in 2010, and Rush wasn't down with it.
Foo Fighters Vs. John McCain John McCain couldn't catch a break in 2008—at least not from any cool musicians. The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl loudly objected to McCain's political use of "My Hero," sniping, "It's frustrating and infuriating that someone who claims to speak for the American people would repeatedly show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property. This isn't the first time the McCain campaign has used a song without making any attempt to get approval or permission from the artist."
Bob Dole Vs. Sam and Dave Singer Samuel David Moore retooled the lyrics of his Sam & Dave hit "Soul Man" for Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996, in what was an obvious attempt to make the former Senator seem more youthful than his 73 years. Unfortunately, "I'm a Dole Man" didn't sit well with the owners of the song's publishing rights, and Dole had to can the song.